Glory and Peace
(7) The voice of Yahweh strikes with flames of fire.
(8) The voice of Yahweh shakes the wilderness.
Yahweh shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
(9) The voice of Yahweh makes the deer give birth and strips the forests bare,
and in his temple all cry, “Glory!”
(10 Yahweh sat enthroned over the flood.
Yahweh sits enthroned as king forever.
(11) Yahweh will give strength to his people.
Yahweh will bless his people with peace.
Note again the structuring of verses 7-11 for the purpose of antiphonal worship as in the first part of Psalm 29, yesterday’s study. The first lines would have been voiced by the worship leader with the response of the second lines given by a choir or the congregation.
“The voice of Yahweh” occurs three times in three consecutive verses in this segment and seven times in the middle six verses of this psalm (vss. 7-9). Rarely do we encounter such a strong emphasis through repetition anywhere in Scripture. To add even more stress, David uses highly exaggerated terms to describe the effects of Yahweh’s voice. It is so powerful that its sound causes wild animals to give birth and strips limbs from the trees of the forest (vs. 9). Note David’s use of the past tense “sat” (vs. 10a), portraying Yahweh enthroned over the Genesis flood, the world’s greatest natural catastrophe to date (Gen. 6-8). In the next line David shifts to the present tense “sit” in order to portray God’s rule over all creation (vs. 10b).
In the closing verses of the psalm, two key words stand out: “glory” and “peace.” In worship, Yahweh is glorified by our adoration (vs. 9). In response, he grants us his peace (vs. 11). “Shalom,” used today in modern Hebrew as an everyday greeting, carries a rich array of meanings including well-being, health, and peace as well as the blessing which God bestows on all who glorify him.
I. The power of Yahweh’s voice reveals his glory. (7-9)
II. From his throne God strengthens and blesses us. (10 & 11)
Yahweh, who rules forever in power and glory, strengthens and blesses his worshipers with peace.
As noted in the observation section, two important words anchor this final segment of the psalm. The first is “glory,” representing the triumphant praise which those who worship Yahweh voice in acknowledging his power and greatness (vs. 9). The word in Hebrew literally means “heavy.” The more social weight or influence a person has, the more glorious he is. Such a person could be said to have everything and lack nothing. God, who is altogether glorious, carries infinitely more weight than any other being in the universe.
The second word, “peace,” signifies far more than just the cessation of strife. It contains overtones of wellness, wholeness, prosperity, and security. When Jesus told his disciples, “My peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you” (Jn. 14:27), he envisioned for them every possible spiritual enrichment. We might phrase it this way: when we walk with God, giving him glory in our worship, he, in turn, imparts to us his peace (shalom). And the more we experience his peace, the more we desire to give him glory.