Psalm 29 (May 10, 2011)

[1] Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength [2] Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness. [3] The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD, over many waters. [4] The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty. [5] The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon. [6] He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox. [7] The voice of the LORD flashes forth flames of fire. [8] The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness; the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. [9] The voice of the LORD makes the deer give birth and strips the forests bare, and in his temple all cry, “Glory!” [10] The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD sits enthroned as king forever. [11] May the LORD give strength to his people! May the LORD bless his people with peace! (Psalm 29 ESV)

Ascribe Glory to God

When we look to the first two verses of this great Psalm, we see the phrase, “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name.” The Psalmist is calling upon the universe to scream out the glory of God, to announce the majesty of the creator of all things. The word ascribe does not mean “give” as if the glory of God is something outside of God’s character and being that we bring to him. Rather, we are, along with the created order and angelic host, called to recognize, admire, worship and honor God as God. It is a good thing for breakable men to acknowledge their dependence upon almighty God.

Not to your arms, O kings, give ye the glory nor look for strength to your host of warriors, for all your pomp is but as a fading flower, and your might is as a shadow which declineth. ‘All worship be to God only,’ let this be emblazoned on every coat of arms. Charles Haddon Spurgeon

This Psalm, commentators tell us is sung to the beat of a thunderstorm. God is pounding the earth with the glory of his name. We are told that in the early church this Psalm was often read to children or to an entire congregation during thunderstorms. You can see the picture of the Psalmist standing on the roof of his house as storm clouds ominously roll in, screaming into the dense air with fist held high, “Bring it! Glorify God, you heavenly beings! Light up the sky with the power of God’s might!”

What Does This Mean to Me?

We don’t often view the glory of God in this way, and thus some help is needed. David Wells put it extremely well in his book, Above All Earthly Powers. “Christian hope is not about wishing that things will get better, that somehow emptiness will go away, meaning will return, and life will be stripped of its uncertainties, its psychological aches and anxieties. Nor does it have anything to do with techniques for improving fallen human life, be those therapeutic or even religious. Hope, instead, has to do, Biblically speaking, with the knowledge that “the age to come” is already penetrating “this age”, that the sin, death, and meaninglessness of the one is being transformed by the righteousness, life, and meaning of the other, that what has emptied out of life, what has scarred and blackened it, is being displaced by what is rejuvenating and transforming it. More than that, hope is hope because it knows it has become part of a realm, a kingdom, which endures, where evil is doomed and will be banished, that it has left behind the ship of “this age”, which is sinking.” We ascribe glory to God because we know he reigns.

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