January 24, 2021

All In His Temple Cry, Glory!

Liturgy of the Psalms :Scripture Reading: Psalm 29

In the words of the psalms we hear the liturgy of the Church. In this series of sermons from the psalms we have heard a “Call to Worship” from Psalm 95, words of “Confession and Assurance of Pardon” from Psalm 51, and last week we heard “God’s Will for our lives” from Psalm 119. In this liturgy of the psalms, God comes near to us and we come to know the Creator and Redeemer of the universe. As such, we come to know God in Jesus Christ through whom all things were made and by whom all things are made new.

After hearing the word of forgiveness and God’s will for our lives in Jesus Christ, the congregation is then ready to hear God speak through his Word. We are ready for the Sermon. In worship we come to listen to voice of the Lord who makes himself known and heard through his Word and Holy Spirit. In the preaching of the Word, we hear the voice of the God. In so far as the message proclaimed is in accordance with the revealed Word of God which is inspired by the Holy Spirit, we hear the Voice of God. Today we have read from Psalm 29 in order to understand better what it means to hear the Voice of God.

Questions:

Who are the “mighty ones” who are called on to praise God in Psalm 29?
How many times is the “voice of the LORD” mentioned in verses 3-9?
What is the final word at the end of verse 9? Do you know what this means?

What happens in Psalm 29 is what happens when God’s Word is proclaimed in fullness and truth. Preaching has the power to arouse faith where it is lacking and to encourage those who already believe. Q&A 84 of the Heidelberg Catechism says that the proclamation of the gospel is the key which opens or closes the Kingdom of God. It opens the Kingdom to believers who accept the gospel promise in true faith and it closes the Kingdom to unbelievers who do not repent. Article 24 of the Belgic Confession teaches that it is through the hearing of God’s Word and the work of the Holy Spirit that a person comes to true faith in Jesus Christ and is made new.

Question:

Can everyone hear the voice of the Lord? Why do some hear it with joy and some with dread?
In its original context, Psalm 29 reminded Israel that the covenant Lord, who had revealed himself to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, was the true God of heaven and earth. He is the God who also revealed himself and spoke to Moses at the Burning Bush. He is the God who revealed himself and spoke to the Israelites at Mount Sinai. All around them, the Canaanites (and other people) believed that their god, “Baal”, was heard and seen in the thunder and the storm. The Canaanites believed Baal was the god who was over the waters, and brought rain and fertility to the land. Over against that, Psalm 29 declares the Kingdom, the power, and the glory belong to the Lord. This is the God who sees and hears and acts on behalf of his people for their salvation.

Questions:

Do we see joy or dread when God speaks to the Israelites at Mount Sinai? (See Exodus 20:18-19).
God speaks to his people at various times in the Old Testament. In what event from the life of Jesus do we hear the Voice of God speak?

The God who is heard in Psalm 29 is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. As such Psalm 29 is a Christ-centered Word. It begins with a call to the heavenly beings to worship the Lord and it finishes with a word of glory to God and peace on earth. At the end of Psalm 29:9 it says, “And in his temple all cry, “Glory!” This is the high-point of the psalm and the glory of God is revealed ultimately at the cross of Jesus. In John 17:1-3 Jesus says, “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”

The Conclusion:

God-centered liturgy and Christ-centered preaching will always bring glory to God in heaven and on earth. The institutional Church will stand or fall on the preaching of the Word of God. The ministries of the Church will stand or fall on the basis of whether or not we are rooted in the Word of God that proclaims God’s Kingdom story in Jesus Christ. If we get this wrong, we get everything wrong. If we do not hear the Voice of the Lord, we will hear other voices that will lead us in all kinds of directions but none of them leading to love, grace, and truth. Psalm 29 and the rest of God’s revelation in the Bible calls on us to hear the Voice of the Lord. We hear him best when we listen to the gospel that reveals Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. He is the King of Creation and our lives are lived in service to him. Amen.