Psalm 29: The Third Voice

We live in a world where the din of a thousand voices clamor for time competing to be heard. We hear them on the radio, in podcasts, and on the street; we read them in the newspaper, magazines, and the internet; at times we even cast our own voice into the mix, hoping, just like everyone else, that we might be heard thus validating our message and often times, our very existence.

We stand in the midst of this cacophony of voices struggling to know which one is actually worth hearing, if any. Sometimes we try listening to every voice, but our senses quickly become overloaded producing anxiety, frustration, and anger. Most of the time we partition the voices into two categories: those worth hearing and those worth ignoring.

The voice we deem worth hearing, if we are honest with ourselves, are those voices fitting our ideas about the world. These are the voices with which we most often agree and the ones we will defend even when they say radical things we don’t like. We buy books authored by these voices; we subscribe to magazines edited by these voices; we read the news and listen to podcasts from these voices; and we often choose to spend time only with others who, like us, love these voices.

The second sort of voices are the ones to which we don’t want to listen. These voices do not fit our own ideas about the world. We do not purchase their books, we do not read their magazines, we do not listen to their podcasts, and we do not spend time with others who love these voices. In fact, we often gather together with those who love the voices we love for the purpose of actively bashing those voices we do not deem worthy of our time.

True, there times when we might “cross the tracks” to listen to the other voices, but at the end of the day we return home, pull the blanket of comfort over our ears, and fall contentedly asleep. There may be times when the other voices anger us so much that we seek ways to diminish or silence them, but in the end, we find it far easier to dismiss them as being irrational or misguided than to consider they might actually have something to say that is worth hearing.

But are there only two types of voices? What if there was a third voice? What if, in the pursuit of our own self-interest and the desire to silence the dissenting voices, there was a third voice we had ignored? What if we had become so insensitive to this still small voice that we even thought it didn’t exist? What would we do then? Would it be possible for us to open our ears hear that voice again? And if we did hear it, would we judge that voice against our own or would we judge our voice against it? Would we discard it as another voice we didn’t like, or would we accept the voice as long as it confirmed our own biases?

It might be obvious I think there is a third voice, or rather, a first voice. It is a holy voice of glory and strength thundering over the waters at the moment of creation bringing us into existence. It is the voice coming from on high that can, with a word, decimate all of nature and shake every place where humanity lives. It is a voice that devalues the wealth of nations, lays bare the palaces of power, and sits in judgment on humanity as it did in the time of Noah and will do at the final judgment. It is the voice of the eternal king bringing strength, peace, and blessings forever. It is the voice David speaks of in Psalm 29: the very voice of God.

Yet some of us, (maybe all of us, it’s hard to tell), have chosen to heed created voices instead of the creator’s voice. We daily seek for wisdom from those who have a bias to push, who fade over time, and who change their message when it suits their own purposes ignoring everything else. We have made our “itching ears” the standard by which all voices are judged and thus have ignored the third voice. But in doing so, we miss the one voice which is the standard for judging all other voices.

I find it interesting that Psalm 29, a Psalm praising the voice of God from creation through the flood and the establishment of Israel, would follow Psalm 28, a Psalm begging for God’s wisdom and justice. It seems as if these Psalms are ordered this way because God wants us to know that wisdom, mercy, and justice come only from the voice of God enthroned in heaven above all of creation, not from someone living within time and space. If this is so, I am left to wonder one thing: are we willing to listen the voice enthroned above the earth and no other?

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