Psalm 33: 11-12 says, “The LORD frustrates the plans of the nations and thwarts all their schemes. But the LORD’s plans stand firm forever, his intentions can never be shaken.”
Psalm 33 begins in worship as the writer ponders on the power of God’s words. God is worshipped as a speaking God. All God needed to do in order to create the universe was utter a word and it came to be. Verse 9 says, “For when he spoke, the world began. It appeared at his command.”
Imagine what kind of power is unleashed in our lives when we choose daily to meditate on and follow the words of God?
The Psalmist goes on to observe that even as nations rage and rail (against COVID-19 or anything else), and things begin to look “godless,” nevertheless, God’s plans cannot be thwarted. I pause to consider that just as God’s plans prove unstoppable on a worldwide scale, they can’t be thwarted on a personal level either.
In verses 13 and 14, God is shown to have an all-encompassing perspective on things with a vantage point that we simply can’t have. (“The Lord looks down from heaven…”) Not only that, but God intimately made and knows all human beings. He keeps watch. He is not taken by surprise with anything or anyone! (“He made all their hearts, so he understands everything they do.”)
As we consider this God who authoritatively speaks life and sees all things, we are reminded that human power is vain: “The best-equipped army or the strongest warhorse cannot give you victory…” (verses 16-17). Any strength we rely on to see us through other than God himself is useless against the Someone who only has to “say the word” and it is over and done.
The phrase in verse 18, “but the LORD watches over those who fear him…” tells us that if we fear God, we need not fear anything or anyone else. He provides us refuge and protection – not to pamper us but to strengthen and prepare us to go back out into the battle we call life.
I love how this Psalm not only begins but also ends in worship. It’s worship not based on good feelings or happy circumstances, but worship focused on the steadfast promises of God’s word and character. “For we trust in his holy name, your unfailing love surrounds us… our hope is in you alone” (verses 20-22). True worship not only gives us peace and joy but also strengthens us in the three great pillars of Christian virtues: faith, hope, and love, thus equipping us to face the future one day at a time.