Genesis 1:1-5, Psalm 29
The voice of the Lord is a powerful voice (Psalm 29:4).
Genesis 1 and Psalm 29 are tremendously hopeful passages. In Genesis, the earth is dark and chaotic, and the Lord speaks. And he speaks again, and again, and again. And, as he does so, this dark and chaotic heavens and earth take on substance and form. Step by step, day by day, he speaks, until the Lord looks down on everything he has made, declaring it “very good.” Creation is finished, and the Lord blesses all that he has made. Then he takes Sabbath rest by delighting in the good work he has accomplished. Psalm 29 is likewise hopeful, although in a sobering sort of way. The Lord whose word builds up is the same Lord whose word breaks down—splitting the cedars of Lebanon and shaking the wilderness of Kadesh. The word causes the deer to give birth, and yet strips the forest bare. And as it did in creation (Job 38:7), all creation worships the Lord (Psalm 29:9).
There is much in life that seems hopeless, much that feels a lot like the darkness, void, and chaos into which the Lord spoke in creation. This is the problem of sin—it always takes that which was meant for blessing and turns it into chaos, darkness, and despair. And there are many weary and sin-laden people in our world, and in our churches, who feel exactly that way, and desperately need to hear the word of the Lord, which would heal them, transforming their darkness and chaos into the “very good” he intends. There is also much in life that seems hard and unyielding, and many in our world, and in our churches, whose hearts are likewise hard and unyielding. They too need to hear the word of the Lord, the word that will break them, so that, God willing, he might heal them and transform them as well.
Let us who are given the blessing and burden of speaking the word of the Lord not forget the power of the word that we proclaim. God’s word brings life (Psalm 1). It burns like fire and breaks rock like a hammer (Jeremiah 23:29). It is the means by which we are born anew (1 Peter 1:23), and it will not return empty, but will accomplish the Lord’s good purposes (Isaiah 55:10-11). It will reach the hopeless and the hardened. And, as we will see next week, the voice of the Lord can even turn a nation.