Summary: In Psalms 29 & 30 23 see the awesome character and power of God, but in Psalm 30 we see David stuck in a trial. If God is so powerful how come He lets David undergo a life-threatening illness? In this we see how God works in difficulties in our lives as w
Psalm 29 is interesting to me as for one of the first times in the book of Psalms we find David not asking God for anything. There is no crisis here, no enemy that is trying to destroy David or the nation Israel. This is a psalm of pure praise and adoration for the Most High God. It reminds us that there is a God in heaven enthroned over creation who is also enthroned over the lives of those that trust in Him. One interesting note on this psalm is that it may be a slam on the Canaanites. The storm happens in Canaanite territory to the north. Their god was Ba’al, the storm God. But here, the storm is ascribed to Yahweh, not Ba’al.
1 – 2
The Holman actually uses two different words at the beginning of this psalm, depending on which version you use. My Homan Study Bible says “ascribe” but others use the word “give.” But the idea is the same: God is worthy of praise. “Heavenly beings” can mean angels—it’s most likely reference. So David is encouraging angels to worship God for His “glory” (importance) and “strength” (power). “Splendor” is the idea of clothing—so God is clothed with His wonderful character of holiness.
After David’s call to worship he describes how God shows His power—in the form of a mighty thunderstorm.
3 – 9
The “voice” here would be the mighty clapping of thunder as David sees a thunderstorm roll over Lebanon and Syria. The idea of “breaking” the cedars is lightning and high winds blowing over the forests of Lebanon. We have seen the effects of strong winds around here. Recently there was a storm that had such strong winds that it blew down whole sections of forest. “Sirion” in verse 6 is Mt Hermon, a high mountain in northern Israel.
We see the pictures of fire and shaking. If you have ever experienced an extreme thunderstorm you know what that’s like—the land seems to shake as the thunder rolls through.
“Kadesh” in verse 8 likely refers to Kadesh on the Orontes River north of Israel. So David is watching the storm die out over to the east. The power of the storm is so severe that it even causes deer to give birth prematurely!
All this should cause the beings in God’s heavenly temple to cry “glory!” The word means literally “to be heavy.” The idea is that if you want to know what real reality is, look at God. There is a strength and might found nowhere else.
10 – 11
David first uses the example of God reigning over creation at the Noahic flood in (Genesis 6 – 8). Then he declares God as King of all things for all time forever.
But I love how he ends the psalm. God is powerful and strong and important, but He uses that power and glory to give strength to us who love Him, and He blesses us with peace. Just as He can cause a severe thunderstorm to die out he can cause anxiety to die out in our lives if we, like the angels, come into His presence and worship and adore Him.
Psalm 30 feels like one of those times when you’ve gone through a very difficult trial and you’ve come out on the other side. If you have ever faced the possibility of a difficult diagnosis and then been told that everything is all right—you have an idea of the kind of relief David feels here. If you’ve ever driven through a blizzard and arrived safely at your destination, or worked through a serious break in a relationship—you know how much praise fills your heart for God’s grace.
1 – 3
It seems as if David had a near fatal illness, cried out to God for healing and got it. God spared David so he didn’t die and go “down to the Pit” which was their understanding of the place of the dead, also called Sheol.
4 – 5
In verses four and five David is saying that though his suffering was intense, it was brief compared to the healing (“favor”) that God brought to him. This is such a good lesson for us. In the night, in the darkness, in the time of trouble—it seems like it will never end. Weeping comes to stay and you think it will never leave you, but as far as God is concerned, it is a one-night lodger in your life.
Paul said: “(2 Corinthians 4:17-18) For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. 18 So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen; for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Through temporary suffering, God is working something eternal, His character.