The Word Made Fresh
(A psalm of David.)
1Give credit to the LORD, you residents of heaven.
Give credit to the LORD’s glory and power.
2Give credit to the LORD, whose name is glorious.
Worship the LORD in sacred magnificence.
3The LORD’s voice rules the waters.
The God of glory thunders,
and reveals the LORD’s presence over the waves.
4The LORD’s voice is powerful and filled with majesty.
5The LORD’s voice shatters the cedars,
even the cedars of Lebanon.
6The LORD makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
and makes Sirion run like a young wild ox.
7The LORD’s voice flashes with flames of fire,
8and shakes the wilderness, even the wilderness of Kadesh.
9The LORD’s voice make the oaks whirl
and strips the forest bare,
and everyone in the temple cries out, “Holy!”
10The LORD sits enthroned above the flood,
Enthroned as king forever.
11May the LORD give strength to the people!
May the LORD grant the people peace!
Superscription: the 26th psalm that is ascribed to David.
1-2: The psalm opens with a call for the “heavenly beings” to worship God’s glory and strength. The “heavenly beings” are angels and other divine beings believed to inhabit God’s realm.
3-4: These verses are a poetic description of a great storm blowing in off the Mediterranean Sea and moving inexorably inland across the wilderness. In verse 3 we see the storm building up strength with rumbles of thunder growing in intensity (“the voice of the LORD”).
5-6: The storm moves onto land and has become powerful enough to uproot trees. Mt. Lebanon is in the northern part of the modern-day country of Lebanon. Sirion is likely a reference to Mt. Hermon, a prominent 9200 ft. peak to the north of Galilee.
7: “Flames of fire” is a description of lightning shooting out in the storm’s advance.
8: So powerful is the storm that the ground seems to shake in its path. The “wilderness of Kadesh” is generally taken to be a reference to the desert in the south of Israel at the top of the Sinai Peninsula. However, that area is pretty far removed from Mt. Lebanon and Mt. Hermon. There is another location for Kadesh (or Qadesh) in northeastern Lebanon near the edge of the Arabian Desert, and that is the more likely locale referred to here.
9: The storm is a powerful and majestic display of God’s might, and the people are awed by it.
10-11: In the aftermath of the storm the psalmist pictures God sitting in a throne over the drenched landscape. May such a God strengthen the people! May God let the people live now in peace, the kind of peace and calm that settles over the land after a storm has passed.
Sometimes God sends a storm across the landscape of our lives to wash away those things that need to be washed away. Whenever we find ourselves in one of those “storms” of life, it may help to remember that the storm can be evidence of God’s presence, and God’s efforts to blow away and wash away the things we need to be freed from.