“Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous!”
Psalm 33 begins with that call to song and thanksgiving to the God who created and sustains the universe. The psalmist praises God’s creative power. He describes God’s character – God loves righteousness and justice; he fills the earth with his compassionate love. God inspires and protects.
We like to see ourselves as self-sufficient. On a national level, many place their trust In a thriving economy and a strong military force. The psalmist contradicts their priority:
“The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue” (Psalm 33:16-17).
Acknowledging dependence on God precedes salvation: “The eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine” (Psalm 33:18-19). Awareness of God’s power and love, and submitting to his will, increases of sense of hope. Salvation for the psalmist extends to concrete manners in everyday life. Healthy faith improves the quality of this life. Difficulties still arise, but the faithful disciple of God faces them with a confidence that he (or she) will survive. We trust in the Lord, and believe we will overcome through his love.
The psalm ends with an affirmation of faith and a prayer. The psalmist declares his faith in God’s power to protect and to save. As we pray, we balance fearful petitions and protests with our own praises and expressions of gratitude to God. Yesterday, many Americans remembered a terrible attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii in 1941. Some prayed for families who had sons or brothers killed that day; others angrily expressed, “Never again!” As fears of war with an Asian nation rise in some quarters, some again place their trust in military might. “War horses” or nuclear weapons may win battles and wars; character and faith capture the victory in life. When it seems that going to war is the only option, whether on a national or personal level, let’s measure the integrity and wisdom of our intent against our patience in waiting for the LORD. At times, it is necessary to go to war, but let us prepare our hearts before we load our weapons. Let’s pray for awareness of God’s love when evil threatens to overcome.
“Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you” (Psalm 33:20-22).
Biblical Quotations are from the English Standard Version.