Monday, January 29, 2018

What is "the voice of the LORD" to you?

 "The erection of the Tabernacle and the Sacred vessels"
as in Exodus 40:17-19; from the 1728 Figures de la Bible*

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Exodus 35-40; Psalm 29

TO CHEW ON: "The voice of the LORD is powerful;
The voice of the LORD is full of majesty." Psalm 29:4

The phrase "The voice of the LORD" repeats seven times in this psalm. In this way David draws our attention to God's (Yahweh's) presence, especially in nature where God's voice is over the waters (recalling the scene of creation), breaks and splinters cedars, divides the flames, shakes the wilderness, and causes the deer to give birth. It truly is a powerful, majestic voice.

The Bible speaks of God's voice in other settings as well. God's voice:

  • Filled Adam and Eve with terror after they had sinned - Genesis 3:8.
  • Gave Moses instructions for the building of the tabernacle, including who he was to enlist to make these things (Exodus 25-31). Though these Exodus passages don’t describe the sound of God’s voice, the content of His instructions is full of technical detail, precise measurement, the knowledge of how to make things, and how to make them beautiful. (with our reading today describing how all these instructions were carried out.) 
  • Spoke "still" and "small" to weary Elijah - 1 Kings 19:12.
  • Came to the aid of His people - Isaiah 66:6.
  • Gave Ezekiel glimmerings of His glory and majesty - Ezekiel 43:2.
  • Vanquished a powerful king - Daniel 4:31.
  • Witnessed that Jesus was God the Son - Matthew 17:5; 2 Peter 1:17.

The "voice of God," as David uses it here, is actually a literary device called synecdoche: "A figure of speech in which a part of something indicates the whole" - Poetry Dictionary p. 312. It is similar to metonymy which uses an object associated with something to indicate the whole (e.g. we talk of "crown" when we mean "royalty.").

And so, it is not really God's voice per se that we're talking about but God Himself as we envision and experience Him in various ways.

I ask myself, if I wrote a psalm or poem using synecdoche, what part of God would I choose? His voice, or maybe His hands, or heart, or thoughts, or feet?

If I used His voice, what kind of 'voice of the Lord' poem or paragraph would I write? What about you? In other words, how do we view and how have we experienced God?

Has our view of Him been affected by how our society sees and portrays Him--distant and disinterested? Limited by the evil around us? A prudish potentate who doesn't want us to have any fun? A soft grandfatherly figure who, in the end, will welcome us all into heaven because we've done the best we could?

Or does our view of Him reflect how the Bible portrays Him? Are we open to see and know Him in new biblically based ways?

PRAYER: Dear God, I think my concept of who You are has been affected by my culture and its portrayal of You.  Help me to experience You as the holy, righteous, powerful, majestic, creative, glorious etc. etc. deity of the Bible. Amen.  


Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Photo attribution: By illustrators of the 1728 Figures de la Bible, Gerard Hoet (1648–1733) and others, published by P. de Hondt in The Hague in 1728 -, Public Domain,

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