Worshipping the Lord of Steadfast Love — Psalm 33
H.A. Ironsides, in his sermon on Psalm 33, defines worship simply as adoration: worship is the soul’s adoration of God Himself. All of the things we do in worship are meant to assist us in adoring God, but none of those things are actually worship. We worship God when we adore him for who he is. Period.
Like any great song book, the Psalms have an order. It is:
- Psalms 1-41 — These psalms are primarily Psalms of David and focus on statements of distress and confidence in the God who can save.
- Psalms 42-72 — These psalms have multiple authors and again focus on distress and lamentation, but they are more communal than personal.
- Psalms 73-89 — These psalms focus on the reality of injustice in the world, particularly with reference to the justice of God as seen in the light of his presence.
- Psalms 90-106 — These 16 psalms are a response to the previous 89 in general, and 73-89 in particular. The gracious and mighty reign of the Lord becomes prominent.
- Psalms 107-150 — These final psalms focus on the fact that God does answer prayer and his presence and word is highly valued among his people.
The order is as divinely inspired as the hymns. As we read the Psalms, we often see the flow of thought from one psalm to the next. This is certainly the case with Psalms 32 and 33.
Forgiveness Leads to Worship
Psalm 32 is primarily about confessing sin and the gracious forgiveness that God offers to us. David is consumed by the effects of his sin, which he feels in the very core of his being. He suffers spiritually and physically. He confessed his sin before God and found joy in the blessed forgiveness of God. And the psalm concludes with verse 11.
- Psalm 32:11 — “Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!”
Now, we begin Psalm 33 with these words:
- Psalm 33:1-3 — “Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright. Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings! Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.”
Do you see the connection there? I hope so. Psalm 32 ends with a call to shout for joy and Psalm 33 begins with the same call. It is as if the psalms were ordered to flow after one another. They were.
We have a variety of ways that we think about worship.
- Listening to Preaching
- Reading the Bible
All of these things assist our worship, but are they worship? No. H.A. Ironsides, in his sermon on Psalm 33, defines worship simply as adoration: worship is the soul’s adoration of God Himself. All of the things we do in worship are meant to assist us in adoring God, but none of those things are actually worship. We worship God when we adore him for who he is. Period. Ironside continues:
“It is occupation not with His gifts, not coming to Him to receives something, but occupation with the Giver; the heart going out in gratitude not only for what He has done for us but also what He is in Himself.”
This is true worship. We adore God for who He is.
Let me ask you: Can your worship of God be defined in this way? Do you come before Him simply to adore Him for who He is? Or, do you come to get something from Him? Do you do your devotions into order to ensure that you will continue to get your blessing from him?
I’m convicted. Maybe you are as well.
Why Do We Adore Him?
The Psalm gives us four reasons the Psalmist gives for adoring God. They are:
- He is our Creator— Psalm 33:6-7 — He spoke the word into existence. Period. All of creation flows freely from the mouth and genius of God.
- He is our Ruler— Psalm 33:6-12 — He spoke the world into existence and continues to govern it by the word of his power. He watches over the world and brings to reality the plans of his heart.
- He is our Savior. — Psalm 33:12,20 — God saves his people for His heritage. He preserves us through faith in Christ. Christ’s died for our sins and raised for our life. The Lord is our Savior.
- He is the Lover of our Souls— Psalm 33:4-5 — God is a God of love. He loves his people.
Jesus is the Word of God.
This all points to Jesus. He is the Word in the flesh. He is the creator. He is the king. He is our salvation. He is love. The word of God is central to this Psalm.
- Psalm 33:4 — “For the word of the LORD is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness.
- Psalm 33:6 — “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.
- Psalm 33:9 — “For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.”
- Psalm 33:10 — “The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples.”
- Psalm 33:11 — “The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations.”
The Apostle Paul sums the point well.
- Colossians 1:16-17 — “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things were created through him and for him. All he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”