God longs to offer us peace, but we must listen. Pause for a
moment and listen. What do you hear? If scripture included
sound effects, the voice of the Lord in this passage might sound
like a raging thunderstorm. Think of a time when you physically
found yourself amid a thundering storm. Now consider a time
in your life when circumstances led you through what felt like a
Just as in an outdoor storm, we often have no idea when the
thunderous times of life may come or when they will pass on
by. During the stormy seasons in my own life, I have difficulty
sensing what is taking place beyond the lightning and thunder.
In those times, I sometimes find it hard to hear what God desires
that I hear, even if it is loud and clear.
The majestic and powerful voice of God in this psalm calls
the people to praise. But how do we praise God in a storm of
breaking cedars and flames of fire? Amid the whirling oaks
and the bare forest, how do we offer our praise? The Common
English Bible translates verse 2 in this way, “Bow down to the
Lord in holy splendor!”
Many scriptures address the matter of prayer postures, here
by bowing down. Maybe you have bowed your head or brought
your hands to prayer posture at your heart. Today I invite you
to find a safe space and physically bow down to the Lord with
your entire body. Yes, bow on your knees in your living room,
office, bedroom, or even your closet floor. Offer your entire body
in prayer, worshiping your Creator. Then listen. God’s voice
offers strength and blessing. With each exhalation, let the noise
of the world fall away. Then you may join those in God’s temple
as they cry, “Glory!”
Lord, may I praise you with my whole being. In both quiet and stormy times, may I receive your sacred gifts of strength and peace. Amen.
Many will read the Isaiah text and identify the servant with Jesus, the one God enables to do the work of justice and transformation. The psalm announces the glory of God, a king powerful over the turbulence of nature and whose voice is a transcendent revelation. Matthew’s story of Jesus’ baptism joins the themes of servant and king. The baptism inaugurates Jesus’ ministry in which he proclaims God’s righteousness. Peter’s speech in Acts reminds us that Jesus’ baptism carries with it the promise of baptism in the Spirit.
• Read Isaiah 42:1-9. In this new year, what promises of God do you want to breathe in?
• Read Psalm 29. When the storms of life rage, how do you listen for God’s promptings?
• Read Acts 10:34-43. To whom do you need to proclaim the promises of Jesus Christ?
• Read Matthew 3:13-17. How does your understanding of your own baptism encourage you to live as an obedient child of God?
Respond by posting a prayer.