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Psalm 29 1
1 Ascribe to the LORD, O mighty ones, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness. 3 The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD thunders over the mighty waters. 4 The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is majestic. 5 The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon. 6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, Sirion 2 like a young wild ox. 7 The voice of the LORD strikes with flashes of lightning. 8 The voice of the LORD shakes the desert; the LORD shakes the Desert of Kadesh. 9 The voice of the LORD twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. And in his temple all cry, “Glory!” 10 The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD is enthroned as King forever. 11 The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.

img133Background 3

David saw a great storm. Perhaps he was hiding from it. He saw the rain and heard the wind. He saw the lightning (fire in the sky) and heard the thunder (noise in the sky). The storm came from the Mediterranean Sea to the mountains of Lebanon. It went from there to Sirion, then down the river Jordan to Kadesh. The great storm made David think about God. He wrote Psalm 29 in 3 parts:

Psalm 29:1-2: David tells everyone in heaven to say that God is very great

Psalm 29:3-9: David describes the storm with the thunder as the voice of God

Psalm 29:10-11:David says that the people of the LORD will be safe even in a great storm.

Biblical Truths 4

Verse 1: The sons of God are probably the angels. Angels live in heaven with God.

Verse 2: Our translation says that the LORD is beautiful and holy. It is possible that the Hebrew means that the angels in heaven are wearing beautiful clothes.

Verse 3: The waters is another word for the sea, probably the Mediterranean Sea.

Verse 5: Lebanon was famous for cedar trees. They were very big trees. Solomon (a son of David) used cedar wood from Lebanon when he built the temple in Jerusalem.

Verse 6: Lebanon and Sirion mean the mountains in these places. In the storm David thought that they were moving around. Perhaps there was an earthquake. In an earthquake the ground moves.

Verse 9: We are not sure how to translate “blows strongly on the trees”. Some people say it is better to translate it “makes the animals have their babies”. The storm was so bad that the animals were afraid. The ones that were going to have baby animals had them early. The temple here means heaven. Everyone means the sons of God that are in verse 1

Verse 10: We have spelled Flood with a capital f. This is because it means one special flood. It happened in the time of Noah. Water covered the whole earth. Everybody died except Noah and his family. We know that David meant this Flood because he used the special word that describes the Flood in Genesis. Nobody else uses it in the whole Bible.

Verse 11: After the storm there was peace. Peace is a gift that God gives to his people. Peace means no loud noises or fighting round us. The peace of God means that there is nothing bad inside us. We are happy deep inside us.

Items for Discussion

  • Describe a time you were in a storm – What did you do and how did you feel?
  • What are the worst parts of a storm?
  • Why do people feel so helpless in a bad storm?
  • What were your reactions after the storm ended?
  • Why is it that people are drawn closer to God in a storm?
  • Would the world be a better place if there were no storms?
  • In what way is God present in the aftermath of a bad storm?

 

Luke 3:15-17; 21-22
15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Christ. 16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

21 When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

Background

The role of John the Baptist was to announce the coming of Jesus: in John 1:23 he tells interrogators, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.'” According to Matthew 3:4, he wore clothing made of camel’s hair and ate locusts and wild honey, and baptized people in the river Jordan. (It was after being baptized by John that Jesus was led to the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.) John later was executed by the ruler Herod; as told in Matthew chapter 14, Herod granted the demand of Salome to “give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.”

John the Baptist is a different person from the apostle John, for whom the Gospel of John is named… In speaking of Jesus, John said: “I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the holy spirit”… According to Luke, John was the son of Zechariah (or Zachary) and his wife Elizabeth, a relative of Jesus’ mother Mary, and was born roughly six months before Jesus. Born: 5 B.C.

Birthplace: Judea

Died: c. 33 A.D. (beheading)

Best Known As: The man who “prepared the way” for Jesus of Nazareth

Biblical Truths 5

Verse 15. In expectation. Expecting the Messiah. Marg. suspense. That is, they were not certain whether John was not himself the Messiah. They confidently expected his appearing, and their minds were in suspense, or they were in a state of doubt whether he had not already come, and whether John was not the Messiah.

Mused in their hearts of John. Thought of his character, his preaching, and his success, and anxiously inquired whether he did not do the things which were expected of the Messiah.

Verse 21. Jesus being baptized; or, Jesus having been baptized. This took place after the baptism, and not during its administration, Matthew 3:16.

Praying. This circumstance is omitted by the other evangelists; and it shows,

  • 1st. That Jesus was in the habit of prayer.
  • 2nd. That it is proper to offer up special prayer at the administration of the ordinances of religion.
  • 3rd. That it is possible to pray in the midst of a great multitude, yet in secret. The prayer consisted, doubtless, in lifting up the heart silently to God. So we may do it anywhere–about our daily toil–in the midst of multitudes, and thus may pray always.

Verse 22. In a bodily shape. This was a real visible appearance, and was doubtless seen by the people. The dove is an emblem of purity and harmlessness, and the form of the dove was assumed on this occasion to signify, probably, that the spirit with which Jesus would be endowed would be one of purity and innocence. The Holy Spirit, when he assumes a visible form, assumes that which will be emblematic of the thing to be represented. Thus he assumed the form of tongues, to signify the miraculous powers of language with which the apostles would be endowed; the appearance of fire, to denote their power, Acts 2:3.

Items for Discussion

  • Why do you think God sent a messenger ahead to conduct baptisms?
  • What significance do you find in the event of Jesus’ baptism?
  • How does the life John the Baptist chose, one of extreme austerity, compare with today’s “messengers” of the Gospel?
  • Can you see any benefits in either lifestyle?
  • How can you tell when someone brings you a message, that it is from God?

Discussion Challenge

  • In what way does the Church today carry on John the Baptist’s role as messenger? 
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