By Campus Missionary Mary Rowley
I’ve finally found a Bible passage that is all about me. Listen: “The voice of Mary flashes forth flames of fire. The voice of Mary shakes the wilderness. … The voice of Mary makes the deer give birth and strips the forest bare.” That’s totally legitimate, right? When I speak, things catch on fire, the world shakes, deer give birth, and trees lose their bark. I’m sure you’ve all noticed by now.
No? Okay, fine, the passage isn’t really about me. When I speak, occasionally people notice. That’s about it. That’s all we humans can say about our voices. God, on the other hand, can say a lot more. Here’s what that passage really says: “The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire. The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness. … The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth and strips the forests bare, and in his temple all cry, ‘Glory!’” (Psalm 29:7-9).
Psalm 29 lists a variety of other things that the Lord’s voice does, too. My favorite is this: “The God of glory thunders” (verse 3). I’m sure we’ve all heard someone yell loudly, but only God can truly thunder. Just think about the power, majesty, and strength his voice must contain. Our puny voices wouldn’t even be blips on the radar next to his.
That makes verse 11 shocking. “May the Lord give strength to his people!” the Psalmist asks. Strength? You mean, like the strength in the voice of God? That’s preposterous, we say. It’s a good thing our voices aren’t the ones that matter, because God does just that. He gives us his strength, his voice, when we are transformed in our baptisms. We are new – we speak with power, just as Jesus did. And we can ask with the Psalmist: “May the Lord bless his people with peace” (verse 11b).