Psalm 29: The Voice of God


Psalm 29 is appointed this year for the celebration of the baptism of Jesus.  The poet describes a violent storm traveling from Lebanon south through Israel and links it to God’s voice.

Seven times “the Lord’s voice over the waters” is used conveying the sound of rolling thunder.  The Hebrew word for voice is, Qol (kole) which mimics the sound of thunder.

At the beginning and end of the psalm the poet mentions “God’s glory.” “Kavod” is the Hebrew for glory.

Other words such as Qodesh meaning “holy,” and the “wilderness of Kadesh” continue the image of the strength of the storm.

The setting for the storm is a giant cedar forest, whose overarching branches assume the contours of a vaulted temple. Through this lofty shrine the booming voice of God comes pounding and roaring with terrifying majesty, accompanied by the whirling of wind and swishing of rain, while flashing bolts of lightning shatters the trunks of towering trees and they come crashing down to the forest floor.

This is a psalm to be prayed out loud, letting the rumbling words reach into our lives.

Think of the Voice telling Jesus at His baptism, “You are my Beloved Son with Whom I am well pleased.”  Think of the silence at the cross when the plaintive shout of Jesus is met by nothing.

The psalm, for all its shattering noise ends in a calm voice of prayer, “Oh save your people and bless your heritage!  Be their shepherd and carry them forever.”


Lord our king, your voice sounds over the waters as you reign above the flood.  Help us, who are born again by water and the Holy Spirit to praise your wonderful deeds in your holy temple – even Jesus Christ our Lord, in his name together with Father and the Holy Spirit we pray.


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