The two operative words in Psalm 29 are LORD (18 times) and voice (7 times). The whole of Psalm 29 praises the LORD. You might think that the other Psalms do as well. But every Psalm coming before this one contains a mixture of praise and something else (e.g., appeal and application). This Psalm is pure praise… pure worship.
Glory in the Highest
The phrase “mighty ones” (v. 1) refers to the angels of heaven. Why does David call upon the angels to praise God? Maybe he feels his praise and the praise of other men are inadequate. He needs the mighty ones to join with us.
When David was overwhelmed by the majesty of God revealed in a storm he witnessed, he felt inadequate to praise God properly.
Angels understand the importance of giving glory to God in our minds and worshiping Him with our wills in complete subjection to Him. What angels do naturally, we must learn to do as children. Maybe this is why we pray for our Father’s will to be done on earth even as it is done in Heaven.
Passing of the Storm
Verses 3 and 4 seem to detail a storm gathering power over the waters (perhaps the Mediterranean Sea) before coming ashore in full fury. The storm strikes as it moves down from Lebanon (v. 5). Damage is done to the great cedars, a symbol of strength in the ancient world. The mountains themselves tremble. All of this demands a response. The storm passes over the southern desert of Kadesh (where Israel was supposed to end her wilderness journey at the time of Moses, v. 8). What are the people doing who have witnessed the storm? They are in the temple praising God and shouting, “Glory!” Praise began in heaven (vv. 1-2) and is echoed by the people of God on earth. These are people who see His glory in the storm (v. 9).
The Voice of the LORD is an extremely important aspect to worship. The Bible begins with God speaking in Genesis. But He still speaks to me today. He speaks to me everywhere! He speaks In creation, in grace to draw sinners, in judgment to condemn the wicked, and in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ supremely!
Peace on Earth
The earth may shake, but God is steady, enthroned as King of the Universe forever (v. 10). God is in control and there is strength and peace for those who belong to Him (v. 11).
Notice the second half of verse 2 and verses 10-11:
“Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness …The LORD sat enthroned at the Flood, and the LORD sits as King forever. The LORD will give strength to His people; the LORD will bless His people with peace” (Psalm 29.2b, 10-11).
What is worship? John 4 records the talk that Jesus had with the Samaritan woman on that very subject. “Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:21–24)
Worship is a spiritual response to God as a result of understanding biblical truth about God. God is central. His character and works must be understood in order for us to respond with our worship. The reason this is so is because truth is rooted in God. The way that truth is revealed to us is in the pages of Scripture. Truth must be observed, understood, acknowledged, and applied. This is worship. I might learn about God through creation and conscience, but I only know Him clearly and confidently in the Bible.
“The Lord reigns; let the peoples tremble! He dwells between the cherubim; let the earth be moved! The Lord is great in Zion, and He is high above all the peoples. Let them praise Your great and awesome name— He is holy. The King’s strength also loves justice; You have established equity; You have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob. Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at His footstool— He is holy.” (Psalm 99:1–5)
What truth about God do we understand in Psalm 99? We understand that the LORD reigns, He is great and holy. He loves justice and executes both justice and righteousness. How does one respond with worship? He trembles, praises, and exalts the LORD.
“Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.” (Psalm 100)
What truth about God do we understand in Psalm 100? He made us. He is good and eternally merciful. His truth endures. How do we respond with worship? We express our joy, serve with gladness, sing, express thankfulness, and praise Him.
Worship is not what we say it is. Worship is a spiritual response to God as a result of understanding biblical truth about God.