A Brief Update
For those of you who are unable to gather corporately with us this Sunday, you are loved and missed! If this is you, we are providing the songs we are singing together this morning and a devotional based on the sermon being preached.
Songs We are Singing Together
Devotional on Psalm 33
Introduction: Psalm 33:1-22
These are strange times we live in today. I remember the 1960’s: the assassination of President Kennedy, the assassination of Martin Luther King, and just a few months later the same thing happening to Robert Kennedy. The Vietnam war protests were in full swing, the 1968 Democratic convention turned into a bloody battle, the Kent State five were killed, and race relations were at their lowest. I hoped I would never see those days again, but it seems that history truly does repeat itself, and we are back in the sixties. How discouraging this can be. The Psalms often speak of troubled times; times of danger, discouragement, hopelessness, and fear, but here in Psalm 33 it doesn’t appear that the psalmist is troubled by anything at all!
What is so remarkable about this psalm is how the author is able to cast aside the troubles that very likely surround him, and instead fix his eyes on the God. In spite of all that happens each day in his life his heart is captured, not by the troubled world around him but by the one who created the world. What captures his heart is God’s glory, his beauty, his character, and his steadfast love. He begins where many psalms begin:
A call to worship: 33:1-3
- Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous: This is a celebration of God’s saving grace. The psalmist recounts all of God’s saving acts towards Israel. Our salvation is the reason for our joy because we are now righteous, no longer unrighteous, unworthy, and under judgment.
- Praise befits the upright:
- Give thanks to the Lord with lyre:
- Make melody to him with the harp of ten strings:
- Sing to him a new song: every praise song we sing should come from a fresh awareness of God’s grace
- Play skillfully on the strings with loud shouts:
The psalmist begins his psalm with great emotion, but that’s not all there is to his “worship”. He not only sings to God, but thinks deeply about God as he considers his attributes, his character, and above all, his steadfast love for his people.
He exalts God’s faithful and steadfast love: A gospel reminder: 33:4-5
The psalmist describes the faithful God he sees in the history of Israel, but this also hints of the coming messiah whose gospel is represented here. Jesus is the word made flesh who remained faithful in the face of his own suffering. He remained steadfast and righteous when tempted by sin, and by his death he brought justice to all humanity by paying the penalty for their sin. His crucifixion and resurrection met the requirements of the law that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ. Why? Because God so loved the world that he gave his only son, a that love was present at creation, present at the crucifixion, and present right now because God’s love is steadfast, and still fills the whole earth.
He exalts God’s creative power: 33:6-9
33:6 – “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.”
By his “word” God created the heavens. His power was revealed in a simple spoken word, and every galaxy, and star came into existence, and God still speaks as the writer of Hebrews tells us: 1:3 – “and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.” Each night God marches the stars out and places them exactly where they were the night before.
33:7 – “He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap; he puts the deep in storehouses.”
The sea does not march forward devouring the land, but remains in place because God’s word keeps it there.
33:8-9 – “Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of world stand in awe of him! For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.”
The psalmist is awed by God’s power, but also his faithful promise to always keep everything together. The world will not fall apart because the Lord never stops speaking!
Psalm 119:89-90 – “Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast.”
He exalts God’s wise providence: 33:10-12
33:10-12 – “The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!”
Providence is: “the ordering of all things according to the secret counsels of God.”
No nation can stand against God. No government can undo God’s purposes for his people. No matter what we see or experience in our lives God’s providence will always prevail because we know that: Romans 8:28 – “God causes all things to work together for our good.”
33:12 – The nations that stand against God will fall, but there is one nation that will always remain. 1 Peter 2:9 – “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation…”
The gospel has brought us into God’s kingdom. We the church, we are his holy “nation”, a nation that will forever remain blessed. We were chosen by him before the foundation of the world to be “blameless”, and now we are his inheritance as he is our inheritance.
He exalts the God who is near everyone: 33:13-15
33:13-15 - The Lord looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man; from where he sits enthroned, he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, he who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds.”
- God is present in every one of our “moments”
- He sees every sin
- He sees all suffering
- He watches over every heart because he “fashioned” that heart.
- He is very aware of every need
- He is not a God who is absent in the world, but the God who came into the world to save sinners.
He exalts the God who saves: 33:16-19
33:16-17 – Apart from the transforming grace of the gospel unbelievers have nothing to hope for or hope in. Everything they trust in will fail. Nothing will save them except Jesus Christ. Only he can rescue people from the heartache, devastation, and hopelessness of sin, and rescue them he does.
33:18-19 – God is near to his children. All who have put their trust in Christ can be confident that he sees their every trial, meets their every need, and showers them with his steadfast love. Hope is found, not in kings or great armies but in Christ alone.
Jesus came to deliver us from sin and death. He came that we might have life and have it abundantly. We look around and see our nation being torn apart. We see division, we see hate, we see despair, we see human attempts to change only what the gospel can change. But we have hope because God’s steadfast love fills the earth.
He keeps his eyes fixed on God whose steadfast love remains forever: 33:20-22
“Our” soul waits. He is “our” help and shield. For “our” heart is glad. “We” trust. “We” hope.
What a sweet, peaceful, hope-ending to this psalm. The tone is quiet after reflecting on who God is and all he has done. Let us rest in the Lord because he is good and his steadfast love endures forever.
A Song of Response
Numbers 6:24-26 – “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make us face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance on you and give you peace.”