The Righteous One’s Adoration in the Day of Storm

a brief study of Psalm 29, adapted from PCC Prayer Meeting Exhortation on 22 Dec 2006
This Psalm is famously known as the Storm Psalm. It is a most appropriate Psalm to sing and meditate on days when we experience stormy weather,—whether literally or spiritually.

1. The Context & Heart of the Psalm

This Psalm was probably composed by David under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit on a stormy day. We can imagine that on that day David might have gone out hunting in the wilderness of Kadesh. A storm began to brew, and he was forced to take shelter in a cattle stall.

As he sat there looking over a lake and surrounded by the forest, great streaks of lightning with terrific thunder claps must have filled the sky. The noise of the thunder must have been deafening. David refers to the thunder as the voice of the Lord. Seven times in this psalm, he speaks of the voice of the Lord.

3 The voice of the LORD is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the LORD is upon many waters.

Over the lake, the sight and sound of lightning can be awesome. It is like the LORD himself has come upon the waters and is speaking with a glorious voice.

4 The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.

What David heard with his ear was the thunderous boom of the lightning. What he heard with his soul was the voice of God. If the thunder is majestic and powerful, how much more is the LORD full of power and majesty?

There is but a hiding of his power and majesty in the thunder and lightning. The noise of the thunder is but a whisper of God. The brightness of the lightning is but his shadow.

But still the power of the lightning is unmistakable.…

5 The voice of the LORD breaketh the cedars; yea, the LORD breaketh the cedars of Lebanon.

It is possible that a lightning struck a cedar tree right before the eyes of David and started to catch fire and to crash to the ground.

6 He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn. 7 The voice of the LORD divideth the flames of fire.

From a distance, the whole forest seems to come alive like dancing unicorns as the lightning streaks across the sky one after another, some of them hitting the trees in the distant. And the thunder is so loud that everything seems to shake.

8 The voice of the LORD shaketh the wilderness; the LORD shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh.

But there in the cattle stall where David was taking shelter, even the animals are feeling uneasy about the display, so much so that the cows go into labour.…

9 The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests:

Outdoor, the lightning exposes everything; indoors every creature is affected. The cows are frightened into casting their calves. What about man?

Those who fear the Lord will neither fear, nor will they merely be amazed by these sight and sound. Instead, they will response by worship.

This is why David says in the second part of verse 9…

… and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory.

Perhaps David was thinking about what the holy priests in the temple will be talking about as they also experienced the same great storm. He surmises that they would be talking about God’s glory. For one who fears the Lord, will behold such a wonderful display of God’s power and be moved by it. What more, the priests in the temple of God.

Well, this is the heart of this psalm. This psalm was born in a thunder storm and will come to mind when ever we are caught in a thunder storm. This is why we call it a storm psalm.

But there is more to this psalm than merely thinking about a storm.

2. The Purpose & Call of this Psalm

This psalm serves to remind us that God is the Lord over the storms of our lives including the great and final storm. The Lord Jesus must have sung it as he faced the storm of the cross.

And we as a people united to the Lord may surely sing it as a psalm directed to him to extol him for His greatness. Remember the occasion in the earthly ministry of our Lord when he and his disciples were caught up in a storm. Remember what happened? The Lord was sleeping at the back of the boat when the storm started. The boat was beginning to take water. One of the disciples woke the Lord. What did he do? He stood up, and he rebuked the wind and the waves. And there was immediately a great calm.

What happened to the disciples when they saw this? We are told that they were exceedingly fearful, and they cried out one to another “What manner of man is this? That even the wind and the waves obey his commands?”

The disciples saw that Christ was the LORD, the everlasting King.

And so when we think about storms, it is hard for us not to think about the Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, as our Lord has been appointed by the Father to be the administrator of the universe for our sakes, so we can indeed direct our praise to Him as our King.

This psalm is a celebration of His greatness. It is a call to all men to meditate on the LORD’s greatness and to praise Him. So the psalm begins:

1 Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength. 2 Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

The mighty ones are the angels and all the mighty men of the world. None are so great as the LORD. None deserve the praise and honour that our Lord deserves.

“Give unto the LORD.” Our LORD does not need anything. When we sing “Give unto the LORD” the meaning of the word “give” is to ascribe or declare. Ascribe unto the LORD glory and strength—Praise and magnify him for his glory and strength. Praise him especially in the moments when his greatness is manifested such as in a storm, or in the day of his revelation.

Praise him. Lift up your voice and ascribe unto him the glory due unto him. Let all the world know that he is indeed great. And worship him in the beauty of holiness. Worship him not in the beauty of human devised artefacts of idolatry. Worship him in the beautiful and splendour of his holiness.

To be holy is to be transcendent or separate. God is holy for He is utterly other. He is the Creator. He cannot be represented by things created whether by himself or by man. His beauty cannot be the least captured by human art or description. Therefore to worship him in the beauty of holiness, we may only worship him in the simplicity of worship that he has appointed in his word.

But let us be stirred up to worship him by meditating on his power and greatness in the things that we see and hear. The thunderstorm is a very great example. David was inspired to write this psalm because His heart was lifted up to God as he witnessed the storm.

So let us not let any storm blow pass without our hearts being lifted up to magnify the Lord.

And so too in other things:

· When you are flying in an aeroplane and you are awed by the beauty of the clouds outside, remember to praise him whose “faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds” (Ps 36:5).
When you are camping in the open, and you look up and see the glory of the night sky, remember to praise the Lord whose name is excellent in all the earth, whose glory fills the heaven and yet condescends to love us who are creatures of dust.

· When you are in the zoo and you are awed by the great elephants or the crocodiles, remember to praise him who ask Job “Behold now behemoth” (Job 40:15)-“Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook?” (Job 41:1). Where were you when I laid the foundation of the world?

· When you see the great mountains in the places you visit during your vacation, think about Psalm 90:2—“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.”

· And similarly, when a storm blows over your life, remember to turn your eyes to the LORD of the storm who said. “Peace, be still!”

When we so exercise our heart, we can be sure of peace in our heart. Even though the storm is raging, we can have peace. For as verse 10 puts it…

10 The LORD sitteth upon the flood; yea, the LORD sitteth King for ever.

The Lord sitteth on the flood—not literally, but that he is in control over the flood. He is the King of kings forever. He is king over all things including the storm, the wind, the waves and the lightning.

These things, whether literal or metaphorical frighten us. They leave us with anxieties in our heart.

Remember how Martin Luther was so frightened when a light bolt struck near him that he decided to be a monk.

But these things ought not to frighten us. Why should they frighten us when we know that the Lord sits enthrone over them.

Therefore the knowledge of the greatness of the Lord gives us strength and peace:

11 The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.

The Lord will give us strength and peace not by a supernatural injection of adrenaline or valium or anything like that. No, no; it will be through the Holy Spirit reminding us of who God is and what He has done, is doing and will do for us.

The Holy Spirit works by bringing to remembrance of the word of God that we have received. So let us hide these truths of this psalm into our heart that we may be prepared for the day of storm.


Let us hide in our hearts 3 inter-related things from this psalm:

· First, let us remember that the loud thunders of nature are but the voice of the LORD. That is: Let us understand that the LORD is sovereign. Nothing in this life is so great and magnificent, but that it is intended to serve as reminder of the power of God.

· Second, let it be lodge in our mind that however great a storm may be, Christ our Lord is greater. The wind and the waves obey him. Whether it is a literal storm, or a stormy time in our life, let us understand that Christ is greater.

· Finally, let us never allow loud thunders in our experience to dislodge from our mind the confidence that the LORD will bless his people with peace. That is the Lord who is sovereign over all thing and will see to it that we will be protected from all things that is eternally harmful to us, and will bestow upon us things that are eternally good for us. Amen.

— JJ Lim