Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray with Me”.
In Psalm 33, a hymn of praise, the poet encourages us to sing a new song, accompanied by stringed instruments. Perhaps the poet had composed something new and wanted an enthusiastic and skillful performance. Today, we still need new songs. But when the worship team at my church strikes up an unfamiliar tune, old curmudgeons like me grumble, “Really? Aren’t the old songs good enough?”
The poet introduces two reasons for praise: The first is God’s word in creation (vv. 6-9) and the second, God’s role in history (vv. 10-19). Let’s look at both these reasons.
At creation, God spoke and the universe came into being. The poet says,
By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
and the stars by the breath of his mouth (v. 6).
What a beautiful picture. In winter, my breath creates a small puff of water vapor and ice. But’s God’s breath at creation sent the the galaxies and stars and planets spinning into space.
When God spoke again at creation, the world organized itself into sea and dry land and sky. The poet says,
He gathered the waters of the sea into mounds,
the deep into storehouses (v. 7).
After reviewing creation, the poet moves on to a history lesson, comparing God’s words with the words of humans. He says,
The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing,
he frustrates the plans of the people.
The counsel of the Lord stands forever
the thoughts of his heart to all generations (vv. 11-12).
Yes, God is the overseer of human history, overriding the words and plans of the superpowers and the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund, and Republicans and Democrats and conservatives and liberals everywhere. Perhaps God is not as supportive of your political opinions as you imagine!
Our father, Psalm 33 says,
A king is not saved by his great army,
A warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
Truly, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love (vv. 16, 18).
O you who breathed the stars into place, look upon the history of our time. Confuse the counsels of the nations, frustrate the plans of the people. As the US rachets up the trade war with China and shuts out immigrants, as Britain brexits and Canada elects a new leader; as Russia seeks to resurrect the Soviet glory days, as China flexes its military muscle and oppresses Uighurs and Tibetans, as India reasserts control over Kashmir, and Pakistan threatens nuclear retaliation; we come to you, O God of the nations. We pray to you, O God of history.
Bring the nations to sanity. Frustrate the plans of the leaders. Stay the engines of war, guard the nuclear arsenals, keep your eye on those who hope in your steadfast love. Protect your people.
O Lord, ours is a fearsome time in history as nations vy for power and reject your word. But you called the world into being, you supervise the rise and fall of empires, you watch men wage war and peace, but mostly war. In our lives and sometimes in our churches, we see your gracious hand heal the sick and bring peace and unity. We look to you to guide our personal history and the history of the world with your same steady hand that holds the universe in place.
With the poet, we say
Our soul waits for the Lord,
you are our help and our shield.
Our heart is glad in you,
because we trust your holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.
I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.