This psalm was written for the purpose of calling God’s people to worship and praise Him. But there’s a problem. Often our soul is nowhere near wanting to worship, sing, adore, be joyful in God. Right? Very often, that is how I come to God. I need this psalm to shepherd my soul back to God from the foul place it has wandered.
When I read verses 1-3, “shout for joy,” “give thanks,” “sing to Him,” my soul says, “Yea, right. I don’t feel like doing that one bit,” although I know I should. But what’s wrong with me? Psalm 33 gives me the shepherding I need in this moment.
The following verses give me six massive things to ponder about God and myself aimed at pulling me out of my foul place back to looking at and treasuring Him. Verse 8 tells me to “stand in awe of Him” – to think about God and these six massive things. And when I do, God does something powerful inside me.
- v. 4-5 – His words and works are good and faithful. He loves righteousness and justice so that His steadfast love fills the earth more and more.
- v. 6-7 – By His words He made the heavens and the seas. There’s nothing He cannot do.
- v. 10-12 – He stops all harmful plans of anyone that need to be stopped and makes His plans steadfast.
- v. 13-15 – He looks down and sees everything and everyone, all their deeds and needs. That means He sees me and all I need (worrying about this is the foul place my soul has wandered).
- v. 16-17 – Even the mightiest people cannot do for themselves all they need to be whole. That means I cannot do what I need done (knowing about this is the foul place my soul has wandered).
- v. 18-19 – God’s eye is on the one who fears Him to care for them in the most loving way, His way.
When I sit still and quiet, pondering these things, standing in awe of these things (v.8), I begin seeing that I’ve been stuck. I’ve been thinking only of what I can do for myself, things even the mightiest king and warrior cannot do for himself. I’m looking at and trusting myself instead of trusting God’s loving, watchful care for me.
So Psalm 33 does its work. It calls me out of that foul place back to standing in awe of God. At that moment my heart begins to be glad again and see that God is at work in the universe in bigger and better ways than I have ever imagined. He sent His Son, Jesus, for Him to die for our sins and rise again so that by faith He will live inside me and overcome the world. I never would have imagined something so great. And He’s doing it inside me at this very moment. The desire to sing to Him and rejoice returns.
“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