This Bible study on Psalms contains outlines, extensive cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, lessons to learn, and applications. Visit our inductive Bible studies for more studies on this and other books of the Bible.
Psalm 29 Verse by Verse Bible Study for Small Groups
I. Give glory to God (1-2)
II. God’s voice is powerful (3-9)
III. God is sovereign and on His throne (10-11)
I. Give glory to God (1-2)
- Who are the heavenly beings in verse 1?
- What does it mean to “ascribe to the Lord glory and strength?”
- How can you give God glory?
- What Biblical characters showed concern for the glory of God? How did this show itself in their actions and prayers?
- Can you share a testimony which gives glory to God for something He has done in your life?
2 Corinthians 3:18 – And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
Revelation 4:11 – Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.
1 Chronicles 29:11 – Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.
1. Give God glory – The main theme of this Psalm is to give glory to God. The word used in ESV is “ascribe.” This word means to “attribute something to” or “regard a quality as belonging to.” The Hebrew word is “yahab,” which means to “give” or “provide.” We are to recognize, affirm, and declare God’s glory in our mind, our words, and our actions. Ascribing glory to God is recognizing and proclaiming what he already has. Verse two says that we are to “ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name.”
In other words, He deserves it. It belongs to Him. It is His divine right. Declaring it is simply making sure that our perception of the truth of God’s glory matches the truth of the matter.
What are some ways that you can be more aware of God’s glory?
What are some ways that you can give glory to God?
Here are some ways to give God glory:
- In your prayers praise God. Meditate on Him and praise Him for His attributes.
- Sing songs of praise to God.
- Let your mouth be filled with words and testimonies of God’s goodness. Actively think of testimonies to share with others which will glorify God.
- When somebody praises you, deflect that praise to God. Give Him the credit for successes.
- Write down testimonies or answered prayer to read back over and share with others later when you may otherwise have forgotten it.
Application: God is glorious. This is a fact. His glory is always there. But we are not always equally aware of it. In order to properly give God glory we must regularly come before Him and meditate on Him. As we come to His throne room we can re-center our focus on Christ. When we do that, the luster of this world will fade in comparison to His wonder and majesty.
2. Heavenly beings – The term in Hebrew is “ben el,” or “sons of God.” Similar terms in the Old Testament are generally used for angels. Even the angels, who are themselves mighty, must give glory to God.
3. Worship the Lord – What is the difference between worshiping God and giving glory to God? In actuality, they are very similar. Worshiping God is in essence any act or word which is done intentionally to give God glory.
Isaiah 25:1 – Lord, you are my God;
I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
you have done wonderful things,
things planned long ago.
Here we see that worshiping God is an intentional act. We make up our minds to exalt God because of His character. We also see that worship is a response. It is a response to His faithfulness in our lives and to all the wonderful things He has done on our behalf.
Application: Do you spontaneously worship when God answers prayer or works providentially on your behalf? Worship should be a lifestyle. It is not primarily a twenty minute time on Sundays at church, but our proper and right response to God’s goodness.
Exodus 23:5 – Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you.
In this verse we see that God is pleased by our worship. When we respond to Him by worshiping He in turn pours out His blessings.
II. God’s voice is powerful (3-9)
- In what way is God’s voice over the waters?
- What Biblical accounts reflect the reality mentioned in verse 3?
- Are verses 3-8 literal or figurative?
- In what way does His voice flash “flames of fire?”
- How does his voice make the deer give birth?
- Do you think David actually heard this voice of the Lord? If not, then what is he describing?
- What does this passage teach us about God?
- How can we have the same awareness about God’s involvement in nature?
- Have you heard the voice of the Lord? How does He speak to you?
John 10:27 – My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
John 8:47 – Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.
Ezekiel 43:2 – And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east. And the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory.
Revelation 14:2 – And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps
Psalm 77:18 – The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lighted up the world; the earth trembled and shook.
Hebrews 1:3 – He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
1. The voice of the Lord – Throughout this passage we see David mention the “voice of the Lord” many times. In each essence it demonstrates His power and supremacy over the world around us. His sovereign authority over all aspects of creation are highlighted from the weather, sea, vegetation, elements, and animal kingdom.
There are times in history when God has used His audible voice to interact with nature. The most obvious examples are in Genesis 1. God spoke words of command and the unmade objects of creation responded to His call, coming forth in perfect goodness.
When God does speak His voice is often like thunder.
John 12:29 – When the crowd heard the voice, some thought it was thunder, while others declared an angel had spoken to him.
David saw evidence of God everywhere he looked. If our eyes have been opened by Him, we will see the same. But not everybody sees this. Many people see these signs of God’s presence and close their eyes, ears, and hearts, desperately repeating to themselves “it is only thunder.”
Much more often, we see Bible authors describing God in a figurative way as having a voice like thunder (Job 37:4-14, Psalm 18:13, Ezekiel 3:12-13, Job 40:9, Psalm 77:18). Thunder is one of the most powerful and awe inspiring events in nature. And it comes from the heavens. So it is understandable how the mighty claps of thunder came to be associated with God speaking from heaven.
David’s description in this passage is not necessarily literal. He likely had not heard God’s voice in these ways. Instead, it is a poetic description of the complete power and authority of God. God needs only to think it, to say it, and all creation has no choice but to obey. He is not distant. But He is close to us and He is close to this world which He has made. He is intimately aware and involved with everything that goes on from the storms in the heavens to a tree which crashes on an unexplored island.
He gives animals their instincts. Geese that are just born naturally follow whatever is moving. No one teaches them how. They are born with this ability. Or David may put it, “The voice of the Lord makes a goose follow its mother after birth.”
Baby turkeys can instinctively recognize the difference between the shadows of birds of prey and other animals without learning this behavior from their parents. Sea turtle babies naturally go straight for the ocean after birth. We could say it is the “voice of the Lord” calling them there.
Thus we see that David believed in intelligent design. He looked at nature and he saw evidence of the Creator. Nature itself demonstrated God’s power and design abilities. Nothing else could properly explain the the perfect order of weather, or the wondrous workings of the animal kingdom.
Application: What do you see when you look at the world around you? Do you see chance? Do you see chaos? Do you see wicked triumphing? There is evil. There is sadness. There is war. But look deeper. The evidence of God’s presence and design is all around you. His common grace extends to us all. This week spend some time thinking back on your own life. Where can you see God’s presence with you?
2. Verse 3 – God’s voice is over the waters. In general terms, it is clear David is praising God’s power as above nature. Water is one of the most powerful forces in the world. Tsunamis wipe away towns. Waves swamp ships. Flash floods sweep through destroying everything in their path. Great canyons are carved from stone by the relentless force of water over time.
When I was a teenager, my family lived near the ocean. I loved to swim. But on some occasions the waves were very powerful. There were times when it is was everything I could do to fight against the sheer force. At one point I went surfing (I wasn’t very good at it.) A wave would come and I would toss the surfboard over and then dive under or brace myself against its impact. As soon as I would get up, another would come. It was relentless.
But here David reminds that God has power over the waters. His name should be feared, not the thing that He has created.
The CEV says it this way, “The voice of the Lord echoes over the oceans.
The glorious Lord God thunders
above the roar of the raging sea.”
Application: Sometimes forces in life may feel overwhelming. Wave after wave of difficulty sweeps over you. Each time you get up, but feel more tired than before to face the next onslaught. During those times, remember that God is enthroned above all of these things. Seek refuge and strength in Him.
3. The voice of the Lord is powerful and majestic – We have already seen some aspects of the power of God’s voice. He brought creation into existence merely by speaking. But it is also majestic. His voice is lovely and sweet. Think of the most majestic thing you have ever seen in nature. What is it? When you saw it what did you want to do?
When you see great mountain ranges or a beautiful starry night or green meadows filled with flowers, you like stop what you are doing and gaze at it, wanting to take it in and never forget what it looks like. Many people go to great lengths to see things like that. Divers have explored under the Antarctica ice and seen the wonders there. Spelunkers have journeyed in caves to behold wonders deep inside the earth. God’s voice should be like that to us. It is worth pursuing. When we hear it, we should drop everything else and give it our full attention. It should be something sweet and enjoyable to us.
Psalm 19:10 – They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb.
God’s powerful words demand our respect. His majestic words demand our adoration.
4. Verse 5 – Cedars were considered to be strong and powerful trees, especially those in Lebanon. Thus this verse denotes God’s power over nature. You can imagine a person struggling for hours or days to chop down one tree. To a man, these trees could be intimidating, an obstacle not easily removed. To God, they are nothing. He can snap them like a twig.
It takes an amazing amount of force to do that. I lived through five hurricanes in Wilmington, North Carolina and saw many downed trees. Most of those were uprooted. It was very are to see any snapped in half. The ones that were snapped were the weakest.
5. Verse 6 – Siron is a mountain. What David is saying is that even the land itself jumps and skips to God’s voice. This imagery is figurative, but also reminds us of the power released in great earthquakes.
6. Verses 7-8 – In Leviticus 10:1-2, God actually sent real fire out from His presence to consume two of Aaron’s sons who had sinned. He also rained fire and brimstone down on Sodom and Gomorrah, wiping them out.
When Jesus spoke, He demonstrated this divine power.
Matthew 7:29 – For He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes and pharisees.
7. Verse 9 – After many examples showing God’s amazing force and power, David turns to the Lord’s tender side. He is portrayed as being with a mother dear and guiding the birth of the next generation. We are reminded that God is intimately aware of and ruling over every single aspect of this universe from the voyages of the stars in the nights sky down to the tiniest detail in the smallest ecosystem.
A father speaks in different voices to his children. What different voices does a parent need to master?
- The voice of authority – “Don’t touch that!”
- The voice of rebuke – “You need to apologize!”
- The voice of encouragement – “Don’t worry, you will get it next time!”
- The voice of comfort – “That looks like it really hurts. Come here and I will kiss it for you.”
There are many more. Different situations require different tones. Sometimes parents act as authorities and sometimes they act as friends. And I think that is what David is getting at here. God’s voice is not only like a great fire or a flood, it is also gentle and compassionate.
Isaiah 42:3 (Quoted about Jesus in Matthew 12:20) –
A bruised reed He will not break. And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice.
Jesus mastered the use of different voices. He sternly rebuked those who needed it (scribes and pharisees) and extended comfort to the afflicted (the woman who washed his feet with her hair.)
For more on God’s voice you can read and discuss His encounter with Elijah in 1 Kings 19:9-18.
Application: In His temple all cry, “glory.” This should be our response to the awesome privilege of hearing His voice. How can you become more tuned in to God’s voice in your life?
III. God is sovereign and on His throne (10-11)
- What does verse 10 teach us about God’s relationship to the world and catastrophes?
- What does a good king do for His people?
- How does knowing God is on His throne help in times of crisis?
- How can we raise our eyes above the flood and focus on God?
- Is there an area you need strength?
Isaiah 43:2 – When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
1 Peter 3:20 – Because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.
Revelation 12:15 – The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood.
1. The Lord is enthroned above it all – This verse is a great summary of the lessons we have learned in this chapter. God is on His throne. He is sovereign. He is in control. We don’t need to fear because we have a good king looking out for us.
Application: When you are facing the “floods” of this world remember this. Don’t look down. When Peter tried to walk on the water, he could do it as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus. But when he took his eyes off Jesus and focused on the stormy waters, he instantly sank. Are you facing a difficult time? Perhaps financial instability or health problems? Relationship issues? Take your eyes off of those things and fix them on Christ. He will guide you through.
2. May the Lord give strength to His people – When you realize that He is on the throne and when you come to Him for aid rather than focusing on the world, then he will give you strength. You will be able to face and have victory over any trials. You will not just be a victor, but an “overwhelming conqueror.” (Romans 8:37.)
Application: What do you need to apply in the coming week? Pick one thing from today’s discussion and write it down as your goal in the coming week. Make sure that it is specific and measurable.
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