I was sitting in church and reading Psalm 33. I ought to have done my quiet time much earlier, but I had not been getting proper sleep over the days (because of our early Vacation Bible School), and I had got up a bit late this morning. Vacation Bible School begins at 7.30 am and goes on upto 11 am. About 600 children attend the V.B.S., and if we include teachers and volunteers the number goes up to 700.
I was reading Psalm 33, one of my favorite psalms. The psalm is divided into two parts – the first part from verse 1 to verse 11 and the second part from verse 12 till the end. The psalm begins with a note of praise as many psalms do. We are to rejoice in the Lord, and praise Him with song and musical instruments, Ps 33:1-3. Why? Because of His Word. His Word is true and His works are done in faithfulness, 33:4. His Word is powerful; by the word of the Lord the heavens were created, and all the stars and planetary bodies of the universe, 33:6. Have we meditated over the power of God’s Word? Have we heard God’s still small voice when we read His Word? Look at verse 9. It says, “The Lord spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.” God said, “Let there be light!” – and there was light. God speaks. It is not enough to just read His Word; we must hear His voice. What do I mean by ‘hearing His voice’? God must speak to us through His Word; our eyes must be opened; light should shine from the Word; sometimes, we hear His gentle whisper speaking to us according to our need, and we experience a deep peace within. (Only those who are born again, and indwelt by the Holy Spirit, can understand what I mean. Only those who are walking according to the Spirit can hear His voice.)
But it is not only His Word we praise God for; we praise Him for His goodness – the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord, 33:5. We praise Him for His power; 33:7,8. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the depths in storehouses, 33:7. Do we know the power of the ocean? Have we experience the power of tidal waves? 70% of the earth is covered by oceans and seas; and till today, man has been unable to harness the power of the seas. Truly, we must fear the Lord, and stand in awe of Him. You look at an ice-berg; you see only the tip. Nine-tenths of it is submerged. That’s how the Titanic was destroyed. We really don’t know the power and might of God. He can gather the seas together, and He can part the seas – He can make a way through the waters, and a path through the deep.
But it is not only God’s Word, His goodness and power. There is His counsel or purpose. “The counsel of the Lord stands forever”, Ps 33:11. “There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord.” Prov 21:30. God “works all things after the counsel of His will”, Eph 1:11. The Lord says, “As I have purposed, so shall it stand.” Isa 14.24. Do we know the immutability of His counsel? Heb 6:17. Man tries to build a Tower of Babel (this modern civilization) for himself, but it will not stand. Already that tower is crumbling. Man may turn his back on God, and go his own independent way; but in the end, every knee shall bow before the Eternal God, who will accomplish His eternal purpose in the world and in the whole of creation.
The second half of this psalm is very touching. ‘Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.” Ps 33:12. We are that holy nation chosen by the Lord, out of all the nations of the world. We, the children of God, redeemed by the Blood of Jesus, are that chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people…unto God. The Church is the nation whose God is the Lord. We are His inheritance.
The second half of this psalm focuses on God’s people. God looks down from heaven; He looks upon all the inhabitants of the earth, 33:13, 14. Yes, God is watching us. Will we repent and turn to Him? Or, like Cain, will we turn our back on Him? (Gen 4:16). God looks at our hearts (1 Sam 16:7); He weighs all our actions, 33:15. He is God the Judge. One day we will be judged for everything we have done. Men laud their own strength and their achievements, 33:16, 17. But it is all vanity, nothing but vanity. Anything done outside of God, and God’s will, is vanity, futility; it will perish. But God’s gracious eye, Ps 33:18, His eye of love and mercy is upon His people who trust in Him and hope for His mercy, 33:18-22. He delivers them from death (saving grace); He keeps them alive in famine (sustaining grace). His grace is sufficient for us. He is our help and our shield, 33:20. We trust in Him, and faith works wonders. That’s why we rejoice in Him. Are our eyes always upon the Lord? Or are we looking at the things of the world? And the blind and foolish people of this world? No man can save us, there is no help in man. The Lord is our refuge and strength; His grace and mercy will follow us all the days of our life.
May the reader understand that the second half of this Psalm begins with a note of the Gospel. Verse 33:12 is speaking not of the physical Israel, but spiritual Israel, the children of God, 1 Pet 2:9. The second half of this Psalm is packed with strong notes of grace. Our God is the Almighty God, the Eternal God, the God of All Grace – who saves us, sustains us and carries us through. We trust in Him and are delivered from all our troubles. He is our Faithful and True God. Let us worship Him.