Sermon Overview & Prayer: "Theology From A Thunderstorm"

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Psalm 29 – PRAYER POINTS
Theology From A Thunderstorm by CJ Mahaney
These written prayers are intended to fuel your meditation on this passage and your enjoyment of God in prayer.

Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness. The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over many waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty. The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king forever. May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace! (Psalm 29:1-4, 10-11)

“One of the greatest tragedies of the fall is that we get tired of familiar glories.” John Piper (quoting Clyde Kirby)

PRAYER: Father, please help me to still my soul, fix my eyes, and open my ears to take in the wonder and glory of the innumerable ways you reveal yourself in the all-too-familiar world around us...ways that invite us to know you more deeply and worship you more passionately.

The God-centered nature and content of this psalm is present and pronounced through throughout this psalm.

PRAYER: Lord, whether you are revealing yourself explicitly or implicitly in your Word, help me to hear your voice and behold your glory...especially as you are recounting your wondrous deeds of deliverance.

“The Bible uses glory with reference to God in a double connection. On the one hand, it speaks of the glory that belongs to God-the divine splendor and majesty attached to all God’s revelations of himself. On the other hand, it speaks of the glory that is given to God-the honor and blessing, praise and worship that God has a right to receive, the only fit response to his holy presence.” (J.I. Packer)

PRAYER: Lord God, in view of your awesome majesty, beauty, holiness, and glory, help me to live a life that reflects who you are. Help me to live a life that displays what you’ve wondrously done in the gospel. And as a result, may my life give you the praise and glory, of which you alone are worthy.

“It is best simply to let the wonder and awesomeness of this psalm sweep and swirl around us until we are so possessed in spirit by the majesty of the Lord that we too cry Glory (v 9)…To many, a storm is a storm, but to those to whom the Lord has revealed himself, it is a display of one aspect of his glory.” (J.I. Packer)  For the theologically informed Christian, no storm is simply a storm. Instead, we are to join the heavenly assembly and say “Glory!”

PRAYER: Father in heaven, when I next encounter a thunderstorm, open my heart to the display of your glory that is before me...unsurpassed brilliance, unlimited and indomitable power, a sudden and sovereign manifestation that you are enthroned in the heavens and rule over all. May such a display fill my heart with the assurance that you reign over all of heaven and earth, and before whom every knee will one day bow.

Storms are revelations of the power and glory of God. And they are a warning to all who oppose Him of the coming judgment that no one can avoid and a most gracious invitation to sinners like you and me to turn from our sin and trust in Christ for the forgiveness of sin.

PRAYER: Holy Spirit, please use these displays of God’s glory to reveal to unbelievers, and in particular to those dear to my heart, the reality of a holy God to whom they will one day give an account. Prompt me, when such opportunities arise, to declare that the heavens, and all creation declare the glory of God. And please open a door to introduce the gospel, as the magnificent gift that brings us before God without fear of his wrath.

Each storm we observe, and experience, is also a reminder of God’s voice, power, judgment, salvation and glory in “the flood.” And each storm reminds us and points us to the final storm of God’s judgment against sin that will take place at the end of the age and the gracious salvation God provides for those who trust in Christ and his death on the cross to rescue them from God’s wrath.

PRAYER: Again, O Lord, may such demonstrations of your awesome power and glory inspire in me a life of humble faith, faithfulness, and worship. And may they likewise compel from me a compassionate appeal to others to repent and believe.

And we behold the greatest manifestation of the glory of God on a hill called Calvary, in the death of Jesus Christ as our substitute, for our sin, rescuing us from the storm of God’s righteous wrath. Regardless of your present storm, He sits enthroned above it, He is sovereign over it, and He will give you the strength necessary to persevere in it.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit, when life’s storms come my way, please take me to Calvary to see your merciful deliverance from my greatest and most dreadful crisis. And please use such storms and the wonder of your creation, to further remind me that you are all-powerful, ever-present, and supremely ruling and reigning over all.

OVERVIEW OF THE SERMON:
David draws the reader’s attention to the thunderstorm as an invitation to witness God’s awesome glory and is also a gift through which God reveals himself to us. This psalm is forthright in its God-centered nature by repetitively: using God’s personal name, referencing the voice of the Lord, and ascribing glory to the Lord. David calls on the angels to assign to the Lord the glory of who he is and what he has done. He describes the power of a thunderstorm’s purpose in revealing his glorious power. Those who are Christ’s see the storm and cry “holy,” but for those who oppose him, the storm is a warning and invitation to turn from their sins.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. How does the awesomeness of this psalm cause you to pause and consider the glory of the Lord?
  2. Willem VanGemeren exposits, “The subject of the psalm is the demonstration of God’s glory in nature, but . . . it gives a sense of tranquility and awe. . . There is quietness in the storm for those who belong to the people of God.” What are some ways to cultivate quietness in the midst of the storm?
  3. The Lord gives his people strength and peace in the storm (verse 11). What are some ways you see God’s sovereignty and comfort in the storm you’re going through now or have seen in past storms?
  4. C.J. reminded us that God delights in revealing his glory to the most unlikely of sinners. How might the truths in this passage inform how you counsel an unbelieving friend going through a storm?