No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.
Psalm 33:16-19 (NIV)
Read: Psalm 33:10-22
Consider: After encouraging us to praise God (Psalm 33:1-9) for who he is and what he has done, the psalmist changes tone to consider God’s plans and the plans of the nations of the world. However, this is still within the context of praising and means that the psalmist wants us to be aware that man’s power is as nothing when compared to God.
The psalmist’s starting point is that the plans of the nations cannot stand against God’s plans. We read a lot today about the situation throughout the world, with countries posturing and threatening peace in their region. The psalmist tells us that while nations and peoples might have plans, they are insignificant in the face of God’s plans.
‘Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord …’. We need to recognise that the psalmist was thinking primarily about the nation of Israel when he wrote these words. Yet despite this there is an eternal truth here for all nations; if a nation’s life is centred around God, then God will bless that nation. If it is not, then no matter what power, success or prestige a nation thinks it has, it can only be transitory.
The verses quoted above from Psalm 33:16-19 tell us that physical power is of no consequence, as none of these can save. We might question this because we see physical armies and armaments giving nations power over others. What the psalmist is saying is that ultimately it is God who decides who is the victor; the size of an army, or the strength of its armaments are no guarantee of success. While the psalmist may have been thinking of being saved physically from danger, we can think of spiritual salvation and in this context it is obvious that only God can save. This is something we need to thank God for when we are praising him.
Within the context of praising God it is good to remember that God is in control of his world, even when things might appear otherwise.
We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you (Psalm 33:20-22).
So when praising God remember to let your heart rejoice in his salvation!
Pray: Father, we praise you for your salvation brought about by the sacrifice of your Son on the cross. May we put our trust wholly in you and not in man’s power, recognising that you are in control of your world. Amen