1 Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. 2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name; worship the Lord in holy splendor.
3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over mighty waters. 4 The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon. 6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire. 8 The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl, and strips the forest bare; and in his temple all say, “Glory!”
10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king forever. 11 May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!
The voice of God speaks.
There is power in the voice of God. There is power in the Word of God.
The psalmist captures the power of God’s voice that can break the mighty cedars and shake the wilderness.
There is power in the voice of God.
You and I know that, for there are memories we carry for a lifetime (I am making an assumption here, because know this is true for me, and imagine it is also that same for you).
What voices have had power in your life?
Whose voice do you remember that first gave you a word of encouragement?
Whose voice is one that tore you down, and decades later, you still can hear that voice?
Sarah and Paul were children in my first congregation. They were two of three children. Their brother, Scott, had died of smoke inhalation. The smoke came from a fire Paul started in the family’s house. Paul had found his mother’s cigarette lighter, and lit the couch on fire.
Everyone got out, but Scott died a few days after the fire. He was only 4 years old. The baby of the family.
Sarah and Paul were 8 and 6 at the time. Their grandmother helped out where she could, but the family was broken. Broken with no home to live in, so they lived with grandma. Saddened and depressed, they had a hard time keeping it together.
Grandma wanted to do what she could. She knew that the kids needed a different environment. So the summer after the fire (which happened in January that year), she signed them up for camp at Lutheran Memorial Camp in central Ohio. She was concerned about what they might experience. She let the camp staff know about the accident, and told them that camp fires might be difficult for the kids. The staff assured grandma and the parents they would keep a close eye on the kids, mindful of what had happened.
I was present when Sarah and Paul were dropped off for the week at camp. I saw the hesitation in their eyes, and the eyes of their parents and grandmother too. After a few tears the adults left and the kids started the week at camp. I was dropping off my daughter that week too.
I attended the closing ceremony for the week when families gathered to pick up their kids and hear their songs and share a meal. I remember at that ceremony, when Paul saw me, his pastor, he ran over to me and said hi. He started to tell me about his week at camp, and how much fun he had.
Then Paul pointed to his counselor, Steve. Paul told me that Steve was the best counselor at camp.
Paul looked at me and said, “Pastor, do you know what Steve told me? Steve told me that I am special.” The smile on Paul’s face and the glimmer in his eye were powerful.
For the previous six months, Paul had heard many other voices.
At camp, through a messenger of God named Steve, Paul heard another voice.
The psalmist writes “May the Lord bless his people with peace.”
Through a counselor with Steve, the Lord did just that.
What a powerful voice.
Let us pray: Thank you for those who speak powerful words of peace, love and hope. Help us to do the same when we open our mouths. We pray this in Jesus name, Amen.