A thunderstorm . . . that was the trigger. Foul weather, the inspiration for the song. Whereas in Psalm 8 it’s the moon and the stars which provoke awe-filled wonder . . . and in Psalm 19 it’s the sun acting as the catalyst for declaring the glory of God, this morning, it’s a loud tempest that evokes praise in Psalm 29. So I’m noodling this morning on bad weather worship.
Unlike David, how infrequently I connect the every day happenings of the creation with the Creator. Day after day the winds blow and the rain falls and I just brood about being wet. The rivers rise and I worry. The power of the sun is blocked by a massive enveloping cover and I’m thinking about the need for vitamin D supplements.
But what if the endless rain were to bring to remembrance the abundant out-pouring of His grace? A downpour experienced daily, but unable to fully comprehend it’s source. No apparent end to its supply. Filling streams and rivers and seas to overflowing. So much so that it causes us to respond, as another songwriter has written, “If grace is an ocean we’re all sinking.”
Or what if the winds were a reminder of how the Spirit of God works? With unseen, yet blatantly obvious power. Blowing where it wishes. And, though we hear its sound, we don’t know where it comes from or where it goes to (Jn. 3:8). Except to know that the Spirit brings dead people to life. That He enables deaf people to have ears to hear. That He intercedes when dumb people can’t find the words to say. That He is a deposit for redeemed people guaranteeing what is to come. A mighty, rushing wind come from heaven, apportioning divine enabling as He purposes (1Cor. 12:11).
And what if the cloud cover–that day after day after day of cloud cover–what if it were less a source of lament and more a reminder of the Father’s enveloping presence? Instead of seeing the grey skies as something to roar against, I rejoiced afresh in the refuge that is mine in the shadow of His wings. Reminded that, just like the seemingly endless cloud cover, “You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I will sing for joy” (Ps. 63:7). That the skies can be more than a constant grey to be endured, but could be creation’s cue to again sing with the psalmist of God’s faithfulness: “How precious is Your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of Your wings” (Ps. 36:7).
Yeah, to be more like David. Where, in Psalm 29, the thunderstorm isn’t just the thunderstorm, but it’s the voice of God. The voice over the waters. Breaking cedars. Flashing forth flames of fire. Shaking the wilderness. Causing animals to go into labor.
Where every day (literally “every day!”) common atmospheric conditions reveal a God who is anything but common. Declaring, if we’ll but take notice, that Jehovah is “full of majesty.” And reminding us that “in His temple all cry, ‘Glory!'”
I encounter bad weather and often wring my hands. David encountered bad weather and worshiped.
Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name;
worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness. . . .
The LORD sits enthroned over the flood;
the LORD sits enthroned as king forever.
(Psalm 29:1-2, 10 ESV)
Oh to be more like David. To know more of bad weather worship.
By God’s grace. For God’s glory.