Psalm 29: Over the Flood

Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings,
    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
    worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.

The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
    the God of glory thunders,
    the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
    the voice of the Lord is majestic.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
    the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon leap like a calf,
    Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord strikes
    with flashes of lightning.
The voice of the Lord shakes the desert;
    the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord twists the oaks
    and strips the forests bare.
And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”

The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
    the Lord is enthroned as King forever.
The Lord gives strength to his people;
    the Lord blesses his people with peace.

– Psalm 29

Recently spectacular thunderstorms traversed the south east of England and took out aircraft fuelling systems at Stansted Airport resulting in huge disruption as hundreds of flights were delayed or cancelled. For passengers waiting to fly away on business or for their half term holidays the experience was no doubt immensely frustrating. With all our capabilities and technological achievements, we are still very much at the mercy of the elements.

In this Psalm David sees an intense storm revealing God’s glory, even referring to the claps of thunder as the voice of the Lord (v3). David is stunned, awestruck, humbled by the sheer power of the storm as it sweeps down from the north (Lebanon and Sirion a.k.a. Mount Hermon) and passes overhead to vent its fury on the desert of Kadesh in the deep south.

Storms can be exhilarating, they can be beautiful, they can be breathtaking. They can be terrifying, leaving in their wake chaos and destruction, twisted oaks and forests stripped bare. Yet God is not touched by the storms that so frighten us, God sits majestically above the floodwaters, enthroned as King forever.

There are times when all of us are battered by the storms of life, everything seems to be crashing down around us, the floodwaters rise and we fear that we’re going to go under. In those times this is a good Psalm to dwell upon. It lifts our vision above the surrounding chaos and reminds us that God is not caught up in the turmoil of our lives. Our heavenly Father is sovereign, in his Son he has walked through the storm, literally (Matthew 14:22-26)! And, although we no longer have Jesus’ physical presence, his Spirit accompanies us. Because he is ‘over the flood’ he can give us both strength to endure and peace, not just afterwards but even in the midst of the wild weather of our lives.