Worship & the Voice of the Lord: Chapter 29
In the very first verse of this chapter, David addresses “the mighty”. There is some debate among scholars as to whom he might have been speaking. Some believe he was talking about angels and others, to the mighty men right here on earth.
He tells them to give the Lord “glory and strength”. This doesn’t mean they are actually giving Him these things, but rather acknowledging the glory and strength that should be fully apparent in God. Even Charles Spurgeon spoke to the fact that neither men nor angels could give anything to God, but rather should recognize that these are present in Him and to think of Him that way in songs as well as in their hearts.
Calling to Worship
David makes it a little clearer in the second verse here, saying we should give God the glory DUE his Name. If David knew nothing else, he knew the very nature of the God of Israel, and the covenant He had with His people.
The fact that this is the third time in two verses that David says “give” tells us a little bit about the fact that so many are often unwilling to do it. It is RIGHT to glorify God for His character!
I absolutely love the next part of this verse”
…worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.Psalm 29:2b
The Beauty of Worship
The Hebrew word for “worship”, Strong’s H7812 shachah, means “to bow down and prostrate oneself”. What’s more, if you study the word, as almost all Hebrew words dictate more of a process than a rock-solid, one-word meaning, you’ll find much more.
For instance, worship isn’t something that happens just when you “feel like it”. It is an act of obedience. It is bringing our minds and our will into complete obedience with Who He is and the glory that is in Him. Giving God glory, or recognizing HIS glory should necessarily be followed by the worship that comes as a result.
The Beauty of Holiness
There are four verses in the Bible that speak of “the beauty of holiness:
Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.1 Chronicles 16:29
And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever.2 Chronicles 20:21
O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.Psalm 96:9
The fourth instance is, of course, this one here in Psalm 29.
Each of these uses the term “in the beauty of holiness” in correlation with praise and worship. In other words, when we catch a glimpse of His holiness, it should DRIVE US TO WORSHIP!
The Voice of the Lord
To reiterate the glory of God, David talks about the very power of His Voice. And the first mentioned is “over the waters”. Remember back in Genesis, when the earth was void and without form?
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.Genesis 1:2
This is how it all started! With God… and water. But then, more than that, His voice thunders, and is powerful and full of majesty. It goes above and beyond any other sound. It’s awe-inspiring, powerful, and quietens everything else around it.
The Lord’s Voice Over Creation
The “cedars of Lebanon” are, in many circles, known to be examples of strength and size. And still, we see here that the Lord’s voice splinters them. It’s the voice that affects calves and unicorns (better known as the wild ox, in Bible times). God’s voice is over forests, and causes everyone in the temple to say “Glory!”
When David speaks here of “the flood”, it is the SAME Hebrew word used to speak of the flood for which Noah prepared. So it was absolutely clear to people in David’s day that he was speaking of THAT flood which was the very expression of judgment and power.
It was through the flood that God destroyed all of creation, save for the animals taken aboard the Ark, and God’s own righteous family. This glorious expression of God’s authority did NOT END after the floodwaters had subsided either. As David pointed out here, directly after mentioning the flood, that the Lord sits as King FOREVER.
Our Great God: Chapter 30
It wasn’t just a “song” that David sang here, but a “joyful song”. It starts off with praise for not allowing his enemies to win against him, for healing him, and for keeping him alive and out of “the pit” (the Old Testament’s idea of hell).
Praise, and Pass it On
David had plenty to praise God for. If you think about the eventful life of this one man, you’ll see it! The young shepherd boy, taking out lions and bears for the sake of the flock. The still-young shepherd boy facing the Philistine champion in the Name of the God of Israel, with no hint of wavering. The young man, anointed future king of Israel, running from the jealous King Saul.
But David didn’t stop at his OWN praise! No, he passed it on, in verse four, telling all the saints to praise Him. He likely felt that the praise present in his own self wasn’t nearly enough, and so others were enlisted to help praise His Holy Name.
Plenty of Reasons to Praise
In the next verse, David begins to explain the many reasons for praising. God’s anger, for instance, only lasts a short while, while His favor is life-long. We may cry all night long, but God brings joy “in the morning”. It’s likely that in saying this, David was echoing the promise from Lamentations…
It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.Lamentations 3:22-23
A Bit of David’s Testimony
David speaks of being in prosperity and praising God but also realizing that God had hidden His face for a time, leaving him troubled. He then spoke to the fact that his strength had never come from the prosperity, but rather through God’s pure favor.
David couldn’t deal with God’s constant closeness and sustenance. When he speaks of God hiding Himself, he wasn’t saying that God was playing some supernatural game of hide and seek. He was speaking to the fact that he was completely and utterly dependent on God and everything about him. So much so, in fact, that when God wasn’t near, he was troubled.
Prayer Means Everything
Even David, as close as he was to God – and likely BECAUSE of it – knew that prayer and praise were the only answer. He speaks of crying out to God and how there would be no way he could praise God if he were dead. In those days, there was no promise, clearly stated of an afterlife. There was hope. But very little assurance.
Because God answered David’s prayer, he goes on, his mourning was turned into dancing! He’d turned his sorrow into gladness! And David ends this Psalm with a promise to glorify God until his very last breath.
Some people believe that physical expressions of praise and worship, such as dancing, clapping loudly, singing, and shouting are no longer appropriate in the sanctuary. Here, we see that God’s very nature DEMANDS adequate praise! What do you think about these outward expressions of praise and worship?
Lord Jesus, we can never thank You enough for ALL that You have done for us! Give us the boldness of spirit to adequately praise Your Name, in a world that no longer accepts it, in many forms and in all these things, that they would be pleasing to You. God, give us a glimpse of Your glory! Let us ever remember that You are God, and beside You, there is NO SAVIOR!