Attributes of God
by Dave Skipper
This is a summary version of the original article Voice of Noise 2/4.
Click here for full list of Pocket-Sized Summaries.
- Psalm 29 is about the voice of God in its timbre and its effects.
- It’s a remarkable case study in how noise has the capacity to reveal God.
Psalm 29:1-2 – Before the Noise Begins
1 Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to his name;
worship the Lord in the splendour/beauty of his holiness.
- Unquenchable Brilliance: He is Glorious
- God’s infinite glory (Hebrew kabod, literally weight or heaviness) is vital, brilliant, and deeply profound. It compels worship.
- The universe is full of tiny splinters of God’s glory that refract into our minds and hearts and souls.
- Harsh noise in full flow is musically incomparable in its intensity, density, and heaviness, allowing a glimpse of the weight of glory.
- Unmatchable Strength: He is Mighty
- God’s strength is complete, limitless, unhindered, and irresistible.
- By his word alone God created the vast complexity of the universe out of nothing and now controls and sustains all things.
- Noise can overcome all sounds with ease, subsuming them into and under its volume, chaos, and full spectrum of frequencies.
- Unimaginable Wonder: He is Beautiful
- Everything beautiful that mankind has ever known, designed, made, or imagined pales into insignificance next to God’s undiluted beauty.
- Beauty that can be found in the gritty waveforms, aggressive textures, and vibrant details of noise also comes from and points to God’s beauty.
- Unapproachable Purity: He is Holy
- God is perfectly holy: purer than pure, utterly set apart in his eternal and unchanging essence, with no darkness, failure, or possibility of evil.
- The holiness of God is the habitation of ultimate splendour and beauty.
- Noise can be made holy, set apart and dedicated to the pure worship of God.
- Noise has the capacity to demonstrate and reveal the intense glory, indefatigable strength, enchanting beauty, and incredible holiness of God.
Psalm 29:3-9 – Noise Storm Unleashed
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 leap like a calf,
Sirion 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!’
- Unmistakable Revelation: He Speaks
- God’s thundering voice (mentioned seven times, the number of perfection and completeness) initiates a cascade of phenomenal noises which complement, augment, and exemplify his words.
- Noise is an audio cue to listen to God, to remember him and to take careful note of what he is like.
- Unstoppable Capability: He is Powerful
- Incredible power is required to snap trees like twigs and to shift gigantic slabs of land, and God does this solely by the power of his voice!
- Moreover God doesn’t even need to speak audibly: his words are his will brought into being, going unheard by human ears.
- The raw power of pure noise in the outer extremes of creative music-making is unmistakable.
- Uninhibited Splendour: He is Majestic
- God is at once the designer and crafter and wearer of the jewels of his own being, an intertwining of infinite perfections.
- Majesty is the triumphant and worship-inspiring amalgamation of glory, sovereignty, power, beauty, and splendour.
- The jewels of noise are a treasure trove for the initiated listener, tones that simultaneously humble and invigorate.
- Unlimited Control: He is Sovereign
- God’s sovereignty is him actively bringing all his wise, good, just, and merciful purposes to pass throughout history and in all the cosmos.
- Noise is not truly random and chaotic, for in the depth of God’s sovereignty, and in the meaning that he imputes to all things, we discover that noise has more than enough space in which to thrash and writhe with ferocity and purpose.
- Unrestrained Action: He is Confident
- God is not timid when he makes or utilises extreme noise.
- If noise is to be made, then throw everything into it! Don’t be shy!
- Revel in unleashed noise, letting it flourish and fulfil its potential. Let the sounds speak for themselves.
- Unique Craftsmanship: He is Creative
- All sounds (including from human invention and new technologies) are within the realm of planned potentialities that God, as the designer and creator of all things, has implanted in the materials and laws of physics that we utilise.
- The astonishing and apparently inexhaustible possibilities for sound are testament to God’s limitless imagination and ingenuity.
- Noise has the capacity to demonstrate and reveal the inviting voice, invincible power, incomparable splendour, infinite sovereignty, inherent confidence, and intriguing creativity of God.
Psalm 29:10-11 In the Aftermath of the Storm
10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord is enthroned as King for ever.
11 The Lord gives strength to his people;
the Lord blesses his people with peace.
- Unassailable Rule: He is King
- Floodwaters subsume and destroy all in their path, but God is seated on his throne, reigning effortlessly over the flood.
- The most violent and destructive forces of nature are firmly under his control. He sends the flood, he owns it, he made it.
- Waves of noise engulf, and the pressure of their impact drowns out all other sensations, but God is King over the wildest of all noises.
- Unexpected Resourcing: He Gives Strength
- God’s people are those who gladly bow before his holy glory. Then he of infinite strength gives us a portion of that strength!
- God gives strength to survive the storms of life, strength in the face of fear, and strength to stand in his eternal kingly presence.
- God also bestows gifts of strength to endure the sonic onslaught of noise, and to forge a bold path into extreme sonic explorations.
- Undeserved Grace: He Blesses
- God delights to bless his people, bringing wholeness, contentment, healing, and prosperity to our hearts and minds.
- Blessing adds a colour and value and awakeness to life that enables an outlook of purpose and peace, whatever the outward circumstances.
- Noise itself is a gift of God that can be a blessing. That he has endowed noise with the capability of communicating his attributes is itself a blessing!
- Undiluted Stillness: He Gives Peace
- True and lasting peace means having secure refuge in God, bestowed in the midst of the storm, and pervading after the storm subsides.
- Peace within noise: relaxing in the cocoon that noise provides, or the pure pleasure of finding a musical home in noise.
- Peace after noise: relief in the contrasting calm and safety and quiet.
- Noise has the capacity to demonstrate and reveal the indisputable authority, invaluable gifts, incredible grace, and inner peace of God.
Psalm 29: All the Sections
- Unavoidable Presence: He is Here
- God is neither distant nor unknowable, but present in and with his creation. Even the storm is not autonomous, but does his bidding.
- The noises of this psalm are loud and visceral, penetrating the flesh as unavoidably as the God they represent.
- Whether in the stillness or in the storm, his presence is calling to us, if we have ears to hear.
- Unanimous Verdict: He is the Lord
- God is referred to as the LORD throughout Psalm 29. This is the Hebrew name Jehovah or Yahweh, meaning “I am who I am”.
- His name encapsulates all that he is.
- As his voice thunders and triggers a noise bombardment in this psalm, we discover that noise itself reveals who he is.
- Noise has the capacity to demonstrate and reveal the inescapable presence of God for who he is: the LORD.
- God’s fingerprints are indelibly imprinted on all facets of his creation, and thundering noise is no exception.