Psalms 1 - 50by Mike Raiter
Songs of praise have been compared to advertising. An advertisement tells people how good the product is and why they should buy it. Similarly, our songs describe and promote the glories of God, and declare and celebrate His wonderful deeds. There is a place to simply ″praise the Lord″ (for example, Psalm 150), but usually the Psalms tell us why God is worthy of our praise. When we sing, we advertise God's character and His works. We see that in Psalm 33.
Psalm 33 has no title, so it is probably a continuation of Psalm 32. Psalm 32 ended with the invitation: ″Sing, all you who are upright in heart!″ (v. 11). Psalm 33 begins: ″Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous.″
Psalm 33 is very carefully composed. In Hebrew, there are 161 words in the psalm. The middle word, the 81st, is ″blessed″ (v. 12). Psalm 33 explains why God's people are blessed and should sing a new song to Him (v. 3).
We should praise the Lord because He is ″faithful in all he does″ (v. 4). In other words, everything God does is for the good of those who trust in Him. We rejoice because ″the earth is full of his unfailing love″ (v. 5). Because of what Jesus has done for us, Christians know-even more than the people of ancient Israel-the length and breadth of the Father's love for us. We sing because God protects His people. Just as His powerful word controls the seas, so He rules and controls the nations. These nations may plot against the Lord and His people, but we are secure in Him (vv. 10-11).
The psalmist twice rejoices that the Lord sees everything (vv. 13-15). God observes everything that everyone does. These same all-seeing eyes watch over all those ″whose hope is in his unfailing love″ (vv. 18-20). Sandwiched between these two passages is a word of assurance: it is the God who sees from heaven who is to be trusted, not armies or human strength (vv. 16-17).
Who are these people who sing joyfully? They are His inheritance (v. 12). All God's wonderful future plans are focused on the blessings He will shower on His people. These people are ″those who fear him . . . whose hope is in his unfailing love″ (v. 18). Fear and love are not enemies, but two sides of the character of men and women whose trust is in this awesome God, who is worthy of our praise.
Read Psalm 33 again and make a list of all the reasons we are given to sing joyfully to the Lord.
In verse 18, we see that the Lord's eyes are on those who both fear God and experience His love. How can it be that fearing and loving God are two necessary and compatible ways to respond to the Lord?