Further Meditations on Psalm 29

Ascribe to יהוה, O heavenly beings [sons of God],
ascribe to יהוה glory and strength.
Ascribe to יהוה the glory due his name;
worship יהוה in the splendor of holiness.

The voice of יהוה is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
יהוה, over many waters.
The voice of יהוה is powerful;
the voice of יהוה is full of majesty.

The voice of יהוה breaks the cedars;
יהוה breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf,
and Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of יהוה flashes forth flames of fire.
The voice of יהוה shakes the wilderness;
יהוה shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of יהוה makes the deer give birth
and strips the forests bare,
and in his temple all cry, “Glory!”

יהוה sits enthroned over the flood;
יהוהsits enthroned as king forever.
May יהוה give strength to his people!
May יהוה bless his people with peace

In our thinking, a voice is simply what you use to speak. In ancient Hebrew the word for voice is קול (qowl). It is a shouted voice – a voice of proclamation. The image I always have in my head is Yul Brynner as Pharaoh in The Ten Commandments.

In the film, Brynner’s character has a speaking voice and a commanding voice. When he makes commands, it is clear that he is not to be questioned – that he believes his authority is absolute.

Reading Psalm 29, it is worth remembering that this “voice of YHWH” is not simply God speaking to us as friends. It is God declaring his nature and his authority. His voice cannot be separated from his nature and existence. It shatters mountains and shakes deserts.

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