O God, your march of triumph is seen by all,
the procession of God, my king, into his sanctuary.
The singers are in front, the musicians are behind,
in between are the young women beating the tambourines.
“Praise God in the meeting of his people;
praise the Lord, all you descendants of Jacob!”
First comes Benjamin, the smallest tribe,
then the leaders of Judah with their group,
followed by the leaders of Zebulun and Naphtali.
Show your power, O God,
the power you have used on our behalf
from your Temple in Jerusalem,
where kings bring gifts to you.
Rebuke Egypt, that wild animal in the reeds;
rebuke the nations, that herd of bulls with their calves,
until they all bow down and offer you their silver.
Scatter those people who love to make war!
Ambassadors will come from Egypt;
the Ethiopians will raise their hands in prayer to God.
Sing to God, kingdoms of the world,
sing praise to the Lord,
to him who rides in the sky,
the ancient sky.
Listen to him shout with a mighty roar.
Proclaim God’s power;
his majesty is over Israel,
his might is in the skies.
How awesome is God as he comes from his sanctuary—
the God of Israel!
He gives strength and power to his people.
Praise God! (Good News Translation)
The biblical psalms are uniform in praising God for God’s inherent character and for how that character acts in the world.
Since God is an infinitely immense Being, our human language cannot begin to adequately contain or describe such divinity. Yet, words are what we have for trying to communicate the attributes of such an incredible and awesome God.
This is why the use of metaphors is significant. Whenever we can picture something we are familiar with, then imaginatively place God alongside it, it helps give us at least a rudimentary idea and feeling of who this God is, what this God is all about.
To gain a glimpse of God’s majesty and sovereignty over the universe, we are invited to see with our spiritual eyes, God riding the sky; to hear with our spiritual ears the thunderous shout which roars and reverberates throughout the cosmos.
We are also invited to respond to what we see and hear by using our power of words and speech to proclaim God’s power. And that power is well beyond our ability to describe. With all of the powerful forces in this world, they are but a mere puff of breath to the God who reigns supreme over all powers, both in heaven and on earth. God’s power is a thunderous beauty. God’s splendor and strength rise larger than thunderheads.
Having grown up in Midwest America, I’ve seen my share of large thunderheads (massive cumulus clouds which form just before a storm), thunderstorms replete with bright lightning and noise so awesome it shakes the farmhouse, and tornados with such force that they rip the roof off a barn as if it were a Lego building.
And God is bigger than that – stronger, louder, and brighter.
The appropriate response to such a God is to make music for the one who strides the ancient skies in a heavenly chariot yet stoops to listen and care about puny humans.
The reasonable response to such a God is to listen to the divine voice thundering in the world and submit to the sound which seems like it might split the heavens open.
To gain a mere glimpse of God’s strength and power will inevitably result in a response of giving up our all to the Lord of the universe, everything we have, and all that we are.
To know, even a tiny smidgeon, of such a God will bring our own loud shouts of proclaiming God’s goodness, grace, and generosity to anyone who will listen to us.
To glimpse what the psalmist sees will consume us with awe, as we intuitively connect with the glory which is constantly streaming from heaven.
God shares divine strength with people. God doesn’t have to do that. The Lord has no obligation to do so. Yet, it happens, despite our fickle praise and inconsistent devotion.
So, let’s give our highest praise to the God of the psalms. Let’s imbibe of God’s thunderous presence among us.
Then, we will likely be happier than a gopher in soft dirt; or a butcher’s dog; or a unicorn eating cake on a rainbow.
Eternal Trinity – blessed Father, Son, and Spirit – the awesome God whom I serve: The more I enter you, the more I discover, and the more I discover, the more I seek you. A massive thunderhead is but a small cloud next to you, the Godhead, the incredible Three-in-One.
Through you, almighty Lord, I shall come to know myself and my world. And that knowledge is a mighty love for humanity which spans longer and higher than the universe itself. May the love, unity, harmony, community, goodness, and power which is always present within yourself, mighty God, be present with me, your servant.
For just a molecule of You is enough to power me for eternity. Amen.
*Above photo by Moritz Bu00f6ing on Pexels.com