The book of Psalms is a place of refuge for the discouraged. It’s a book of wonders, poetically describing the wonders of a great God who jealously loves His people. Psalm 33 starts with five commands to praise the Lord (vv 1-3). In the second half of the first verse, the Psalmist tells us that rejoicing in the Lord is an appropriate response for God’s people: “It is appropriate for the morally upright to offer him praise” (Ps. 33:1 NET). The rest of the Psalm offers reasons why God’s people should rejoice in the Lord. We will look at four of those reasons.
We have cause to rejoice in the Lord because . . .
Reason 1: The Lord is just (v 4).
When the Bible says that the Lord is just, it means that He is absolutely fair in everything He does and will maintain moral integrity in all His actions. “For the LORD’s decrees are just, and everything he does is fair”(Ps. 33:4 NET). As redeemed people living in a fallen world, we long for God’s final justice. We rejoice in the thought that in Christ God will vindicate His people.
Not only will God vindicate His people at the final judgment, but also right now we experience the peace and satisfaction of a God who acts a Judge for His people. Corruption prevails all around us, yet God is always exercising justice. Knowing that our God is just in all He does gives us reason to rejoice in a fallen world.
Reason 2: The Lord is Creator (v 9).
The argument goes like this: If you are a created being, then you will naturally have a hunger for God. Even more to the point is that you have a hunger only God can satisfy. But since we are fallen people corrupted by sin, we start this life as an enemy of God and search for satisfaction in everything but God (Rom. 5:10). Both our spiritual and physical needs can only be met by the God who created all things. Even the act of eating and drinking is to direct us to a loving and gracious God. We eat in order that we glorify God. And we glorify God by partaking of Christ (John 6: 54).
As was briefly stated, a problem prohibits us from worshipping God the Creator. We worship other gods. As Paul clarifies in Romans 1:25, a great delusion has occurred. Humanity has exchanged truth for lies and they now worship the creation rather than the Creator. And the sin that’s still present in believers occasionally tricks us into thinking that this is okay. We really know better. We have a desire that only the Creator, who created us, can satisfy.
Reason 3: The Lord is the Deliverer (vv 18-19).
A few months back I saw a movie with a well-known actress. I noticed something was drastically different about her; and the more I observed, the more it was not old age. She looked so different that my friend had said she looked like a caricature of herself. It was apparent that she had gotten so much plastic surgery she actually damaged her face rather than beautify it.
I am neither opposed to plastic surgery nor do I think it’s a sin. I don’t know this actress, although she doesn’t, to my knowledge, profess Christ. But a problem exists in a society whose God tends to be beauty and self-consumption: we naturally assume the problem is external and we do everything possible to fix the outside. The problem is internal. Only Christ can change our hearts, which out from it flows insecurities, anger, disappointment, sadness, bitterness, loneliness, etc. Jesus is sufficient to mend all of those—and more.
Reason 4: The Lord is faithful (v 22).
“May we experience your faithfulness, O LORD, for we wait for you” (Ps. 33:22 NET). The Hebrew word translated here as “faithfulness” can have many different, wonderful shades of meaning (see NKJ as ‘mercy;’ ESV as ‘steadfast love;’ NAU as ‘lovingkindness’). Whether it’s faithfulness, mercy, steadfast love, or lovingkindness, we can be sure that the Lord never changes and will rise like the sun every day to bestow new mercies (Lam. 3:23).
We, like the Psalmist, long to experience God and His never ending faithfulness. His faithfulness is what motivates us to sally on with the course of action He has mapped out for us. We know God is there to assist, nurture, and guide us. We rejoice in the God who is unlike those who have let us done through broken promises. He remains faithful even when were faithless (2 Tim. 2:13).
It can be difficult to have a mindset of rejoicing when so many things are going wrong in our lives. But we have a God who is neither like our problems nor like our environment. Jesus reveals God to us. When we look at Jesus , we see a God who is absolutely fair, a mighty Creator, a powerful Deliverer, and constantly faithful. There is a needed promise for those who trust in this God. Those who trust in this God will be happy (Ps. 33:21). Worship is the act of rejoicing with a happy heart in the God who is faithful and true.