The voice of the Lord is upon the waters; the God of glory thunders; The Lord is over many waters.Psalm 29:3
Psalm 29:3 speaks of the Lord being over waters twice. We could dismiss that as a simple repetition, but if we look closely, David uses the term “many waters” the second time. Some translations say “vast” or “mighty” waters. That added word tells us that David is speaking of two different types of waters.
I thought that curious, so I decided to read it from the Orthodox Jewish Bible translation.
The voice of Hashem is upon the waters; El Hakavod thundered; Hashem is over the mayim rabbim.Psalm 29:3 OJB
Upon the Waters…
Genesis speaks that God was “hovering over the face of the waters.” (Gen. 1:2) Then He spoke and creation began. He gave it form, separating and dividing. God is in the very framework of creation. His will, His desires, they are all there.
He was “hovering over” the waters, the void, before He spoke. Why would He be hovering? Because God considers and He forms the way.
We know that wisdom was with God in the beginning, even before He formed the earth. (Prov. 8:22-23) We know that “by His wisdom, the Lord founded the earth.” (Prov. 3:19 amp) God looked on the void, He hovered over the waters, as He carefully considered creation as it would be then He spoke and His creation took form.
The first thing He did was to bring light into the darkness.
When God created us, He carefully considered the way for us, His plans for us, then He formed the way for us. The first thing He did, even before we were born, was to bring Light into our darkness. By this Light, all the rest of His way, carefully considered for us, is seen.
When God speaks and creates, it cannot be ignored. It reverberates and catches the attention of those listening and anticipating. Psalm 33:9 says:
For He spoke and it came into being; He commanded, and it came into existence.
Everything God speaks comes into being. Nothing can stop the Word of the Lord. It can be delayed as we see in Daniel (Dan. 10:2-14), but it cannot be stopped. So He carefully considers the plans He has for us, and the word of the Lord is right, and all His work is trustworthy (Psalm 33:4), then He speaks it over us. In that moment, it is knitted into the very fabric of our being. We then have the choice to help bring it into fruition or to pervert it. That choice is made when we either accept or reject the Light of God, Jesus Christ.
The second part of Psalm 29:3 speaks of the Lord being over “many waters” or the “mayim rabbim”. Interestingly enough, mayim rabbim is also the term used in chapter 8 of the Song of Songs (or Song of Solomon).
Many waters cannot quench love, Nor can rivers drown it.Song of Solomon 8:7
When I think of many or vast waters, I think of the ocean. When I think of the ocean, I think of Jesus and Peter walking on the water and the waves that distracted Peter (Matt. 14:25-33). We often liken those waves to the distractions or trials and troubles that try to come between us and Jesus. That’s exactly what mayim rabbim is. The things that can pull our focus away from God.
When we are in the midst of many waters, many trials or hurts, God is still there with us. Like Peter, we may lose focus on the One we are walking to, but Jesus is still right there with us. He is still in arms reach, waiting to pull us to Him.
He’s not just in them, but over them, which means that He can consider them and make a way for us to safety. At the end of Psalm 29, David says:
The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned, King forever. The Lord gives His people strength; the Lord blesses His people with peace.Psalm 29:1-11
He is above the flood of trouble. He is above the mayim rabbim, above the waves that try to drown us. He is even above the storm that causes the waves. God cannot be overcome by the things that threaten us. When we take refuge in Him, keeping our focus on Him, we receive His strength and peace. We are not undone by the many waters, but we are covered in His steadfast Love and Kindness.
Lord of the Water.
So why put these two together in one verse?
He carefully considers our ways. He speaks His plans over us, His will for us, even when we’re in the midst of a storm. His voice speaks the way to safety and refuge. He speaks and creates. He knows the way to reach us not just because He can see it and created it, but because He also created us.
He knows how the troubles, the trials, the hurts of life, all these things that come with living in a fallen world, will affect us. He also knows the exact way to counter those things for us individually. God doesn’t just look at creation as a whole, but He sees us each individually. He sees how we fit in the tapestry of the bigger picture. He can see the line of our thread as it weaves and changes. And as Paul says in Hebrews, “He always lives to intercede and intervene on their behalf [with God].” (Heb. 7:25) Jesus is always watching over us, praying for us, thinking of us, and intervening for us. His Spirit is always with us, always leading us, teaching us, revealing things unknown to us. (John 14:26)
He carefully considered and created us. He will not fail to save us. His love for us will not extinguish. We can still find Him, and in Him we will find refuge.
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