The twenty-ninth Psalm may not be the most well-known or appreciated in the Psalter, but it has been called “the most majestic” and “one of the loveliest poems ever.” It is perhaps the most terrifying yet majestic descriptions of a storm found in poetic literature. Psalm 29 is unique in the Psalter in that it is pure praise. Other Psalms praise God, but almost all mix praise with application or supplication. The poem’s eleven verses mention the name of the LORD (YHWH) eighteen times. In the middle portion of the Psalm (vss. 3-9), “the voice of the LORD” is repeated seven times, evoking the sound of repetitive thunderclaps. As is the case with much poetic literature, in order to be fully appreciated, Psalm 29 cannot be critically analyzed, but is meant to be sensed with our emotions. The poetic soul and powerful preacher Charles Spurgeon advised, “Just as the eighth Psalm is to be read by moonlight, when the stars are bright, as the nineteenth needs the rays of the rising sun to bring out its beauty, so this can be best rehearsed beneath the black wing of tempest, by the glare of the lightning, or amid that dubious dusk which heralds the war of elements. The verses march to the tune of thunderbolts. God is everywhere conspicuous, and all the earth is hushed by the majesty of his presence.”
Having witnessed a powerful storm, David the Psalmist’s chief concern is not merely the power of the thunderstorm, but God’s voice, which is infinitely more powerful. Overwhelmed with the majesty of God revealed in the storm, the Psalmist, David, issues a twofold call to worship God in verses 1-2. First, he calls us to ascribe glory to Him, that is, to acknowledge His supreme worth. Secondly, we are to worship, or literally, bow down in a posture that emulates a subordination of our mind and will to His. People who witness the power of God as illustrated in a storm are naturally to be found within the temple praising God who created, and is sovereign over, the storm. We see the power of God’s voice revealed when creation springs into existence as a result of the voice of God. Similarly, the voice of God activates faith as He regenerates sinners, drawing them to Himself in salvation.
In the Psalm’s final two verses, the storm has passed, but God Himself remains. A shaken people upon whom His favor now remains, cannot help but to give Him glory!