Psalm 33


There is no heading for this psalm, so we don’t know who wrote it. However, this psalm is a psalm of praise and it directs our minds to the sovereignty of God and the power of His Word.

It begins by praising God for His creation and how He works in and through creation and ends by directing our minds on the redemption which God provides for mankind.

‘Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to him a new song; play skilfully, and shout for joy. For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love. By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts the deep into storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the people of the world revere him. For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.’ Psalm 33:1-9

The opening words appear to flow from the last few words of the previous psalm, ‘all you who are upright in heart!’ Psalm 32:11. It’s clear that it’s aimed at believers, that is, the righteous, those who have responded in obedience to God’s revelation through His creation and His Word.

Those who are ‘righteous’, Romans 3:21-26, by God’s decree have an even greater responsibility to rejoice and praise. Those who are ‘upright’, Proverbs 8:8, don’t need to be commanded to praise God, they just can’t help but praise Him for everything He has done in and through creation.

The harp and the lyre, are both stringed instruments which were introduced by David so that they could bring an atmosphere of tranquillity during the sacrificial events at the temple.

Just as a side note, the harp is the oldest stringed instrument mentioned in the Scriptures, Genesis 4:21. The lyre is first mentioned in 1 Samuel 10:5, and we get a good description of it in Isaiah 5:12.

The psalmist tells us to sing a ‘new song’, Psalm 40:3 / Psalm 96:1 / Psalm 98:1 / Psalm 144:9 / Psalm 149:1 / Isaiah 42:10 / Revelation 5:9, these are songs which praised God for His goodness. To ‘play skilfully’ basically means to play well, and ‘shouts of joy’ indicates rejoicing, not so much the noise, Job 8:21 / 1 Samuel 4:5 / Psalm 81:10.

They tell us that God’s Word, is ‘right and true’, and He is ‘faithful in all He does’, in other words, God loves just judgment and since He is a God of truth, then His judgment can only be just. When we look at creation, we’re reminded that everything God created was good, it was and still remains a demonstration of His unfailing love.

God’s spoken word resulted in the creation of the universe, Genesis 1:3 / Genesis 1:6 / Colossians 1:16 / Hebrews 1:3. He created the heavens above, Genesis 1:1 / Psalm 19:1-4, He created the starry hosts, Genesis 1:16-18 / Genesis 2:1 / Isaiah 1:9, simply with His breath.

God originally created seas by dividing the waters from the land. Waters were gathered above the firmament in the heavens and underground storehouses, Genesis 1:9-10.

The word for ‘jars’ in Hebrew is the word, ‘ned’, which means to heap. In other words, the waves of the sea heaped up together like mounds. He collected those waters, and kept them in their places as if they were solid matter, Joshua 3:13 / Joshua 3:16 / Exodus 15:8 / Psalm 78:13. This tells us of the absolute control and power God has over the waters.

God is the judge of all men, hence why we should fear Him, Psalm 5:7. All of mankind should fear Him because His power is shown in creation, Genesis 1:3 / Genesis 1:6 / Genesis 1:9 / Genesis 1:11 / Genesis 1:14 / Genesis 1:20 / Genesis 1:24 / Genesis 1:26. There is power in God’s Word, and whatever He says, will be done, Luke 7:1-9.

‘The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance. From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth—he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do. 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.’ Psalm 33:10-17

Here, the psalmist contrasts the power of God with the power of the nations and the psalmist tells us that even though governments think they are in control, it is actually God who is in control.

All the plans and purposes of the nations of the earth that conflict with the purposes of God will be in vain, God’s will, will be done, Isaiah 8:9-10 / Isaiah 19:3.

We noted that God is the judge of all men, hence why we should fear Him, Psalm 5:7 / Psalm 33:8. We also noted that all of mankind should fear Him because His power is shown in creation.

Here, David gives us another two reasons why all of mankind should fear Him. We should fear Him because He has the power to overthrow any human power who goes against His will, Psalm 33:10, and we should fear Him because God’s will, will be done in everything, Psalm 33:11.

Any nation who has the Lord as its God will be blessed, which also applies to any individual, Psalm 1:1. The psalmist appears to have the Hebrew people in mind here, as he speaks about ‘the people He chose for His inheritance’.

The Hebrews were God’s chosen people, who He called His inheritance, Deuteronomy 4:20 / Deuteronomy 9:26 / Deuteronomy 32:9 / Psalm 74:2 / Psalm 78:62 / Psalm 78:71 / Psalm 94:5 / Jeremiah 12:7 / Jeremiah 12:9.

As it was with the nation of Israel, so it is with the church. God chose the nation of Israel, and so, everyone who was physically born into the nation became a chosen person of God.

God chose the church, that is, His people, Ephesians 1:11-14, and everyone who is spiritually born, John 3:3-5, into the church by obedience to the Gospel, becomes a member of the chosen body, Ephesians 4:1-10.

God sees and hears everything which is happening on Earth, he knows the hearts of all men. It doesn’t matter if they are a king with many men in his army, or a warrior, who has many men under him, no human effort alone determines events, Ecclesiastes 9:11. God’s work and plan in, and beyond, and sometimes instead of human effort, accomplish His purpose, Daniel 4:25.

Although a horse is very strong, Job 39:19, it is limited, it doesn’t really provide that much safety in battle. In other words, don’t trust in the strength of a horse for salvation.

‘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. 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 be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in you.’ Psalm 33:18-22

Here the psalmist uses a metaphor for God, he says the ‘eyes of the Lord’, we know that God doesn’t have eyes like ours, He is Spirit, John 4:24. The psalmist is using words we can understand to point out that God sees those who are His, those who fear Him, and those who hope in Him.

God always sees the needs of those who obey Him and He delivers them from death and sustains them through times of drought, Job 5:20. Therefore, God is our help when we are in need, Psalm 10:14 / Psalm 22:11 / Psalm 30:10, He and our shield in times of persecution from our enemies, Psalm 5:12.

Because God is our deliverer and shield, we can only but rejoice and trust Him and His Name, Psalm 20:1. This is why our hope is in the Lord, Psalm 25:3 / Psalm 62:1 / Romans 8:24-25 / Hebrews 6:17-20, and His unfailing love, Psalm 13:5.


The psalmist begins by reminding us to rejoice because of God’s character and power as seen in His creation and they end by reminding us to rejoice because of what God does for us.

Most people of the world hope in something or someone, some put their hope in kings, queens, governments, or even science. The world sees hope as some kind of wishful thinking but our hope comes from God, Psalm 42:5.

For the Christian, hope is when God has promised that something is going to happen and you put your trust in that promise. The Christian hope is a living hope, not just for things which will happen in this life, Romans 5:3-4 / 1 Corinthians 13:13, but for the life to come, 1 Thessalonians 4:13 / Titus 1:2 / 1 Peter 1:3-5 / 1 Peter 1:13.

The hymn ‘My only hope is you Jesus’ by Keith Lancaster, is a perfect way to end our thoughts here.

My only hope is You Jesus
My only hope is You
From early in the morning to late at night
My only hope is You

My only peace is You Jesus
My only peace is You
From early in the morning to late at night
My only peace is You

My only joy is You Jesus
My only joy is You
From early in the morning to late at night
My only joy is You

All that I need is You Jesus
All that I need is You
From early in the morning to late at night
All that I need is You

Go To Psalm 34