Threatening worldwide events, and uncertainty on every hand, has caused me to stop and think more than usual. Here lately the chorus of this old gospel song has come to mind—“Where could I go, oh where could I go? Seeking a refuge for my soul. Needing a friend, to help me in the end. Where could I go, but to the Lord?”
Even in the darkest of days, every believer in Christ has a never-extinguished light, in which to find guidance, direction and security. We have a haven of rest during any storm. This place of respite—this source of consolation—is the sure promises of God.
When news, conjecture, opinions, projections, and uncertainties of life seem to overwhelm us, it is then we need a strong foundation—an immovable rock—an unchanging source of strength—and we have it in the Word of God.
For me, Psalm 33 is such a place of safety and restoration. It fortifies my faith and comforts my heart. As I look at the frailties and failings of our small lives, I find comfort in the attributes and power of our great God.
Psalm 33 Teaches….
We are Blessed by Giving God Praise (Psalm 33:1-5)
Expressing thanks is a great source of strength during times of weakness. After urging people to “Sing for joy in the LORD” the writer states “joy is becoming to the upright” (verse 1). Singing, thanksgiving and joy are like medicines that heal the hurting heart. In times of sadness and loss, it is spiritually healthy to count your many blessings, name them one by one. Sorrow and despair focus on what you have lost through life—Praise and thanksgiving focus on what you have gained through Christ. This section closes with the truth: “The earth is full of the lovingkindness of the LORD” (verse 5). There is much for which to give thanks. Find and focus on those things.
We are Awed by the Display of God’s Creation (Psalm 33:6-9)
When you observe God’s stunning creation, it leaves you transfixed in wonder. God’s handiwork is astonishing in its enormity, and incredible in its details. The vast, seemingly never-ending solar system is almost unbelievable—while the beautiful minute features of the smallest creatures are simply amazing. The psalmist wrote that “the heavens were made” and “all their host”—“By the word of the Lord…And by the breath of His mouth” (verse 6). If fears threaten to overwhelm you, stop and “Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast” (verses 8-9).
We are Encouraged by the Comfort of God’s Providence (Psalm 33:10-12)
In times of uncertainty it is comforting that God knows everything from the beginning to the end. God is never surprised. The psalmist states it: “The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation” (verse 11). The counsel of the nations may be nullified; the plans of the peoples may be frustrated; but the counsel of God will never change course. The God of the Bible “works all things after the counsel of His own will” (Ephesians 1:11). It is for this reason, “we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
We are Humbled by the Extent of God’s Knowledge (Psalm 33:13-17)
God wants us to know that “He who fashions the hearts of them all” is “He who understands all their works” (verse 15). He knows and understands us because He created and made us. In a later Psalm, King David wrote “O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways” (Psalm 139:1-3). Remember this when you go through difficult times—God knows everything about you, and can meet your needs. Indeed, in the person of Christ, “since He Himself was tempted [tried] in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted [tried]” (Hebrews 2:18).
We are Comforted by the Depth of God’s Love (Psalm 33:18-22)
The driving force in God’s interaction with His created people is His great love for them. Many questions may arise when His children endure suffering and tribulations, but one thing that always rings true is that He loves them. We know “the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, on those who hope for His lovingkindness” (verse 18). These three things we know: He cares, He watches, He loves. If we would be comforted by His love, the psalmist said there are two things we must do. First, “Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield” (verse 20)—we must wait for Him. We are spoiled by instant everything, and don’t like to wait. But God doesn’t run His schedule by our clock. We must wait. Second, “Our heart rejoices in Him, because we trust in His holy name” (verse 21). We must rejoice in Him as we trust in Him, even when we don’t understand.
During times of uncertainty, when fears arise in our hearts, may we keep our faith and hope in Him. Believers in Christ need not live cowering under the circumstances—because they follow a God who is over the circumstances. Pray: “Let Your lovingkindness, O LORD, be upon us, according as we have hoped in You” (Psalm 33:22).