In Awe Of His Power

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This psalm proclaims with awe and wonder that God is Lord of Majesty, King of the world. It is a very moving poem of praise to God who alone possesses such might and majesty. It uses the metaphor of a mighty storm that sweeps in off of the sea, the Mediterranean, onto the coasts and rushes inland with unimaginable force. It ends with the prayer that the Lord might give his people strength and bless them with his peace.

It unfolds with a powerful, poetic, seven-fold repetition of the phrase, “The voice of the Lord…” beginning at verse 3 and ending with verse 9. This repetition mimics the crash and boom of thunder and lightning in this mighty storm that resounds over the mighty waters, that is full of power and majesty, that breaks the cedars of Lebanon into pieces, that makes Lebanon leap like a calf, and mount Sirion like a young wild ox. That voice strikes with flashes of lightning, shakes the desert, and twists the oaks, strips the forest bare. It makes all those who serve him cry out, “Glory,” in their wonder and astonishment.

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In this psalm of praise, David expresses his own wonder at the majesty and power of God who he recognizes is in all, and over all, of his creation. It is a prayer charged with wonder and awe. It is a prayer worthy of God. We, like David, are humbled by this majesty in many ways in our own lives. We are brought up speechless by the glory of a crimson sunrise or sunset, by the intense force of stormy waves battering the coastline, by the immense power of winds in hurricanes or tornados. We experience our smallness in the presence of a newborn baby. We are moved to humble joy when we recognize that we are loved by another and are overwhelmed by that force that is our love for another.

These things touch and move us very powerfully in our lives. But there is more. When we realize that we are loved by God; that he let go of his divinity to enter into his creation in his Son Jesus; that he did this to express his infinite love for us in the flesh, even unto death; that he rose again to make it possible for us to enter into his garden and dwell with him forever, we are stunned to the point which we can only express our awe with that same one word response we see David exclaiming in this psalm, “GLORY!” That word expresses our wonder, our awe, and our thanks all at once. It is all that we need to say. Indeed, it is all that we can find to say. He who is beyond our capacity to speak of completely, made himself present to us in the flesh. This is the One who willingly gives us strength and blesses us with peace. Glory! Glory! Glory! Amen.

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.