1 Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.
3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord, over many waters.
4 The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf,
and Sirion like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
8 The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth
and strips the forests bare,
and in his temple all cry, “Glory!”
10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
11 May the Lord give strength to his people!
May the Lord bless his people with peace!
I have been blessed to worship in among many different communities. I have sat on a folding chair in a primitive hut in India on Easter morning. I have preached to a house church in Kyrgyzstan, I have worshipped with hundreds and even thousands of people at a time in beautiful cathedral-like churches. Sometimes I gather with a handful of folks, and we gamely sing a few hymns. Other times I am among a wonderful choir led by a beautiful organ and singing potent hymns. One of my more memorable experiences was singing songs of praise with a Nuer congregation. The Nuer people are from Sudan and usually sing accompanied only by a drum.
In this psalm today David notes another reality of my worship and yours. I have described the people I can see and hear, and the buildings I am in. But David starts off by noticing another set of participants in our worship. Who are these heavenly beings whom he urges to “ascribe to the Lord glory and strength?” I cannot see them, yet they are there.
Our world has trained us to trust our senses and to count as real only those things which we can perceive with those senses. But that has not been the case for most of human history and is in fact not the case for much of humanity today. David, whether he was chanting in a cave fleeing from king Saul, or whether he was in his palace attended by choirs understood that he was singing with heavenly beings. David goes on to ascribe some of this glory and strength to the Lord himself in this psalm. But when you sing or speak it, when you sing your hymns or confess your faith, know that you are never alone when you do that. You are part of a mighty host. John tells us that innumerable angels are around the throne of God singing praises to the Lamb (Rev. 5).