SCRIPTURE: Psalm 29
The Voice of God in a Great Storm
A Psalm of David.
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!
Mark Miller-McLemore offers his personal take on this Scripture passage when he writes “We likely have no final or even satisfying answer to the big questions or to the personal ones. There is a complex relationship between created and Creator around benevolence and evil that has never been settled, within the canon (Job) or outside (Voltaire’s Candide, among many). The NRSV concludes this psalm with a hopeful petition in verse 11: ‘May the LORD bless his people with peace.’ Other translations (KJV, NIV) conclude the psalm on a more assertive note and offer the assurance, ‘The LORD will bless (or ‘blesses’) his people with peace.’ This is the reading I prefer, for it offers within the text itself a sense that, despite the ambiguity, God stands with God’s people, even in time of trial. This is a psalm to be read aloud and treasured, as it pronounces God’s power, as it raises hard questions, and as it assures us of God’s grace, strength, and peace.”
There are many different translations of the Bible from the King James Version to the New International Version to the New Revised Standard Version and so on. I have always found it interesting where the various translations differ on certain words or phrases and how those differences can drastically change the tone, intention, and other facets of the passages. Some differences are minor, or seem minor, while others seem much more drastic. Miller-McLemore’s observation may seem like a minor difference amongst the translations, but how he interprets the difference shows a profound message in our relationship with God.
How have you experienced the blessing of God’s peace in the last week? How have you seen the blessings of God’s peace in the lives of others in the last week?
Even in the midst of our questions and our doubts, the strength of your love, O God, surrounds us and provides us with peace. Help us to be people and places of peace for others. Amen.