figure looking out over water at storm

Psalm 29 – Give to the Lord!

 June 18, 2024

In Psalm 29 – give to the Lord, we are told. But what are we to give?

Psalm 29

Psalm 29 is a psalm in praise of the God who speaks! It begins with instructions to give to the Lord the glory due his name.

Give unto the Lord, O you mighty ones,
Give unto the Lord glory and strength.
Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name;
Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.”

It then goes on for seven verses beautifully describing the power of God’s voice:

The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
The God of glory thunders;
The Lord is over many waters.

The voice of the Lord is powerful;
The voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars,
Yes, the Lord splinters the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes them also skip like a calf,
Lebanon and Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord divides the flames of fire.

The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
The Lord shakes the Wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth,
And strips the forests bare;
And in His temple everyone says, “Glory!”

The psalm concludes with a simple message of peace:

The Lord will give strength to His people;
The Lord will bless His people with peace.”

Our God of glory, whose voice is so strong that it breaks the cedars of Lebanon, will bless his people with peace. This all-powerful God is a God of peace.

God’s Voice

I love the description of God’s voice in this psalm. The repetition of “the voice of the Lord” thunders through these verses. God’s voice is found in the sound of thunder. It echoes over the water, is full of majesty, and is so powerful that it doesn’t just break cedars, it splinters them into tiny pieces.

God makes the trees skip like a calf and mountains to skip like a young wild ox (Sirion is Mt. Hermon). The voice of the Lord comes in like a strong wind that divides flames and shakes the wilderness. It makes the deer give birth and strips the forests bare. The New American Bible say God’s voice makes deer dance. I love the image of deer dancing in the wilderness to the sound of God’s voice. In response all creation shouts “Glory!”

One commentary refers to Psalm 29 as an ode to a thunderstorm. Very appropriate as we are in summer thunderstorm season here in Michigan. I love to watch the trees sweep the skies as the wind blows them back and forth and thunder cracks from above, surrounding our home with their might.

This week we are experiencing extreme heat and with this heat comes thunderstorms. I heard the rumbling for close to two hours in the middle of the night. This morning, while sitting in the adoration chapel at church, I was surprised by the familiar sound. There was no storm warning on my phone when I checked this morning. Sure enough, when I checked the weather app there it was, more thunderstorms. And then more thunder at night. I think God has got my attention. God was speaking to me through the wind and rain, thunder and lightning.

Psalm 29 – Give to the Lord

The King James Version of this psalms begins with give to the Lord. Other translations are “ascribe” to the Lord, meaning to assign, attribute or give credit. We are to give credit to God for all God’s wondrous deeds. But I prefer the word give and it’s broader meaning.

What are we to give to God who has given us everything? Or, as it says in Psalm 116: “What shall I return to the Lord for all his goodness to me?” (12) Is it enough to honor him, give credit where credit is due? Is it enough to praise our God? Or do we owe more?

It isn’t enough to give honor and praise to God with our voice. We need to do it with our whole being, our whole life. God’s word is powerful. It creates what it says. As Isaiah tells us: “so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (55:11) Our words need to be powerful too. Words and actions need to honor the God who created us and blesses us with peace. Words need to mean something, just as God’s word means something.

What Shall I Return to the Lord?

What are we to give to the Lord? Everything.

What are you willing to give?

(For another take on this psalm see Psalm 29: The Voice of the Lord! – Patricia M Robertson

This post is part of a series of blog posts on the Psalms. Sign up to follow this blog and receive a free copy of Still Dancing, the second book in my Dancing through Life Series.      click here to sign up

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