Revised Common Lectionary--2007
For May-Aug, 2007 click here
Easter IV (Apr. 29)
Acts 13:15-16, 26ff.
Psalm 23 (I)
Psalm 23 (II)
Rev. 7:9-17 (I)
Rev. 7:9-17 (II)
Easter III (Apr. 22)
VT Killing Meditation
Acts 9:1-19a (I)
Acts 9:1-19a (II)
Easter II (Apr. 15)
Acts 5:12-32 (I)
Acts 5:12-32 (II)
Easter (Apr. 8)
Ps. 118:1-2, 14-24
John 20:1-18 (I)
John 20:1-18 (II)
Lent VI (Apr. 1)
Psalm 22 (I)
Psalm 22 (II)
Lent V (Mar. 25)
Psalm 126 (I)
Psalm 126 (II)
John 12:1-8 (I)
John 12:1-8 (II)
Lent IV (Mar. 18)
Luke 15:11-32 (I)
Luke 15:11-32 (II)
II Cor. 5:16-21
Lent III (Mar. 11)
I Cor 10:1-13
Lent II (Mar. 4)
Gen. 15:1-12, 17-18
Luke 13:31-35 (I)
Luke 13:31-35 (II)
Lent I (Feb. 25)
Deut 26: 1-11
Luke 4:1-13 (I)
Luke 4:1-13 (II)
Rom 10: 5-13
Epiphany VII (2/18)
Gen. 45:1-15 (I)
Gen. 45:1-15 (II)
I Cor 15:35-38,42ff.
Epiphany VI(Feb 11)
Luke 6:17-26 I
Luke 6:17-26 II
I Cor 15:12-20
Epiphany V (Feb 4)
Is. 6 (The Senses I)
Is. 6 (The Senses II)
Luke 5:1-11 (II)
I Cor 15:1-11
I Cor 15:1-11 (II)
Epiphany IV (Jan 28)
Jer. 1:4-10 (II)
Luke 4:22-30 (I)
Luke 4:22-30 (II)
I Cor 13 (I)
Epiphany III(Jan 21)
I Cor 12:12-31
Epiphany II (Jan 14)
John 2:1-11 (I)
John 2:1-11 (II)
I Cor. 12:1-11 (I)
I Cor. 12:1-11 (II)
Baptism (Jan 7)
Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
Luke 3 (II)
Baptism of the Lord--January 7
Dr. Bill Long 12/28/06
Here is the Psalm, in the NRSV.
"A Psalm of David.
1 Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name;
worship the Lord in holy splendor.
3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord, over mighty waters.
4 The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
and Sirion like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
8 The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl,
and strips the forest bare;
and in his temple all say, ‘Glory!’
10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned as king for ever.
11 May the Lord give strength to his people!
May the Lord bless his people with peace!"
Many scholars believe that this Psalm is among the oldest in the Psalter; it seems to draw upon themes from other Canaanite literature but it subjects all its thoughts and ideas to that of the Lord, the Holy one of Israel. Rather than Is. 43, which describes the redemptive power of God, Ps. 29 explores the raw power of God. The God of the thunderstorm, who makes the wildnerness shake and his people cry "Glory," is the theme of this Psalm. It is neatly divided into three sections, entitled as follows.
I. Ps. 29: 1-2; The Greatness of God
The first two verses reflect an unusual type of parallelism in Hebrew poetry--called "staircase" parallelism. The ideas build or "climb" until, in the fourth clause, you have the "punchline"--"worship the Lord in holy splendor." Most Psalms, by contrast, are written in synonymous parallelism, where the second line "mimics" the first (example is: "The Lord is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed"--Ps. 28:8). The theological significance of this literary device is that the Psalmist is building to a climax in worship. Worship is the end of all the "climbing" towards God. Many biblical references exhort people to praise God for his wonderful works. Ps. 150 is an example: "Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his surpassing greatness" (Ps. 150:2). But Ps. 29 encourages the heavenly beings to do so. The "heavenly beings" of 29:1 are, literally, the "sons of God," who are elsewhere attested in Job 1 and Gen. 6. God's greatness is such that even the beings in between, between heaven and earth, must recognize it.
II. Ps. 29: 3-9; The Sevenfold Thunder of God's Voice
God created the world and rested in seven days in Genesis. Here, God's voice speaks seven times, shaking and destroying the world, shining forth in the storm, stripping the forest bare, and leading all to cry "Glory." Just as there was perfection in the "seven" of creation, so the "voice" of God, speaking seven times in these verses, is perfect. From Genesis we learn that the Spirit of God hovered over the waters (1:2). Here we learn that "the voice of the Lord is over the waters" (29:3). In the Revelation, John hears a sound coming from heaven, and it is "like the sound of many waters." In Ps. 29 it is the Lord who is over the "mighty waters" (29:3). This sevenfold powerful voice of the Lord is manifest in three spheres: (1) the thunder (v.3); (2) the fires and the forest (vv. 5-7); (3) the wilderness (v. 8). And some of these themes reflect other Biblical passages: For example, in Job 37, where Elihu is announcing the coming of God (theophany), he says:
"Under the whole heaven he lets it loose,
and his lightning to the corners of the earth.
After it his voice roars;
he thunders with his majestic voice
and he does not restrain the lightnings when his voice is heard" (Job. 37:3-4).
Thus, the strong language to describe God's thundering activity hints at the theophany or appearance of God. God will make the divine presence known by making "Lebanon skip like a calf, and Sirion (i.e., Mt. Hermon) like a young wild ox." Mountains are playthings before God. No wonder why all the heavenly beings worship him (v. 1).
Attention should be given to the people's shout of "Glory" when God's power is shown. The Hebrew word is "Kavod" (long "o"). We might say "Kavoom!" when something explosive happens, but Israel says "Kavod"! The cry of the people is reminiscent of the angelic cry in Isaiah's temple vision:
"And one called to another and said:
'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory," (Is. 6:3).
The raw power of God pulls forth from the soul an instinctive cry of "Kavod!"
III. Ps. 29: 10-11; Bless the People
But God's power is not just for theatrical display, like some kind of Independence Day fireworks that only is meant to "wow" the people. God's enthronement above the dangerous flood waters is an eternal enthronement (v. 10). But, most of all, it is an enthronement for the benefit of God's people. This God doesn't just flash forth with signs of power. This God blesses and gives strength to the people. This kind of God is the source of peace (v. 11). Let us strive to discover and embrace the God of the storm, who also is the God of peace.