“The Sovereign Voice of Glory”
Preached by Michael Joas
The voice of the Lord sovereignly reigns that all may cry Glory.
This psalm is unlike any other we have gone through in our psalm summer series. Psalm 29 is a victory psalm which gives us vocabulary to worship the God of creation. It was originally recited after the battle. It is a poetic masterpiece full of repetition and parallelism to drive home its emphasis. In this psalm, “the Lord” occurs eighteen times. In the middles section “the Lord” appears in the phrase, “the voice of the Lord” seven times. The author, David recalls a ferocious storm where he recognized the power of the majesty of God.
My purpose this morning is to convince you that the sovereign God is alone worthy of worship and is strengthening and comforting His people in life’s storms.
In order to properly understand this text, we will need to familiarize ourselves with Baal. Baal is lord of the Canaanite religion and seen in the thunderstorms. The word “Baal” occurs in the OT as a noun meaning “lord, owner, possessor, or husband.” As a proper noun it refers to the supreme god of the Canaanites, and often as the name of a man. Do you see the resemblance to Jesus as Lord, husband, the God man? How Baal was ascribed attributes reserved only for God? This contrast is seen in the word play that is heavily emphasized in our passage today.
We will take Psalm 29 in three sections.
I. Psalm 29:1-2 A call to worship
II. Psalm 29:3-9 Reason for worship.
III. Psalm 29:10-11 Affirmation of worship.
Before we dive in let us pray…
I. Psalm 29:1-2 A call to worship (v. 1a- heavenly beings)
The psalm opens with heavenly being or angels being called upon to praise God. We might wonder isn’t that what angels are to be doing constantly. We may ask why David calls upon the angels to worship then. A two-fold answer I think is in view.
1. David feels that his praise is not adequate. David being overwhelmed by the majesty in the storm that he is going to describe feels he needs help to praise God adequately. That all creation must cry out Glory.
2. David’s appeal to angels teaches us something about worship. The appeal describes the praise of God consisting of two things:
a. ascribing glory to him, that is acknowledging his supreme worth with our minds
b. worshiping or bowing down to him, (the Hebrew word for worship means “to bow down”), which means a subordination of our wills and minds to his. So, what the angels do naturally, we must learn to do if the glory of God is to make its proper impact upon us and we are to worship him properly.
Notice where the praise is directed. It is directed towards the Lord’s name, which was a source of strength and victory to Israel. Piper said, “missions exists because worship doesn’t.” The supreme purpose of our salvation is to worship and glorify God. Our good is His glory.
(v. 1b- glory and strength)
The glory of God can be difficult to describe, It is the weightiness of who God is. John Piper puts it like this: “The glory of God is the manifest beauty of his holiness. It is the going-public of his holiness.” You see God alone is worthy of such a description.
God, the Creator of the Universe, is all-powerful. We worship and marvel at His power and strength, which David describes in further detail later in the psalm.
The call to ascribe glory and strength to God is a call for our minds to adore God in praise and worship.
(v. 2a- glory due His name)
God alone is worthy of glory. He will not share His glory with another. His glory is the purpose of His creation, and the motivation of His action.
(v.2b- splendor of holiness)
The “splendor of holiness” can also be describes as the “holy attire” or “holy array.” This means that the holiness ascribed to God should also belong to his worshippers. All holiness must derive from God.
II. Psalm 29:3-9 Reason for worship
This section gives the reasons for worship, or, to put another way, the foolishness of ascribing God’s glory to another. Seven times, the Lord’s voice is referred to explicitly in this section and it forms the central focus of this section.
This storm is described as beginning over the waters and as it comes onto land it begins bringing destruction. We may be able to sympathize with this as we have experience hurricanes beginning over the water and laying waste as they fall on land.
Notice the resemblance to Baal the Canaanite weather god whose voice is identified with thunder. But the psalmist, rejecting Baal’s deity, adapts the language of the storm and uses it to describe God’s glory. It is not Baal who thunders but the God of glory. He is the God of glory, He is powerful, and majestic.
You see, what the angels see clearly, we have a hard time seeing because we been stained with sin.
Read Romans 1:18-23.
How do you ascribe God’s glory to another? How has sin blinded you from worshipping God? Or, put another way, how has sin stolen your joy in God? Do you value the praise of man over being obedient to the Lord? Do you grumble in the storm or do you worship the Lord?
David takes two symbols of power and strength “cedars” and the mountainous area of “Lebanon/Sirion” and illustrated in this poetry the weakness of those great symbols of strength in relationship to the Lord’s strength.
The famous cedars of Lebanon are easily broken by the Lord’s voice; the immobile mountains of Lebanon skip like calves frightened at the sound of the Lord’s voice. He takes Canaanite symbols of stability and strength and mocks them through a demonstration of their instability in the context of the Lord’s thundering voice.
Illustration: I bought a pencil with me today and wanted to know who could break this pencil? Wait there is a catch. Who can break this pencil only using your voice?
Now, what if someone here was able to do this? We would have been in awe and would have praised them. How much more infinitely greater should our praise be for the Lord who breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
You see, so often we believe we are in control, that we have power over our own lives. Then when trial comes or something unplanned, we can be tossed like the trees.
Where do we seek stability and strength apart from God? Do you take pride in America and rely on the safety of America? Do you rely on your spouse, kids, or family to much for your joy and stability? Do you fear the unknown of the future or even the past not giving it over to God and trusting in His grace to comfort you?
Our sovereign God alone is worthy of worship and is strengthening and comforting his people through life’s storms. When we hear and believe in the mighty voice of the Lord, we will be able to weather the storm.
(v. 7-9 As the storm continues to wreak havoc it leads to a cry of “Glory”!)
As the power of the storm is described as laying waste to everything it touches, we hear a cry of Glory. Is it because the stones have cried out or because man has seen God move and praises Him for it?
Has your heart been shaken? Do you hear the warning signs? Do you hear the thunder in the distance and take shelter, or does your pride make you believe you are safe while destruction is looming?
The power of God and the majesty of God seen should result in the praise of God. The Hebrew word for “glory” means weight or heaviness. As the weight of the storm is felt, so we should feel the weight of a holy God sovereignly enthroned over His creation. If you have not placed your faith in Christ, the judgement and condemnation describe is for you. Repent of your foolishness and worship the Creator. Jesus who is the word who created all things seen in John ch 1 and yet Phil 2:6-11 states “He did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefor God has highly exhausted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Have your worshiped or bowed down to our sovereign Lord for He alone is worth. For those who have there is hope and blessing to be seen in our final section.
III. Psalm 29:10-11 Affirmation of worship. (v.10- the Lord is King)
1. Ruling over the chaos (10a). See how He sits enthroned over the flood. This is the same word used in the flood of Noah and the readers would recognize this similar language to describe how the Lord is king and ruling the creation for His glory.
2. Ruling forever (10b). He is not ruling for just the here and now, but He has ruled, continues to rule, and will always rule over all. We are all subject to His sovereign hand and all will bow in worship whether here or on judgement day.
If our savior was only ruling while on earth, we would be without hope. The fact the Lord sits enthroned forever brings hope that our joy in His glory will always be seen and worthy of worship. This should comfort us while life is chaotic at times, we know He is controlling the chaos. While you may seem defeated know the Lord will always reign victorious. Though Christ appeared to be defeated He rose to reign and those who are in Christ will one day rise to reign with Him in glory.
(v. 11- The Lord is benefactor)
1. Granting power (11a). See how the Lord gives freely His power to His people. This power is not for all, but it is to strengthen the weak and uplift the lowly. His power is often seen most when the storm is overhead. When we reflect on the storm, we recognize that it was the Lords power that brought us through.
2. Granting peace (11b). Remember Psalm 29 is victory psalm that was read after returning from battle. They were in peace, but they needed to recognize and worship the Lord for granting this peace and not be puffed up.
What peace we have knowing that God is in control. When all seems chaotic, when storms are hovering, when life is difficult, we need only look to our God and He will bless us with peace. Remember Jesus words in John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
We have seen through our text today that the sovereign God is alone worthy of worship and is strengthening and comforting His people in life’s storms. As we descended from the heavenly courts of praise to the visible attributes of God seen in creation, to the cry of glory. We recognized that we were made to be worshipers. Worshipers of the creator not His creation. We recognize that man has fallen to praise the creation rather than the creator. We have seen the hope of Christ who descended out of heaven to earth that He may save His people from the bondage of sin to redeem them to Himself. We recognize that we have tremendous blessing by trusting in a sovereign God. We recognize that when the final call is taken up we will join the heavenly choir in worshiping our Lord. Until then we are to be spreading this Glory by sharing the Gospel wherever we go. Announcing the victory that can be found in Jesus.