John T. Willis

Saturday, September 05, 2009


Here is West Texas, we often have "thunder storms." Just last night, we heard quite a bit of thunder. Thunder is the sound made by lightning. Depending on how far away a storm may be, one may hear a sharp loud crack or a long extended rumble. The sudden increase in pressure and temperature from lightning produces rapid expansion of the air surrounding, and within a bolt of lightning. This expansion of air creates a sonic shock wave which produces the sound of thunder. One explanation of this is that in a fraction of a second, the air is heated to a temperature approaching 50,000 degrees fahrenheit. This heating causes it to expand outward, plowing into the surrounding cooling air at a speed faster than would would travel in the cooler air. The outward moving pulse that results is a shock wave, similar to the shock wave formed by an explosion, or the front of a supersonic aircraft. Other experts hold different explanations.

One of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 29. This is a very simple psalm, and most scholars think Psalm 29 was borrowed from a very ancient Ugaritic text concerning the storm god Baal, and then re-applied and transformed into a beautiful song about Yahweh, the God of Israel.

Psalm 29 falls into three parts.
1. Summons to the angels to praise Yahweh as the God of glory. Verses 1-2.
2. Description of a typical storm in the land of Israel tracking from the Mediterranean Sea to the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon mountains in the north, turning south along the Jordan Valley, and phasing out in the Wilderness of Kadesh south of the Dead Sea. Verses 3-9.
3. Concluding praise of Yahweh as KING with a prayer that Yahweh will bless his people with peace--like the calm and quiet that occurs after a storm. Verses 10-11.

The theme of Psalm 29 is THUNDER. The biblical term for THUNDER in this psalm is THE VOICE OF THE LORD, which occurs seven times in these eleven verses: verses 3, 4
[2x], 5, 7, 8, 9.

When I hear thunder in an approaching storm, I always think: This is the voice of the Lord. God is always present in our world. He reminds us in many ways. One of this reminder is thunder.

What are YOUR experiences? Share your thoughts with others around you. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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