Everybody loves good news! I don’t know which we enjoy more: hearing good news, or telling good news to others.
The Psalmist who composed tonight’s psalm had great news for the people. God stood with His people and protected them in times of trial. Psalm 33 offers encouragement to believers facing times of trial. The God who created the universe continues to protect us and provide for us in our lives today.
Believers should praise the LORD for His faithfulness and love. vv. 1-5. The Psalmist begins with a command: “Shout!” The Hebrew word here refers to the joyous cry of the people at the sacrifice. This cry would ring throughout the sanctuary. Hebrew worship would frighten some of us today!
The Psalmist tell us why we should cry to the LORD: “Praise befits the upright.” The Hebrew word for “befits” actually means “lovely.” Believers should love to praise the LORD for all He has done for us.
The Psalmist is inspired to praise the LORD with every means necessary, including every instrument available in the sanctuary. The LORD deserves a new song because He constantly blesses His people. When we examine our lives and see how God has blessed us, each of us can sing a song that differs from everyone else. God blesses each of us in many ways.
We find the blessings of the LORD in verses 4 and 5. “The word of the LORD” tells us how we must live to receive the blessings of God. God’s work “is done in faithfulness;” God faithfully works to provide for and protect His people. God loves “righteousness and justice.” God calls on everyone to live according to His moral standard and to treat everyone fairly. Those who live according to God’s standards will one day see perfect justice before His throne. However, God’s “steadfast love” for His people will provide mercy for those who have confessed Jesus, His Son, as Lord of their lives.
Believers should praise the LORD for His Creation. vv. 5-9. These verses tell us about the character of God as well as about His acts of creation.
First, God is the Creator of everything. Nothing exists that He did not create. Therefore, everything we see — and also those things we cannot see — all have a purpose in God’s plan. You were created for a purpose.
Secondly, God is a God of order. God put the oceans where He needed them. It is no accident that modern science arose only in a Christian context. Of all religions, only the Judeo-Christian religion believes in a God who put order into the universe so that we can understand the universe through our observations. St. Paul tell us in Romans that God’s “invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made” (1:20). The writer of Hebrews tells us that “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible” (11:3). By extension, we can trust God to act consistently out of love on our behalf. God never forsakes His people.
Lastly, God’s power evokes fear from those who recognize it. We are right to fear such a God as the One who can create this universe. We are right to fear Him — until we come to love Him as we recognize Him as our Redeemer. Jesus demonstrated God’s ultimate love for us on the cross of Calvary. Jesus also demonstrated God’s ultimate power by His resurrection. No one but Almighty God can bring the dead back to life.
Believers should praise the LORD for His sovereign rule. vv. 10-15. Throughout Israel’s history, other nations threatened her existence. The Psalmist recognized that no nation could threaten God’s people without His express consent. Furthermore, this consent came only when the nation disobeyed the commandments. The nation who chooses God as their LORD will receive the blessing of His protection and guidance.
This point cannot be over-emphasized in today’s events: God raises nations, and God destroys nations. The wisest counsellors cannot overcome a nation God blesses. We must constantly seek God’s blessing on the nations of the world by praying for our leaders. Regardless of your nationality, we are commanded to respect our leaders (cf. Romans 13, 1 Peter 2). Rather than grumble about your leaders, pray for them instead.
This lesson continues in verses 16-17. God is unimpressed with human military strength. God overthrew the chariots of Egypt (Exodus 14). God destroyed the army of Assyria outside Jerusalem (2 Kings 18-19, Isaiah 36-37). Babylon should have been impenetrable, but the Persians conquered it in 539 B.C. This conquest came in spite of Babylon’s immense walls: they were 11 miles long, 65 feet wide, and 85 feet high. Yet, the Persians went under the wall by diverting the Euphrates River.
Does God still work this way? Of course He does. When God decrees that a nation will rise, the nation will rise. When God decrees a nation will fall, the nation falls. We must pray fervently that God will continue to preserve our nation. However, we should also take comfort that God uses nations for the purpose of establishing His people and protecting His believers.
Believers should praise the LORD for His loving protection. vv. 18-22. The LORD constantly provides for those who “fear Him” and for those who “hope in his steadfast love.” Bad things happen to believers in this world; sin’s consequences touch us all. However, nothing can happen to us that God cannot use for His purpose in life. Nothing can happen to us without God’s knowledge. Even in times of intense trial, “our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.” His “steadfast love” never leaves us.
Look at your life. Remember everything God has done for you. Remember every situation where God has worked to preserve you. Remember that God created you for a purpose! Doesn’t God deserve a new song? Doesn’t He deserve to hear your praise? Just as importantly, doesn’t someone else need to hear you praise the LORD who cares so deeply for you? Sing a new song to God for all He has done in our lives.