Ascribe to the LORD, O sons of the mighty,
Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to His name;
Worship the LORD in holy array. (Psalm 29:1-2)
We are all naturally proud, defiant, and inclined to suppress the true knowledge of God while giving ourselves most of the credit for things pertaining to this life - and the one to come. Some, however, seem to be a little more brazen and obvious than others simply because of the position they are in. Those in places of power are who David had in mind here, and we could easily add others who wield influence through their fame and fortune - celebrities and such. While his words clearly speak to all of us, these are the "sons of the mighty" to whom this psalm is specifically addressed.
His concern is with the fact that in a fallen world - no matter the age in which we live - the closer we get to the top of the pecking order the more self-congratulating people are and the less of a factor God seems to be. David found it particularly troubling when the eyes and attention of the masses were riveted on a select few who were quite comfortable hoarding for themselves the glory that belongs to God alone. An image of the swelling ego of King Herod comes to mind on that memorable occasion in the book of Acts when the people kept crying out "The voice of a god and not of a man!" - just before the Lord struck him down and fed him to the worms "because he did not give God the glory" (Acts 12:22-23). It is to the LORD that all men are commanded to "ascribe" glory, but He seems especially jealous to receive it from those He has been pleased to place within view of the watching world.
The opportunities for application here are wide and varied, but is any more obvious than today's professional athlete, particularly those professing to be Christians, who withold glory from God every Lord's Day by choosing to be on the field or the court rather than assembled with His people, under the ministry of His Word, rejoicing in the death and resurrection of His Son - ascribing to Him the glory due His name? It is not the trite gesture of a finger pointing to Heaven, or the quick, conspicuous drop to the knee that captures David's meaning here. God is glorified on His terms, not ours' - and without any particular regard for our perceived achievements or success. To "worship the LORD in holy array" is, in fact, to look away from ourselves altogether - always in a spirit of contrition and confession of sin - prostrating ourselves before the majesty of the Almighty, trusting Christ to take away our filthy rags, clothe us in His own righteousness, and present us blameless before the Father that in humility and gratitude we may ascribe all glory to Him alone.
May true zeal for His glory lead many such people to count all things loss for the sake of Christ, dismiss themselves early from a career that too often competes with the interests of His kingdom, and take their place quietly among the worshipping children of God - of whom this world has likely never heard, nor is it worthy. Amen.
Copyright 2012 K.V. Holley