7. The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook;
They trembled because he was angry. 8. Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth,
Burning coals blazed out of it. 9. He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet. 10. He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. 11. He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him— The dark clouds of the sky. 12. Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning. 13. The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded, amid hailstones and bolts of lightning. 14. He shot his arrows and scattered the enemies, great bolts of lightning And routed them. 15. The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at your rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of breath from your nostrils. 16. He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters, 17. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. 18. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. 19. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.
Reflection by Darlene Wagner
The God of Israel is here shown to preside over storm clouds, hail, and lightning. Upon first reading of this Psalm, it seems as if the unnamed, formless God of the Hebrews is equivalent to Zeus, the human-form, lighting-bolt-throwing Deity of the Greeks. Further reading of the Psalm, however, reveals an All-Encompassing Divine Spirit, who exists above and apart from the forces of Nature. The Most High God of Israel surrounds himself with dark storm clouds, yet also emanates brightness (verses 11 and 12). Verses 12 and 13 repeat the refrain, “hailstones and bolts of lightning” which is actually “Hail and coals of fire” in Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible. Interestingly, the New International version seems to support the Pagan, “bolts of lightning” image rather than the literal Hebrew “coals of fire”. In any case, the God of Israel presides over “valleys of the sea” and deep waters as well as consuming fire and blazing coals. While the forces of Nature are beautiful and awe-inspiring, true love for a marginalized people can only come from a Being who exists apart from Nature, the Most High God.
O Radiance beyond imagining which shines from you Dear Father,