This week, Richard Coekin (Senior Pastor of Dundonald Church and Co-Mission’s CEO) encourages us with the words from another psalm.
The Voice of the Lord Reveals His Glory
This exhilarating psalm likens the power of the word of God among his people to the breathtaking sights and sounds of a thunderstorm crackling with lightning in the night sky. This stunning psalm of King David contains echoes of the creation narrative in Genesis and the redemption narrative in Exodus. It calls us to the same reverent praise and confident trust in the power of God’s word as Jesus later demonstrated.
The two-verse introduction (vv. 1–2) calls us to ‘worship the Lord in the splendour of his holiness’. The two-verse conclusion (vv. 10–11) celebrates the Lord enthroned in power who ‘gives strength to his people’ and ‘blesses his people with peace’. Four times in both the introduction and the conclusion our creator is called ‘the Lord’ – celebrating God’s gracious commitment, revealed in the exodus of Israel, to redeem his people for heaven.
Seven times in the central section (vv. 3–9) we read of the power of ‘the voice of the Lord’ among his people. This is illustrated by the lightning flashes of an awesome thunderstorm watched from Jerusalem – as it moves across the sky from the west over the Mediterranean Sea, above Lebanon in the north, to Kadesh in the desert to the east.
This thrilling prayer/song reminds us to seek strength and peace – for the challenges of life under lockdown and for serving God in eternity – in his powerful word, the Bible. For there ‘the voice of the Lord’ reveals his lightning glory…in Jesus Christ.
As before, I have divided up the psalm, verse by verse, to add a line of explanation in order to fashion a prayer for us – to pray on our own, with friends over Zoom, or with the family around the tea-table. Let us pray…
Almighty God, our loving heavenly Father
‘1 Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength…’
For you are worthy of praise throughout all heaven and earth.
‘2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendour of his holiness…’
Stir our hearts with this psalm to recognise your glory and worship you in the beauty of your holiness.
‘3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters…’
We praise you that like when your word created the universe, so now your word is gloriously at work among your people, for we are your new creation.
‘4 The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic…’
We praise you for your personal word to us in your Son, Jesus, powerfully revealed to us in your written word, the Bible.
‘5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon…’
We praise you that as lightning splits open powerful cedar trees, your gospel word splits open our stubborn hearts.
‘6 He makes Lebanon leap like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox…’
We praise you that as a rainstorm brings joy to desert regions, your word of grace brings joy to our hearts.
‘7 The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning…’
We praise you that like electric lightning, your word reveals your dazzling glory, supremely in Jesus.
‘8 The voice of the Lord shakes the desert; the Lord shakes the desert of Kadesh…’
We praise you that like thunder, your word is always living and active, shaking up your church.
‘9 The voice of the Lord twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”…’
We praise you that your word is powerful to humble and transform sinners like us, so that in your presence – in heaven and on earth – all cry out in worship, ‘Glory!’ For in Jesus we behold your awesome glory.
‘10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King for ever…’
Lord, Jesus Christ, you are ruling over your creation, over viruses and economies, for you alone are King.
‘11 The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.’
Sovereign Lord, give us strength in our weakness to serve you, and peace in our anxious hearts to trust you.