God’s revelation and our witness in the mess of this world

Ascribe to the LORD, you 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 his holiness.

The voice of the LORD is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the LORD thunders over the mighty waters.
The voice of the LORD is powerful;
the voice of the LORD is majestic.
The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars;
the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon leap like a calf,
Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the LORD strikes
with flashes of lightning.
The voice of the LORD shakes the desert;
the LORD shakes the Desert of Kadesh.
The voice of the LORD twists the oaks
and strips the forests bare.
And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”

The LORD sits enthroned over the flood;
the LORD is enthroned as King forever.
The LORD gives strength to his people;
the LORD blesses his people with peace.

Psalm 29

God makes himself known through creation in terms of both creation itself, and what happens in creation. Creation in scripture ends up pointing to the promise of new creation, and in itself is limited. It is not the end all, since it cannot go on forever, and suffers cataclysmic changes. God’s greatness, and even his goodness is made known in the midst of that, both to his people and through them to the world, in and through Jesus.

Whatever we experience in this life, no matter what it is, God gives us peace: “the LORD blesses his people with peace.” And God gives us strength to carry on. All of this is the case because “the LORD is enthroned as King forever.” God “sits enthroned over the flood,” in other words, no matter what’s going on in the earth, God is in charge.

Passages like Psalm 29 shouldn’t be mined only for our comfort, but the comfort is there, and we do need it. We need to let such passages soak in us as we soak in them, in God’s word through meditation, which for me means plodding along slowly and prayerfully through each phrase. Psalm 29 helps us think on God’s power and majesty. The comfort that is a part of the revelation of God in this psalm reminds me of a familiar go-to passage for me, that I have to return to at times, again and again, and try, as poor as I might do it, to to put it into practice:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

It is often hard for me to really do this, which makes sense since when I need to do this, anxiety has often taken over, worry setting in. God eventually gives the promised peace in answer to prayer. That’s what we need to look for, and we need to remain settled in that, reminding ourselves of it the next time we are tempted to be swallowed up in fear over the same matter.

Why is that peace present? We don’t know, but we trust that it’s all good, because the peace is from no less than God himself. It will come. We need to apply, follow through, and hold on to God’s instruction, loving imperative, indeed- stark command.

God is at work in judgment and salvation in the world; we are in the midst of that, but God will see us through as witnesses, so that others might know that we are indeed his people in and through Jesus, that they also may come to faith in him.

 

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