Devotional on Psalm 29
Effingham Presbyterian Church
April 29, 2020
One of the best lines in the hymn, “Abide with Me,” is “Change and decay in all around I see, O Thou who changest not, abide with me.” In the present time, it is hard not to think about all of the “what ifs,” and to direct our prayers and petitions in a want list of our needs, focused upon our self. It is not wrong to come to Jesus with our needs, he instructs us to do so, but to focus on the object of our prayers and the one who can help us, is worship.
Sometimes we seek Jesus for his hand, but we should seek him for his face. To know him and to relish who he is, getting caught up in his person and resting in the knowledge of who he is. Psalm 29 is a hymn of worship, celebrating the King over a battle and his mighty abilities, to praise him for who he is.
The Psalm is divided into three parts; a call to worship vs.-2, a description of the Lord’s presence in the midst of a storm vs. 3-9, and a recount that he is King vs.10-11. It could be set to music and our earlier Presbyterians would have sung this A cappella, in the Trinity Psalter, it is set to the tune, “We Gather Together.”
Psalm 29 begins with the call to worship, calling us to ascribe, or give to God what he is due, that he is glory and strength, that his name is due glory. It ends with a call to worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness. The splendor of holiness, is to be caught up in how holy he is and to resonate that fact in our souls. We are not holy, except that he makes us so by royal decree through the blood of Jesus Christ. He has bought us with his blood, and in our own capacity, our righteousness is as filthy rags. To worship his holiness is to marvel at his being and to recognize his worth, our unworthiness, yet we are brought near by the blood of Jesus and are bought and brought near to this Holy God.
The storm depicted in verses 3-9 is a violent thunderstorm that had its origins over the “many waters,” a term used for the Mediterranean Sea and it now over the land. The voice of the Lord is equivalent to thunder. In that voice is power and majesty that shakes us to our very core, especially when it is directly over us…resonating deep in our bodies and bringing a fear of its awesome power. “The God of glory thunders,” is a line that we understand as we have experienced many South Carolina thunderstorms. They are a wonder to behold, sitting deep on a porch where it can be witnessed with wonder and awe.
Trees breaking form lightening and wind, the earth shaking from the rolling thunder, is clearly pictured by the psalmist as he speaks of cedars breaking and Lebanon skipping like a calf. The flame of fire, flashing and the shaking of the wilderness, he causes the deer to give birth and stripping the forests bare, all in his temple cry Glory! It seems like chaos, but over all of the action is One who is sitting on his throne and commanding the action. The call for “Glory!” is a call of worship in the midst of the storm, bringing a reality check to the reader, that, He is really in control. It is worship when all around is being wrecked and changed, perhaps a call, “to abide with me!”
At the end of the psalm we are called to recount that He is King. We are told that he sits enthroned over the flood. He is not clamoring or ruined because of his commands, but instead, he sits on a throne and speaks….all are subject to him. The earth was created by his speaking and is upheld by his hand and will be kept by his speaking from his throne. He is over the flood, the flood does not overwhelm him, and it soes not overwhelm us, as we are protected by his hand. “His rod and His staff, they comfort me,” because He is with us always. We are his children, chosen by him before the foundation of the world, that we might proclaim his praise. And, he is King forever, which is beyond our imagination.
The Last lines of the psalm, recount what he can do, but also ask for his blessing. “May the Lord give strength to his people!” He is the ultimate strength and power, the call is that he would bless us with his presence. He in the midst of a storm can bring peace. Many pray deliverance out of a storm, but most often he takes us through the storm to grow us, what we need most is his presence. His presence is peace. He is able to take whatever is turned upside down and make it right. It might not be the way that we envisioned his working, but his way is always best. His way is peace, and it is a blessing that only his children truly know.
Let us seek him for his face, to know the true and living God, and in doing so, we will receive his hand, in overflowing abundance. “Solid joys and lasting treasures, none but Zion’s children know.” John Newton- Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken- 1779
Lord help us this day to praise you for who you are. For all that you have done for us and that your love and kindness to us are great. May we cry “Glory!” in chaos, knowing that you are in control, and may our worship of you not be waning in light of our wants. We are like sheep, shepherd us as only you can do rightly. We love you Jesus, you are worthy.