"The voice of the Lord is over the waters; The God of glory thunders! The Lord is over many waters."
“Besides this earth, and besides the race of men, there is an invisible world and a kingdom of spirits: that world is around us.” Charlotte Bronte penned these words in her classic novel, Jane Eyre. Miss Bronte, it seems, being the daughter of a Clergyman, understood the world from a biblical perspective. This world is full of the seen and the unseen realms. So often we go about our day without realizing all that is hidden from our eyes and yet, the bible clearly unfolds this truth to us.
For instance, Daniel chapter 10 gives us unique insight into what is sometimes happening in the hidden spirit realm when God’s people pray. From Daniel’s perspective, he is fasting and praying for 21 days, going about his daily life. There is nothing glamorous about doing a 21 day fast and going to your job each day. Ask any person who has taken on such a task. But when Gabriel breaks into the earthly realm and surprises Daniel about half-to-death, the angel explains to him that, unbeknownst to Daniel, there was demonic warfare happening over his head (Daniel 10:12-14). Another example is found in Acts 7 when Stephen is being stoned to death. Here we learn that when God’s people stand in righteousness to the point of death, all of heaven is waiting on their arrival, as the Son of Man himself stands to welcome us home. From Elisha’s servant seeing the chariots of fire, to Jesus describing the 10,000 angels who were standing on guard and waiting for his word, the bible clearly describe to us the seen and the unseen realms colliding.
When we begin to see the scriptures from this dual-dimension reality, the not so obvious passages take on a different life. Although the casual reader may miss it, Psalm 29 is a description of what is happening in the spirit realm when God’s people worship. As I have shared in my previous posts, verses 1-2 give God’s people the command on how to worship. The verses that follow begin to unfold to us the effects of that kind of worship. It’s a fascinating passage when we understand the unseen supernatural activity that takes place whenever we worship our God!
Verse 3a – The voice of the Lord is over the waters
Jesus tells us that the Spirit within us is like a well and a spring of living waters (John 4:14, 7:37-39). Within each believer is hidden this Source of Life. Years ago, I saw a vision in prayer of believers all over the globe worshipping God. As their hands were lifted in surrender, I could see in their bellies, tiny pools of water beginning to grow and spread, until it filled their entire being. Although a mystery to us, this is reality. This well within us is the place of communion with God. There, on the inside of our spirits, we find that Living Water waits for us. Whenever we quickly pause and yield to God, it’s like we are dipping our feet into the cool refreshment of His presence and cupping our hands for a sip. When we pause a little longer, it’s like we are jumping right in and drinking deeply!
When we do what verses 1 & 2 have commanded – give unto the Lord the glory due his name, worshipping Him in the beauty of holiness, pouring out all our strength to give him honor – we will find that we have entered into that place of communion hidden within us. There, as we tune to the Living Water within, our ears become open to His voice. Genesis tells us that God’s voice was heard in the garden in the cool of the day. Beloved, we are that garden enclosed. There, we will hear him if we only take the time to listen. Like the woman who came to draw water in the heat of the day (John 4), Jesus waits by the well to commune with us.
Let me reiterate: when we give unto the Lord the glory and honor due His name, and worship Him with all of our strength, we will find Him speaking over the waters of our spirit. Here, as we pour out all of our love, we find that worship is not a one-sided conversation but that it actually makes way for us to enter into a dialogue with the Most High God. We will hear the voice of the Lord speaking over these waters. Sometimes that voice comes in quiet stillness (1 Kings 19:11-13); but usually God’s voice comes in quietness when we are soaking in the tranquility of His goodness – when we come to meditate and ponder His kindness, love, or peace. But when we make it our aim to worship the Lord in the prescribed way of Psalm 29, his voice doesn’t usually come as a gentle nudge. Instead, as we pour out all of our strength it and make it our goal to honor him with everything we have, the Lord’s voice thunders!
Verse 3b - “The God of glory thunders!”
When we worship, we must remember that we are dealing with an unseen realm. Remember Bronte’s quote: “there is an invisible world and a kingdom of spirits: that world is around us.” Remember Daniel’s encounter. Remember John the Revelator and all He saw! When you faithfully worship Him, you usually see nothing in this earthly realm: no wings of angels, no wind of God blowing (notice I said usually! Sometimes, his world DOES break into ours!). But whether we see something or now, we must believe that in the unseen realm, the God of glory is thundering over us! Dancing over us (Zeph.3:17)! Delighting over us (Ps. 37:4) when we worship! If I believe He is moved at the sound of my voice (Ps. 18:6), then my worship takes on a greater passion. If I believe that as I dance, God in turn dances, too, then my worship has a greater boldness. We must tap into the unseen realm around us and know that as I worship here on earth, myriads of angels are joining the song around His throne!
But let me add another dimension. I believe that Psalm 29 lets us in on a secret: sometimes there are times when we are seeking to hear God’s voice very clearly and we just can’t seem to hear Him. Well, according to this verse, if we will “pour out our strength to ascribe to Him the glory due his name,” it just might unlock our ears to hear Him thundering over us! There are moments when soaking in His presence is not the prescribed way to hear Him. Just think of Daniel from our previous example: would his results have been the same had he chosen to just soak in God’s goodness for a couple days? Or did the breakthrough actually require him to fast and pray earnestly with an intended goal? In God’s created order, you reap what you sow. So when we thunder over our God – letting our shout arise, letting our praise ring out, wasting our strength at His feet – then He in turn thunders over us. Beloved, if you are having a hard time hearing God’s voice, you may need to go worship like crazy for a while! The God of glory thunders over us often as we thunder over Him.
But this isn’t simply the unseen reality that we as individuals get to experience: it’s actually what is happening over the congregation of the saints! For verse 3 goes on to say:
Verse 3c - “The voice of the Lord is over many waters.”
Remember that vision I mentioned earlier – the one of believers all over the world worshipping? Well, I didn’t tell you the rest of what I saw. As these believers worshipped the Lord, their little pools grew and grew and filled their being. However, it didn’t stop there. As they pressed on in praise, the waters spilled out and became like a pool all around them. As each believer worshipped, the waters began to surround them, until I couldn’t tell where one person’s “pool” began and the other person’s ended. In that moment, the scripture came alive to me: “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” You and I are the ones who release His glory on earth! We are the ones who make this happen, Beloved!
When we come together as a congregation to worship the Lord, something fantastic is happening: we are bringing all of our bubbling wells together until every stream flows as one river. God doesn’t just want to speak to us as individuals – he wants to speak to us as one body. He has words to release, power to grant, gifts to restore when we choose to worship Him as one. There should be such an expectation when we gather in our houses of worship! We must awaken to the unseen reality that is all around us. When we come into our church on Sunday, we should come wondering, “What is heaven up to today? What will the Father thunder over us as His family?” The gifts of His Spirit will flow unhindered in a church that let’s their individual stream flow to those around them. Too many people come into a Sunday service with dams built up around the well of Living Water in them. It was never meant to stay there when you are with the Body! When we each come knowing that He speaks over the well inside of me –not just the pastor, not just the elder – but to me personally and that I have something to offer to the whole, then the voice of the Lord is heard over many waters. When I choose to pour out all glory, all honor, and all my strength in the presence of the saints I worship with, then the Lord thunders over us all – whether we hear it or not. However, we are more apt to hear Him when we do listen as one. This is his desire: not to just have individuals but a family listening in unity to His heart. He wants to speak over many waters.
Father, open our eyes to all that is happening when we worship you in spirit and truth! May we remember the unseen realm around us and within us as we enter into your presence. May we confidently believe that you are moving and speaking even when we cannot see or hear. Come to us, Holy Spirit, and speak over our waters. We say, "give us ears to hear and thunder away!"