Today we spend a little time meditating on Psalm 29 which many scholars believe to be the oldest psalm we have. This belief comes from finding very similar songs written to Baal by the Canaanites, and it appears that the Canaanite text has been reclaimed and rightly reappropriated to honor Yahweh.
Baal was known as the god over storms and fertility. If anything grew it was because Baal provided the fertility. If rain came it was because Baal made it so, and his voice was heard in the thunder of the storm. There was a belief amongst the Canaanites that they could manipulate Baal to do what they wanted by worshipping at the right time and in certain ways. They believed they could do certain things to obligate Baal to give them what they asked for. (Sadly some who follow Christ believe this as well.)
Psalm 29, however, takes everything that the Canaanites believed and flips it on its head. It isn’t Baal who does anything! It is Yahweh, and Yahweh alone who controls everything in the universe, and we are reminded of his name 18 times in this psalm alone!
Everything that comes from powerful storms: floods, thunder, tremors, lightning, destruction in nature – all of it subject to Yahweh. Blessings, strength, peace? All from Yahweh! Baal has no place in the discussion because it is Yahweh who does all of these things.
Let’s take a moment and focus on how our world views these things. Where do storms come from? We could look at scientific answers, but the general person on the street would attribute it to “Mother Nature.” How do we get rain? Hope the patterns found in “Mother Nature” will bring it about.
Our society, in large part, has done what the Canaanites did in attributing the power evident in the universe to created things. Humans can control a lot of things (or at least we pretend we can.) We can control our schedules, what crops we grow, where we want to build roads, where we want to travel, etc. We have amazing control over our world, but we cannot control the weather. Truth be told we can’t even accurately predict it most of the time.
Psalm 29 reminds us that we are not in control. No matter how hard we try, to matter what spells or chants we recite, no matter how many prayers we pray; we are not in control. Yahweh alone is in control. The only one who can control the weather is the only one in control of everything else.
And what should the response of creation be?
Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings,Psalm 29:1-2 NIV
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.
May Yahweh give you strength and bless you with peace.