The Greatness of the Lord
On March 23, 1743, when "The Messiah" was first performed in
London, the king was present in the great audience. When the
majesty of the Lord was proclaimed by the words of the Hallelujah
Chorus, "For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth", everyone was so
deeply moved that they rose as one to their feet--including the
king -- to show their respect and to worship the Sovereign of the
Universe. That began the tradition of standing throughout the
Countries like older England that have an impressive tradition
of royalty and a reigning king that is accorded the utmost respect
and allegiance have a better understanding of majesty than we do
today in the United States. Our leaders are subjected to intense
scrutiny and often harsh criticism and unjustified attacks. One
doesn't get the sense of majesty and respect in the tone of a Sam
Donaldson or a Dan Rather as they interact with our leaders.
Instead our leaders are the subject of laughter and ridicule as our
comedians make a living off of their perceived weaknesses and
Our view of God has suffered from our failure to capture a
sense of His Majesty. The God of contempory evangelicalism is a
very personal God--someone with whom we can enjoy intimate
fellowship. He is our best friend and the one to whom we can bring
all of our troubles. We have a great high priest who became flesh
and blood so that He can be a perfect mediator between God and man.
But in stressing our closeness to God we have lost sight of His
majesty -- the great gulf that exists between God and us because of
His greatness. He is not like us -- God is not limited like we are
in His wisdom, in His presence, in His power, in His effectiveness.
He is eternal, infinite, almighty.
Our hymns reflect this emphasis on a personal God who is very
much like ourselves. The short, catchy, repetitive tones of our
popular choruses lack the organ pealing of the traditional hymns of
the faith that proclaim such a greater depth about the character of
our God. Our prayers reflect this emphasis--we are having a
conversation with a friend that is right here sitting beside us
rather than approaching the throne of grace of the God who sits on
High -- not that He is distant from us in space, but that He is far
above us in greatness and deserves our reverence and adoration. The
majesty of God should be directly tied to the fear of God.
Packer in Knowing God has a chapter on the Majesty of God that
is very helpful. He notes that our lack of the sense of the Majesty
of God is one key reason why our faith is so weak and our worship so
flabby. We don't have a God who is big enough to solve our
problems. We don't have a God who is worthy of time and effort
expended in prayer and praise and adoration. We have a God that we
have remade in our own image instead of the King of Kings and Lord
of Lords who reigns in Supremacy over the universe.
I. A Call to give to the Lord what is due His name
1. A declaration of the need to give v. 1
Give to the Lord: Doesn’t say what, but implies that much is due
O you mighty ones: I think it is the mighty ones of earth: No matter hw great and might a person may be, he owes something to the Lord
2. The reason something is due to His name: Who He is
LORD is used 18 times in this Psalm = Yahweh
Most significant name of God in the OT
1) He is self existent: He does not need anything outside of Himself
2) He is the eternal one: No beginning and no end
3) He is Israel’s redeemer and the one who is able to meet all our need
3. What is due to Him? Vv. 1-2
1) Glory and strength
Amounts to saying “Praise His name.”
How do we go about praising His name?
Testimony, song, prayer, life of praise-not negative
3) Worship in the beauty of holiness
Adoration, awe, etc.
II. The greatness or majesty of God seen in His voice vv. 3-9
The voice of God is referred to 7 times, each showing something of the greatness of God
1. The voice of the Lord is over the waters v. 3
What does this make you think of?
When I think of the waters I think of:
Vastness: Stand at ocean side and look out, seemingly no end
**God is greater than we can think or imagine
**God is over the waters: great power
Greater than man’s control: We put up flood walls, etc. as if we can control the waters, we see regularly that we cannot
*As much as it seems we are in control of the waters all we can really do is run when danger comes.
2. The voice of the Lord is powerful:
What are some examples of the power of God’s voice?
Creation is greatest
Jesus spoke: “Lazarus come forth.”
3. The voice of the Lord is full of majesty
How would you explain majesty?
Now how does that relate to God’s voice?
4. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars vv. 5-6
Now here is a word picture, it is easier for me to understand
The Lord’s voice takes the hardest, toughest trees that were known and breaks or splinters them.
We have seen the damage of great winds in the past couple of weeks, we have to realized that category 5 hurricane winds do not come close to the voice of God.
Makes them to skip like a calf or wild ox: In word pictures I can just pictures a young calf skipping effortlessly across an open field. God’s voice moves the great cedars effortlessly!!
5. The voice of the Lord divides the flames of the fire
Couldn’t help but think of the Lord speaking to Moses out of the burning bush.
As unstoppable as fire seems to be (i.e. forest fires, etc.) the Lord divides the flames with His voice. He controls it.
6. The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness v. 8
Thought of Psalms 46:1-7
Verse 6 speaks of His voice
7. The voice of the Lord controls nature v. 9
Makes the deer to give birth
Strips the forests bare.
Of course in all of this Psalm the Lord’s voice is compared to a thunder storm. Evidently in a thunder storm a shepherd would keep his flock together. A sheep on her own would give birth to her lamb evidently in fear.
A thunder storm also can strip the forest bare of leaves, etc.
It is the voice of God that controls nature. Great is the Lord.
III. The Application of these things vv. 10-11
This same Lord is in control, He is in charge!!
He will give strength to His people
He will give them peace
Pulpit Commentary has this to say:
1. He who by his might raises the storm will give strength to the weak and
persecuted. He sits above the storm, is Master and King over it; and he sits
above the storms of the mind and heart, to control them.
2. He who quells the storm is able to quell the tumults of the mind, and to
give us peace. Christ gave his peace to the disciples; and “the peace of God
which passeth all understanding is able to keep [guard] our hearts and
minds.” It is inward trust and rest, and not outward tranquility.