• Download

Praise, Trust and Hope in God (Psalm 33)

Chatswood Baptist Church https://www.chatswoodbaptist.com.au

We don’t always feel like praising God do we. There can be many reasons for this. You might be tired; you may have had an argument with your better half on the way to church this morning. The kids might have spilt milk on the floor. Perhaps you are just in a bad mood, or perhaps there is unrepented sin that is making you feel like you can’t praise God. Now there is my friends a great antidote for not feeling like praising God and that is to read God’s word. In fact, without even opening the bible we can bring to mind John 3:16 (Oh God, you so loved the world that you gave your one and only son – our Lord Jesus Christ, so that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have eternal life), or bring to mind Philippians 1:6 where Paul says these words about the believers in Philippi (the CSB says “I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus), and suddenly our heart changes, we remember Jesus Christ dying in our place, so that through faith in him we might repent and be saved. Church, God’s word is glorious. We need to read it every day. It is our bread; it is our manna from heaven. In the pages of scripture God speaks to us. So today we begin this new year by reading and unpacking Psalm 33 where the psalmist reminds us to praise and trust our God.

The Psalm starts with praise. This is always to be our pattern isn’t it. This is how Church happens here on a Sunday. There is quick introduction and then we begin the service by praising God in song. We don’t spend 5 minutes reminding everyone why they should praise God, no we start singing the truths of scripture (we do then remind ourselves of these truths again after we sing). This morning Jason called people to praise with the song ‘come praise and glorify’. We sang of how God has blessed us in the heavenly realms because of our forgiveness in Christ death and our adoption as sons and daughters through faith in Christ. We sing these wonderful truths. And Psalm 33 likewise starts with praise. Let’s look at verses 1-3

33:1-3 Praise the Lord

1Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous ones;
praise from the upright is beautiful.
Praise the Lord with the lyre;
make music to him with a ten-stringed harp.
Sing a new song to him;
play skillfully on the strings, with a joyful shout.

The psalmist gives some pretty clear instructions here. Firstly, this is most certainly a call to praise God, to praise Yahweh. But it is more than this, for the first word out of the psalmist’s mouth is rejoice. Now rejoice is an active word. Think back on the things that you have rejoiced in through your life. Perhaps I can help. Your first job, or getting married, maybe finishing school, graduating from university. When you think about these times of rejoicing, they are much more than just a thought. These times of rejoicing involve our heart, our mind, our emotions, our body. This is what the psalmist is saying to us. Rejoice, delight with your whole being in God.

Secondly, it is a call to praise God in a specific way. It is a call to praise God in song. With instruments and with voices. There is something about singing praises to God. We are called to do it. There will be singing in heaven friends. We can’t miss seeing this in scripture. Revelation 5:14 is one such place.

Thirdly, the psalmist makes clear who it is that is to do the praising and rejoicing. It is the righteous, the upright as we read in verse 1. But who are these righteous and upright? For surely the bible tells us that no one is righteous. This is what Romans 3:10 says. Yet Romans 3:22 says that we are 22 The righteousness of God is through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. I reckon that this is what the psalmist is implying here. Those that trust in God, those that fear him. The final 2 verses of this psalm I believe attest to this. They talk of their trust and hope being in the Lord. We will come to those in slightly more detail in a few minutes. Fourthly, and finally in these first three verses there is a way in which we praise and rejoice in song. It is to be done skillfully and with a joyful shout. Now there is more that I could say about gathered corporate worship and shouts of joyful praise. In fact, the psalms speak of this as a normal practice. For us here today, perhaps it is enough today for us to take to heart the words of Psalm 111:1 “Hallelujah! I will praise the Lord with all my heart in the assembly of the upright and in the congregation”.

It is clear that we are to praise God with all that we are. And the bulk of this psalm then tells us of who God is and the reasons why we are to praise him.

33:4-9 God’s Word

4 “For the word of the Lord is right,
and all his work is trustworthy.
He loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of the Lord’s unfailing love.

The heavens were made by the word of the Lord,
and all the stars, by the breath of his mouth.
He gathers the water of the sea into a heap;

he puts the depths into storehouses.
Let the whole earth fear the Lord;
let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.
For he spoke, and it came into being;
he commanded, and it came into existence.”

God’s word and work are not able to be separated. His work in creation as we know from Genesis 1 was a spoken work. 9 times in Genesis 1 we read the word Then God Said. This agrees with the psalmist’s words in verses 6 & 9.

6 The heavens were made by the word of the Lord.

9 For he spoke, and it came into being;
he commanded, and it came into existence.

God is the creator of all things. Nothing that exists was not made by God. Only God created all the things that have been created. He alone can be completely trusted; he alone is Holy and perfect. Everything that he says is true. As verse 6 says his word is true and his work trustworthy. It is not only all that God has created. It is also all that God has enacted. Verse 5 reminds us that

He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the Lord’s unfailing love.

This is God’s nature and character. God is right and just and love. This is shown on earth and most powerfully in God sending Jesus into the world to save people from their sins. These verses show us God’s unique Character, God’s unique power, and God’s expected response from his creation. Because God is who he is, we are to fear him, we are to stand in awe of the one who is perfect in power and perfect in character. This is what we read in verse 8.  We see God’s work in creation, and we read it in the scriptures. Now these verses were written 3000 years ago. They were written 1,000 years before Christ. Yet they are no less relevant today. This side of the Cross we see more clearly how the world is full of God’s unfailing Love, because we see our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

33:10-12 God’s Will

God not only created everything by his good and perfect will. His will is always at the fore. God sustains all things, and his plans will always prevail. Read with me verses 10-12

“10 The Lord frustrates the counsel of the nations;
he thwarts the plans of the peoples.
11 The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
the plans of his heart from generation to generation.
12 Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord—
the people he has chosen to be his own possession!”

This is another great reminder about where we put our trust as we begin the new year. It has been hard to watch tv or read a newspaper over the last year and not see that in 2022 there are still wars. There are still countries that are invading each other. The terrible war that Russia has waged on the Ukraine and other possible conflicts seem to be quite probable. Yet when we read these verses in Psalm 33, we are reminded that it is not any of the nations that are ultimately in charge. In fact, God is the only one in charge. He is the only one who’s will is ultimate. Verse 11 says that God’s counsel (which is those things that God has planned which will indeed come to be) stand forever. No one can stop God, but God can and will stop that which isn’t his plan. Verses 10 & 11 are also verses that are used to tell of God’s omnipotence – Which just really means that God has complete and utter control over everything.

God is sovereign over all things. There is nothing that is not within his control. God rules over all that there is, and because of this we can take great comfort that trusting in God is the way God has planned for those that love him. Look at Romans 8:28 “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” And Ephesians 1:11 “In Him we were also made His inheritance, predestined according to the purpose of the One who works out everything in agreement with the decision of His will.”

Friends God’s will is perfect, and we can trust him completely.

33:13-19 God Watches Everything

God’s word gives us what we need to know him. It doesn’t tell us everything, and scripture itself attests to this. Deut 29:29 “The hidden things belong to the Lord our God, but the revealed things belong to us and our children forever, so that we may follow all the words of this law.”  In the Bible we see his will at work, and we also learn of our God.

We read that God sees everything in the whole world all the time. Now the writer of this psalm ensures that we can’t misconstrue this. We can’t get it wrong. Let’s look at verses 13 & 14.

13 The Lord looks down from heaven;
he observes everyone.
14 He gazes on all the inhabitants of the earth
from his dwelling place.

 There is no one who is missed. There is nothing that God doesn’t see. I pray that like me this makes you pause. That this makes you uncomfortable. God sees every moment of your life. There is no hiding from God. This is an amazing comfort for those of us who trust in the Lord our God, yet it is also slightly disarming. When you are standing alone in a room with your thoughts, God sees you. God not only sees you but knows your thoughts. Psalm 139:1-2.

1 Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I stand up;
you understand my thoughts from far away.

 So, when you read that God sees you, he sees everything that you do and think. And verse 15 is helpful in this. For is it He that has formed our hearts, indeed every part of us and he knows all of our works. He knows everything about us. Let’s pause there for a moment. God knows everything about me, he knows everything about you. The good, the bad and the ugly. And you know what, even knowing this. God loves you and sent his Son to die on the cross so that through faith in him you could be forgiven for those sins that God knows about. Let’s read verses 15-17

15 He forms the hearts of them all;
he considers all their works.
16 A king is not saved by a large army;
a warrior will not be rescued by great strength.
17 The horse is a false hope for safety;
it provides no escape by its great power.

Verses 16 & 17 then again reiterate that only God saves. You can have the biggest army of all. You can be the best soldier in the world. 3,000 years ago, they talked about horses, because they were and still are a very strong beast. Riding a horse compared to someone on foot. Well, there’s no contest is there. Today we might say a tank, or perhaps a jet fighter. These things are mighty, they are powerful. Yet they can’t rescue you. The biggest tank will fall, the fastest jet plane will be shot down. No, there is only one who can rescue us from death. Only one who can rescue us from troubles in this life. God alone can save and sustain.

 Do you find verse 18 intriguing? I would go as far as to say it is a verse about God’s love for his children. For while in verses 13 & 14 we see that God observes everything. In verse 18 His gaze is understood in a different way. Now no analogy is going to be perfect here because we are talking about God, and the way he looks upon those who rightly fear him. Yet let’s read these words in verses 18 & 19 and then see how they fit.

18 But look, the Lord keeps his eye on those who fear him—
those who depend on his faithful love
19 to rescue them from death
and to keep them alive in famine.”

When my children were smaller they would enjoy going to parks where they had swings and slippery dips, and basically anything they could climb on. Now when we would go to the park I would indeed be watching everything that was going on in the park. I would observe all of the people, and their comings and goings. Yet as the father of my children, I would keep a special watch on them. It wasn’t the same as observation, I would keep a dedicated eye on where they were, what they were doing and how they were going. They are my children whom I love, whom I would do anything for. So, the way I watch them is indeed different to how I watch the world around me. I think that the Psalmist here is saying that God is like that. He sees everything all the time, yet he keeps his eye on his children, those who love him and whom he loves. And he will indeed rescue them from death and protect them in this life.

33:20-22 Wait in hope, faith & Love

So, as we come to the last three verses of Psalm 33, the psalmist gives us the perfect response. These verses are the proper response for God’s people. So, we need to ask ourselves here this morning, is this our response. Let’s read these verses and then bring today’s message to a conclusion.

20 We wait for the Lord;
he is our help and shield.
21 For our hearts rejoice in him
because we trust in his holy name.
22 May your faithful love rest on us, Lord,
for we put our hope in you.

In verse 18 we read that the Lord keeps his eye on those who fear him and depend on his unfailing love. That the Lord will rescue them from death. So this response in verses 20-22 is for all that God is and does, but in the context of this psalm it is specifically for the promise in verse 18 & 19. God is trustworthy of our complete devotion.

So, as we start the new year. Let’s ensure that our trust, hope and praise is given fully to God, through His Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. For anywhere else we place it is fleeting. There is only one who deserves our trust. There is only one who is holy and perfect in every way. There is only one with the power to save us through the life, death and resurrection of His own dear Son.

So, we might not always feel like praising God. So let God’s word dwell deeply in you this year. Read it daily, spend time thinking about God’s word. Trust in the Lord and obey his commands, and praise will come. Let’s keep encouraging each other as we wait for the Lord to return.

Let’s pray.