It is impossible to read this Psalm in the light of our daily news without being deeply moved. I know how, in my own tradition there are those who use the imagery of the Bible to justify all manner of awful things in the name of God. So I find myself baulking at the imagery of the destruction of Lebanon by the voice of the Lord because I think I know how it could be used maliciously.
“The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful.
The voice of the Lord is majestic.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
The Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning.”
Today there are those who, in deliberate defiance of God, or believing they act in his name, have unleashed a storm of war over the same territory as the Psalm. Not this time though thunder, lightning and wind but the squeal of ketusha rockets and roar of helicopter gunships.
It is difficult surrounded by the imagery of war to imagine a God who blesses believers with strength and peace. Yet I believe in a God who sits enthroned over the forces of chaos and destruction. It’s just hard at the moment. And hard to preach his Word in the face of such violence.
“The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord is enthroned as King forever.
The Lord gives strength to his people;
The Lord blesses his people with peace.”
Lord I believe, help me in my unbelief. And for those whose experience of violence in these places is so much more direct than mine, may they know peace. Soon, dear God, soon.