February 6, 2018: Even with PeaceJosh Moody
Worship has unfortunately been mired in controversy down through church history. Worship in the form of the Orthodox, the Roman Catholic, the Protestant? Worship as high church, low church? Worship as traditional or as contemporary? Real biblical worship at least starts with this proposition: it is to “worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness” (29:2). That is, worship is about exulting in and celebrating the utterly special, beautiful, and glorious (29:9) person of God. We are called to “ascribe” to God glory and strength: not because he needs our approval! But because this is true. And it is part of the enjoyment of God to celebrate the beauty of God. When you enjoy something or someone, you tell others about that something or someone; “wow, that was good; I so enjoyed that.” And with God, when we enjoy him, we will find we will “ascribe” to him these glorious attributes. Because he truly is amazing!
But the middle part of this psalm (verses 3 to 8) describes a worship of God that is based around a wonder at his “voice.” Here is the power of God’s Word, not just in an effortless original creative voice, but in the constant maintaining of all of created reality. As Revelation 4:11 puts it in the King James Version:
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
Psalm 29 tells that God’s voice is “over the waters” (29:3). The terrifying sea that so troubled the subconscious fears of the Israelites, those “waters” are also under the control of God’s Word. Why? Because “the voice of the LORD is powerful” (29:4). It “breaks the cedars” (29:5); such is the power of God’s voice. But the power is also giving joy: it makes Lebanon “skip like a calf” or Sirion “like a young wild ox” (29:6). This voice of the LORD “flashes forth flames of fire” (29:7). It “shakes the wilderness” (29:8). It “makes the deer give birth” (29:9). Creation of every kind, the terrifying and the remarkable birth process, is also under the sovereign sway of the Word of God!
And once this perspective is retained and “ascribed”—God as “holy,” brilliant, awesome, special, beautiful—and God’s Word as powerful beyond any human agency, then the result is that the worshipers “in his temple” all cry “Glory!” (29:9).
If your sense of worship is dull, it may be because you are not worshiping the way this psalm encourages us to do: with a thrill at the awesomeness of God and a centrality of the Word of God.
When we do that, with God and his Word in their rightful place in our worship, the LORD is “enthroned” (29:10). We are worshiping Him as King! And from that throne we pray, may “strength” and “blessing” come to his people even with “peace” (29:11).