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(Part 39)


December 21,2009

Today’s psalm (Psalm 33) again brings together what the Lord has been teaching us from 2007 until the present, through the themes and aspects of the themes that He has given us.

The starting point is the reality that God is Almighty! He is the awesome Creator-God. “By the Lord’s word the heavens were made; by the breath of his mouth all their host.” (v.6). God challenged Job: “And who shut within doors the sea” (Job 38:8a), to which the psalmist, acknowledging God, would now respond: “The waters of the sea were gathered as in a bowl” (v.7a).

As the Almighty, God is all-powerful. He created the vast universe with but a word. He keeps the billions of stars in their place, manifesting a great divine order in all the heavens. “For he spoke, and it came to be, commanded, and it stood in place.” (v.9).

As the Almighty, “pre-eminent in power and judgment” (Job 37:23b), God is all-wise, and His wisdom is way beyond ours, as far as the heavens from the earth. His ways are not our ways. God challenged Job: “Do you know the ordinances of the heavens; can you put into effect their plan on the earth?” (Job 38:33). This in fact is our problem. We have our own plans, our own ways, apart from God’s eternal designs. And so we fail. “The Lord foils the plan of nations, frustrates the designs of peoples.” (v.10).

What actually should our proper posture be before such an awesome God? It is awe. It is humility. It is reverential fear. “Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all who dwell in the world show reverence.” (v.8).

But here is a reality that is startling: this awesome Creator-God, the Almighty, all-wise and all-powerful, is interested in us! We are His beloved creatures. He cares about our well-being. As such, He watches over us. “From heaven the Lord looks down and observes the whole human race.” (v.13). Awesome!

God is concerned about us because He created us and because He rules over us. He is our Creator and our King. As Creator, He desires only our good. As Creator, He knows us and how we tick. “The one who fashioned the hearts of them all knows all their works.” (v.15). As King, again He desires only our good. He is our protector and provider. As such, He spends His time “surveying from the royal throne all who dwell on earth.” (v.14).

As the Almighty and as King, God is just and righteous.[1] “He loves righteousness and justice” (v.5a,RSV). God is not a despot. He is not arbitrary in His ways. He is perfect, holy, and all-loving.

As Creator, God formed us in His image and likeness. As King, He desires that we walk in His ways and imitate Him. As we look to Him and find joy in who He is, we see that God calls us to be just and righteous as well. “Rejoice, you just, in the Lord” (v.1a,NAB); “Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous!” (v.1a,RSV).

Imitating the Lord is for our good. This enables the all-wise God to work out His eternal plan in us. We simply need to surrender ourselves to Him, knowing that “the plan of the Lord stands forever, wise designs through all generations.” (v.11).

Further, God has made many promises to us His people. He is committed to our welfare and to give us a future full of hope. He is faithful and will bring to completion what He has started in us. “For the Lord’s word is true; all his works are trustworthy.” (v.4).

So God has His plan for us. And being all-powerful, He can carry out His design. We simply need to respond. Many times we face woe because of our disobedience and going our own way. If we only let God have His way with us, then we would be fulfilled. If we only allow God to rule over our lives, then we will be well provided for. “Happy the nation whose God is the Lord, the people chosen as his very own.” (v.12).

How then do we proceed? Again we must know that He is God and we are mere creatures. This places us in a right relationship with our Creator and King. Many times we act as if we owned our lives and had no one to account to but ourselves. We look to our own wisdom and strength. These inevitably fail, and we are led to perdition and ruin. “A king is not saved by a mighty army, nor a warrior delivered by great strength. Useless is the horse for safety; its great strength, no sure escape.” (v.16-17).

Thus, realizing God is the Almighty, our response is awe. It is reverential fear. This is the proper response of creatures to the Creator, of subjects to the King. We know that on our own we are nothing. We are totally dependent upon God. When we look to God in this way, when we look to no one else except Him, then His favor will rest on us. “But the Lord’s eyes are upon the reverent, upon those who hope for his gracious help.” (v.18).

Life in this world is a valley of tears. There are many afflictions. For some, like Job or the writer of Lamentations, the afflictions are severe. On our own we are helpless against the onslaught of evil, oppression and injustice. All the more then that we turn to God. Only He is the Savior, the deliverer, the restorer. God is the all-powerful One who loves His people, “delivering them from death, keeping them alive in times of famine.” (v.19).

As we put ourselves in right relationship with God, as we realize who He is and what He does for us, this should lead us to gratitude and worship. “Give thanks to the Lord on the harp; on the ten-stringed lyre offer praise. Sing to God a new song; skillfully play with joyful chant.” (v.2-3). We can never thank God enough for all His blessings. We acknowledge all that He is by our worship. As God works His wonders in us, forming and transforming us to His ways, leading us to be just and righteous as He is, bringing us to redemption, then indeed “praise from the upright is fitting.” (v.1b).

Further, as we worship and place our lives in God’s hands where they properly belong, then we will have hope, joy and trust. These are the proper responses of people who have the Almighty Creator and the all-powerful King taking care of them. We need never be afraid again. Our God provides for us and protects us. “Our soul waits for the Lord, who is our help and shield.” (v.20).

Thus we “put our hope in (the Lord)”[2] (v.22b). Thus “in God our hearts rejoice”[3] (v.21a). Thus in Jesus’ “holy name we trust.”[4] (v.21b).

With hope, joy and trust in the Almighty God who is just and righteous, we have everything we will ever need in life.

* * *

[1] Our theme for 2010.
[2] Our theme for 2007.
[3] Our theme for 2008.
[4] Our theme for 2009.


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