Friday, October 21, 2011

Psalm 29 – Ascribe to the LORD, Glory!

Let all creation: “Ascribe to the LORD the glory of his name; worship the LORD in holy splendor.” ~Psalm 29:2 (NRSV).

Take a quick reflective look around you—all that God has given you: the objects, technology, and tools; the people and relationships; the thoughts and feelings; the gifts and opportunities; your memories and plans; the mystery of life; the hope of eternity; sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell; a wonderland to observe; interesting problems and challenges; the universe to awe—at whose creation this is; your parents or guardians; your work; your passion.

For all we perceive: glory!

We have, and are given, so much.

We have accumulated; usually for a purpose. That purpose is, ultimately, to give glory to God. It is what we’ll do in heaven and we’re to do it here as well.

The Voice of the LORD

Beyond the introduction and conclusion of this psalm is a thick, muscular body—of seven verses, heralding the completeness of raucous but definitive praise—alluding to the anthropomorphic feature: the voice of the Lord.

The voice of the Lord is mighty over the waters, powerful, and full of majesty (verses 3-4). It breaks the towering cedars of Lebanon—dwarfing the once great pagan nation (verses 5-6). It flashes forth with flames of fire, shaking the wilderness, namely the wilderness of Kadesh (verses 7-8)—another pagan location. God is Sovereign over all.

Psalm 29 is unique over the full corpus of the Old Testament where the writer identifies, so specifically, devotedly and directly, the glory of the Lord in natural phenomena.

In this section the writer (David) is attempting to encapsulate the fullness of God’s incomprehensible power. Such an attempt is admirable, but it quickly confirms how small our minds and knowledge are in understanding creation and the Creator.

Ascribing Glory to God for Our Lives

To “ascribe” something to someone is to “attribute” to them something worthy, identifying them through it. Nothing could be ascribed better to God than glory.

When we read through the above list of the things that God has given us we might more aptly thank the Lord. But there is so much more than thanks—there must be praise for the infinite provision given to us; a thing encapsulated as a phenomenon called “life.”

Just the fact that we can experience pitiful lows and ecstatic highs, and that there is wonder in both, leaves us bereft for an answer.

All this, all we can see and experience and know, heralds God’s inimitable glory.

Everything upon everything that is known to life calls all creation to honour the glory of the Lord.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

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