Psalms 29:5 MEANING

Psalm 29:5
(5) The voice of the Lord breaketh.--Better more literally, The voice of Jehovah breaking the cedars, and Jehovah hath shivered the cedars of Lebanon. (The verb in the second clause is an intensive of that used in the first.) The range of Lebanon receives the first fury of the storm. Its cedars, mightiest and longest-lived of Eastern trees, crash down, broken by the violence of the wind. (For cedar, see 2 Samuel 7:2.) It has been objected that the thunder should not be made the agent in the destruction; but comp. Shakespeare--

"And thou, all-shaking thunder,

Smite flat the thick rotundity o' the world!

Crack Nature's moulds, all germens spill at once.

That make ingrateful man!"--King Lear, Acts 3, sc. 2.

Verse 5. - The voice of the Lord breaketh the cedars. At length down swoops the hurricane - wind and rain and forked flashes of lightning all blended together, and violently tearing through the forest. The tall cedars - the pride and glory of Syria and Palestine - are snapped like reeds, and fall in a tangled mass. The Lord, who erstwhile "planted them" (Psalm cir. 16), now breaketh the cedars of Lebanon - breaketh and destroyeth them in his fury. Such storms, though rare in Palestine and Syria, are sometimes witnessed; and descriptions have been given by travellers which bear out this one of David (comp. Wilson, 'Travels,' p. 146; Cunningham Geikie, vol. 2. pp. 57, 335; Tristram, 'Land. of Israel,' pp. 40, 194, 227, etc.).

29:1-11 Exhortation to give glory to God. - The mighty and honourable of the earth are especially bound to honour and worship him; but, alas, few attempt to worship him in the beauty of holiness. When we come before him as the Redeemer of sinners, in repentance faith, and love, he will accept our defective services, pardon the sin that cleaves to them, and approve of that measure of holiness which the Holy Spirit enables us to exercise. We have here the nature of religious worship; it is giving to the Lord the glory due to his name. We must be holy in all our religious services, devoted to God, and to his will and glory. There is a beauty in holiness, and that puts beauty upon all acts of worship. The psalmist here sets forth God's dominion in the kingdom of nature. In the thunder, and lightning, and storm, we may see and hear his glory. Let our hearts be thereby filled with great, and high, and honourable thoughts of God, in the holy adoring of whom, the power of godliness so much consists. O Lord our God, thou art very great! The power of the lightning equals the terror of the thunder. The fear caused by these effects of the Divine power, should remind us of the mighty power of God, of man's weakness, and of the defenceless and desperate condition of the wicked in the day of judgment. But the effects of the Divine word upon the souls of men, under the power of the Holy Spirit, are far greater than those of thunder storms in the nature world. Thereby the stoutest are made to tremble, the proudest are cast down, the secrets of the heart are brought to light, sinners are converted, the savage, sensual, and unclean, become harmless, gentle, and pure. If we have heard God's voice, and have fled for refuge to the hope set before us, let us remember that children need not fear their Father's voice, when he speaks in anger to his enemies. While those tremble who are without shelter, let those who abide in his appointed refuge bless him for their security, looking forward to the day of judgment without dismay, safe as Noah in the ark.The voice of the Lord breaketh the cedars,.... Such an effect thunder has upon the tallest, strongest, and largest trees, as to break them into shivers;

yea, the Lord breaketh the cedars of Lebanon; a mountain in the north part of the land of Judea, so called from its whiteness, both by reason of the snow with which some part of it is covered in summer, as Tacitus observes (b); and partly from the colour of the earth that has no snow on it, which looks as white as if it was covered with white tiles, as Maundrell (c) says; and where the goodliest cedars grow; and to which may be compared proud, haughty, lofty, and stouthearted sinners, who are broken, brought down, and laid low, by the voice of Christ in his Gospel, his power attending it. The Targum renders it, "the Word of the Lord".

(b) Hist. l. 5. c. 6. (c) Travels, p. 176.

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