Monday, November 1, 2010

Reflections on Psalm 33

As far as I'm concerned, some Psalms stand out much more than others. This isn't to say that they aren't all important; it's simply to say that different Psalms have effected me at different times in my life. For example, I usually can't resonate with Psalms that give a cry for the Lord's presence because I rarely feel without his presence. It has happened, but rarely. Or, I don't feel such strong negative emotions against enemies (because I can't say I have any) that I'd ask God to wipe them out. That being said, Psalm 33 is one I completely resonate with, particularly right now. I've been learning a great deal in one of my classes about the character of God, and this Psalm exalts in his character. Let's get into a few of the sayings and briefly see how they could (or should) affect us.

"He (God) loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord" - v. 5

God is not someone who sits in Heaven waiting to strike someone down for lying to their mother. God is not wringing his hands together with a smirk as to say "I'm going to get you one day!" No, the steadfast, or the remarkably consistent, love of God fills the earth. He sustains everyone - even the most ardent hater of God is breathing today because God is allowing him/her to continue breathing. We need a fuller view of God's love, one that is biblical - that while he hates sin and will not leave the sinner unpunished, his love and compassion fill the earth.

"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" - v. 10-11

God has a will and a plan for the world that will not be thwarted by mankind. In fact, God will confuse and destroy a nation's plan if need be! The biblical view of God's control is such that he is intimately involved in human history - not only the history of his people, but every nation. This means that any nation that has fallen and is no more has become that way by God's plan. History is not simply the study of things past as if they are mere "happen-stances" as some call it - history is, from a Christian perspective, a study of how God has intervened to accomplish his purpose in the world. And his purpose is the redeeming of a people from sin, rescuing them by grace through his Son dying and rising. He has his hand in much more than we have aware of.

"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." - v. 20-21

What is your heart glad in today? What brings you the deepest joy? If we're honest we could each name different things that excite and bring joy in our lives - children, marriage, money, accolades, new cars or gadgets... the list is endless. The cry of the Psalmist (and whoever is with him worshiping God) is that God makes his heart glad. Think about that. I often pray for things or events to take place in order to make my life easier or happier. But perhaps what I need to learn and begin praying for is that God would make himself so delightful to me that he would make me glad. By trusting in his holy name - that is, his proven character of grace, mercy, patience, love, faithfulness, forgiveness, and justice (Ex. 34:6-7) - we can delight in him.

Lord, the deepest source of joy is often the very thing that I shun: you. You are the God of all, the One who has made the earth and all that is in it. Make us people who trust so fully in your name, who delight purely in your name, that the world around us would notice something is significantly different in us. Thank you for your faithful love and your salvation. Your counsel and plan will remain forever; I want to fulfill your will for my life personally and your kingdom in general. When I am worried about my future may I remember the words of Psalm 33:22 "Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you." Amen.

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