Scripture reading – Psalm 33; Psalm 36
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Our Scripture reading is from two psalms, Psalm 33 and 36. Today’s devotion is taken from Psalm 33. As in earlier Bible studies, this author’s definitions and amplified word meanings appear in brackets.
Worship in the 21st century is far from the reverential worship you would have known and experienced in the courtyard of the Tabernacle or at the Temple in Solomon’s day. Like all psalms, the LORD is the central focus of Psalm 33, and its theme is a contemplation of God’s majesty as Creator, Almighty, Jehovah, Eternal God.
A Study in the Principles of Congregational Worship (Psalm 33:1-5)
The Duty of Worship (33:1)
Psalm 33:1 – “Rejoice [sing; shout for joy] in the LORD, O ye righteous [just; lawful; blameless]: for praise is comely [beautiful; fitting] for the upright [righteous; right].
Psalm 33:1 emphasizes the DUTY of believers (i.e., the righteous and the upright) to worship the LORD. Old Testament saints understood to be righteous in the sight of the LORD required obedience to His laws and commandments in both spirit and practice. The righteous have both cause and duty to “Rejoice in the LORD” and praise Him (33:1).
The Devotion of Worship (33:3)
Psalm 33:2-3 – Praise [give thanks] the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery [lute] and an instrument of ten strings [ten string instrument]. 3 Sing unto him a new song; play [make music] skillfully [well; pleasing; beautiful] with a loud noise [i.e., like the sound of a trumpet].
The psalmist emphasized the DEVOTION the LORD desired from those who worship Him. Though we are mortals, our Creator invites and has enabled us to express our love and devotion to Him with musical instruments and voice (i.e., congregational music and song, 33:2).
The congregation that assembled to “praise the LORD” was invited to sing a “new song” (33:3a) and “play skillfully with a loud noise” (33:3b).
While “a loud noise” might be an apt description of 21st-century “praise music,” it falls short of the message intended by the psalmist. For example, consider the phrase “play skillfully with a loud noise” (33:3b). Skill in music requires years of training and thousands of hours of practice. To produce beautiful and pleasing music can only be achieved with years of disciplined practice and instruction. Also, the “loud noise” implied the sound of wind instruments, such as a trumpet.
A Declaration of the Word and Works of the LORD (33:4-5)
Psalm 33:4-5 – 4 For the word [spoken word; discourse] of the LORD is right [righteous; just]; and all his works [acts; deeds] are done in truth [faith; faithfulness]. 5 He [the LORD] loveth righteousness [justice] and judgment [right]: the earth [land] is full [filled; overflow] of the goodness [mercy; kindness] of the LORD.
DECLARATION is another word that describes congregational worship. The words and the music of our songs, hymns, and choruses must declare the majesty of the LORD, for He alone is worthy of praise and worship (33:4-5).
The LORD has declared His glory in His Word and works. His Word is right, and His works are honest and true (33:4). He is holy, just, loving, faithful, and good (33:4-5). If we look, we can see the LORD’s loving and devoted hand in the world around us, and His righteousness should be reflected in us.
A Declaration of the Divine Character of the LORD (33:5-19)
Understanding Psalm 33 was a song of praise for congregational worship, notice the focus of the prose was the divine character and attributes of the LORD (33:5-19). The saints of God declared in their singing that the LORD was righteous (33:5a), good (33:5b), omnipotent (33:6-9), and omniscient (33:10). Also, His counsel (literally, His Word) is eternal and immutable, for it “standeth for ever, [and] the thoughts of His heart to all generations” (33:11).
The LORD is vigilant, for He “looketh from heaven; He beholdeth all the sons of men…He looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth” (33:13-14). He is omniscient and knows what lies within the hearts of men, and “He fashioneth their hearts alike; He considereth all their works” (33:15). The LORD is sovereign over all nations (33:16-17), and He is the protector and provider for them who fear and revere Him (33:18-19).
A Doxology of Praise to the LORD (33:20-22)
Psalm 33 concluded with a doxology that boasted of the LORD’s care for His people. I invite you to consider three benefits or virtues the psalmist identified when the saints of God worship the LORD and focus on His divine character. We learn patience, for they “waiteth for the LORD” (33:20). Our faith is increased, for they “have trusted in His holy name” (33:21). Finally, because the LORD is merciful, we will never be hopeless, for “we hopein [the LORD]” (33:22).
Closing thoughts –
I invite you to consider Psalm 33:12 and the promise for the nation and people who serve and worship the LORD. We read, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; And the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance” (Psalm 33:12).
What a great promise! If a nation desires the blessings and joy of the LORD, its people and leaders must turn from their sins and worship him in spirit and truth. Tragically, the decayed state of the nations and the epidemic that produces intense sadness and depression is predictable and inevitable. Reject the LORD, and we invite His judgments.
I conclude our Bible study by inviting you to join me in prayer and claim 2 Chronicles 7:14 for our lives, families, friends, and nations.
2 Chronicles 7:14 – 14If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith
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