1 Give unto the Lord, O ye mighty, give unto the Lord glory and strength.
Even before looking at this Psalm’s context and original meaning to its readers, one fact jumps off the page. God is in control. Just a quick reading of Psalm 29 must cause one to stop and say in prayer to our Lord, “How great thou art!” He is in control of earth. He is in control of eternity. All of His creation bows down before His might. What a powerful God we serve.
One might wonder, “If God is in control, why is there so much suffering in the world? Why doesn’t God do something about it?” The answer lies in the fact that God has given mankind freedom of choice. Now, that may sound like a simplistic solution to some but it’s true. In the Garden of Eden, the first man and woman were given the freedom to choose to obey or not to obey God. In making the wrong choice, they introduced sin into the world (Genesis 3). That creation that had been “very good” (Genesis 1:31) had been corrupted. Now it was subject to wearing down (Psalm 102:25-26). Aging, decay and ultimately death would now result. The imperfections in the world are the result of mankind’s fall, not God’s lack of power, and we suffer as a result of these imperfections.
On a more personal note, sometimes we suffer as individuals because of poor choices that we make. Our health, our financial situation, our relationships may cause us pain because we have exercised our freedom of choice and have done the wrong things. The apostle Paul wrote, “Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.” (I Timothy 5:24).
Sometimes we suffer as individuals because of poor choices that others make. We may suffer from an accident caused by a drunk driver, go through financial difficulties because the company for which we worked closed due to the dishonesty of the owner or even feel grief over losing a loved one who himself made a poor choice.
Again, although the fact that freedom of choice explains the existence of suffering in the world, some don’t want to accept this. They think that God has abandoned them in their sorrow. If they will think about it, they have put themselves in a difficult position. They want their freedom to do as they please, but then they want God to take away that freedom and intervene so that they won’t have to suffer any pain. When Job was encouraged by his wife to curse God and die due to his affliction, he replied, “What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10). Of course, Job was not charging God with committing wickedness for there is no evil in God (James 1:13). What he was saying is that it’s inconsistent to follow God when things are going well and turn on Him when times get tough. We appreciate the freedom that God has given us when it brings blessings, but do we complain when this same freedom brings difficulties?
Acceptance of the fact that we live in a sinful, imperfect world where tragedies occur and bad things happen to good people is certainly one of the key results of faith. Psalm 29 is so powerful because, coming from the source of our faith (Romans 10:17), it reminds us that no matter how difficult our situation might be, God is aware and in control of that situation.
Reminding us that God is in control, our faith looks beyond this world and its imperfection and into eternity where heaven awaits with its absence of tears, death, sorrow and pain (Revelation 21:4). Paul painted this beautiful contrast in I Corinthians 15:21-22: “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
Yes, God is in control. He is not controlling in the sense that He dangles us from a string as a puppeteer does his puppets. He is not dominating our every move, restraining or permitting our actions as though we had no minds of our own. He is in control in the sense that He knows what’s going on. He sees us. Best of all, He has made provision for us to be in a better land than this through obedience to the Gospel that He established through Jesus Christ. He was in control of that opportunity for salvation at least as far back as the Garden of Eden right after the man and woman wrongly exercised their freedom of choice and sinned (Genesis 3:15).
God is in control. We can look all about us and see the evidence as the Psalmist did. This is especially significant when we face difficulties and feel that our lives are out of control. The truth is, there are indeed times when we cannot be in control. Sometimes there is only so much that we can do to affect our situation. It’s unfortunate that it can take times like this to drive us to our knees and turn to the One who is in control but then again, these times of trial can actually benefit us by preparing us for greater service here and eternal rest after this life is over.
In the midst of life’s challenges, we must listen to the “voice of the Lord.” No, we’re not to sit around and wait for the Lord to audibly address us. The voice of the Lord in Psalm 29 was not the literal voice of God. The writer used the term to represent the power and omnipresence of God. Carefully read through the Psalm again, recognizing the greatness of our God and then pause to realize that this God knows of the difficulties that we face when we are in the very midst of them and that He will care for us. He is in the midst of these situations with us. “The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace.” He has it all under control.
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