Psalms 33–35: Joy & Deliverance

Read the Bible in 2023 ◊ Week 12: Wednesday

Be glad in Yahweh and rejoice,
you righteous ones;
And shout for joy,
all you who are upright in heart.
Psalm 32:11 LSB
Sing for joy in Yahweh, O righteous ones;
Praise is becoming to the upright.
Psalm 33:1 LSB

Wednesday’s Bible reading is Psalms 33–35. Our God is Lord of all creation, Ruler of heavens and earth, who sees the acts of nations; our God also watches over those who fear Him, and near to the brokenhearted. It is no wonder there is so much joy and praise in these psalms.

He who forms the hearts of them all,
He who understands all their works.
Psalm 33:15 LSB

Omniscience is the word that comes to mind as I think over these psalms. God knows all things. He is Creator, and He knows us and understands us. He sees not only what the rulers of nations are doing, but He see each of us.

Psalm 33 is not titled as a psalm of David, but look at the ending of Psalm 32, and the beginning of Psalm 33.

Be glad in Yahweh and rejoice,
you righteous ones;
And shout for joy,
all you who are upright in heart.
Psalm 32:11 LSB
Sing for joy in Yahweh, O righteous ones;
Praise is becoming to the upright.
Give thanks to Yahweh with the lyre;
Sing praises to Him with a harp of ten strings.
Sing to Him a new song;
Play skillfully with a loud shout.
For the word of Yahweh is upright,
And all His work is
done in faithfulness.
He loves righteousness and justice;
The earth is full of the lovingkindness of Yahweh.
Psalm 33:1–5 LSB

M’Caw and Motyer write:

“This poem, which has no title, picks up part of the concluding sentence of the previous psalm, but, unlike it, is not a personal record of experience. It is a corporate expression of prayise and worship marked by balance of thought and symmetrical structure.

The introduction (vv. 1–3) and the conclusion (vv. 20–22) are clearly dis­tinguised from the main body of the poem. 1–3 describes the enthusiastic singing of a choir accompanied by music. 20–22 describe the fervent faith of the worshipers who are surrounded by the protection and mercy of the Lord. The symmetry and sequence of these ideas are significant. The anthem of praise becomes the prayer of faith. The change is also from the externals of worship to the inward experiences of trust and hope.”1

Psalm 33 is such a glorious psalm of joy and praise. The earth is full of the lovingkindness of Yahweh.

Alec Motyer comments on verse 3, Sing to Him a new song:

“The idea expressed by ‘a new song’ is of a song freshly responding, as when a new truth is grasped or an old truth freshly appreciated.”2

Is there a new truth about who God is that you’ve learned recently? Or something you already know? What new song can you sing for God?

In Psalms 34 and 35, the focus becomes more personal. God’s Word is so very real—the Bible gives us life as it is. We are beset with many problems and afflictions and we do know fear and anxiety. God in His kindness and love has given us in the book of Psalms wonderful poetry that expresses our deepest longings and hopes, and as we read we find we are not the first to know betrayal or attack or loneliness or fear. Psalm 34 is very specific as David thanks God for his deliverance from Abimelech, but in this psalm we also find words of joy and praise to give words to our own feelings of relief and gratitude.

I will bless Yahweh at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul will make its boast in Yahweh;
The humble will hear it and rejoice.
O magnify Yahweh with me,
And let us exalt His name together.
I inquired of Yahweh, and He answered me,
And delivered me from all that I dread.
Psalm 34:1–4 LSB

We’re told again that God’s eye is toward the righteous as David sings:

The eyes of Yahweh are toward the righteous
And His ears are open to their cry for help.
The face of Yahweh is against evildoers,
To cut off the memory of them from the earth.
The righteous cry, and Yahweh hears
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
Yahweh is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:15–18 LSB

David is in dire straits again in Psalm 35 as he cries out:

Contend, O Yahweh, with those who contend with me;
Fight against those who fight against me.
Take hold of shield and large shield
And rise up for my help.
Draw also the spear and the battle‑axe to meet those who pursue me;
Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.”
Psalm 35:1–3 LSB

The psalmists didn’t live wrapped in protected cotton wool—we know David was on the run and in threat of his life for years— and neither do we. As the psalmists walk by faith and cry out to God from their hearts, God in His grace uses their words to help us do the same. As the psalmists rejoice in God’s mercy and deliverance, God in His grace uses their words to teach us to hope in Him and wait on Him. As David looks forward to when God’s deliverance comes, so can we.

And my tongue shall utter Your righteousness
And Your praise all day long.
Psalm 35:28 LSB

For a brief overview of the structure and poetry of Psalms see my post, The Five Books of Psalms.
Silvesterzug Laterne: Bk muc. (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Thirleme – Lake District – England with Herdwick sheep grazing in the foreground: StaraBlazkova. GFDL-1.2-or-later. (CC BY-SA 3.0). (CC BY-SA 2.5). (CC BY-SA 2.0). (CC BY-SA 1.0).
1Leslie S. M’Caw and J. T. Motyer, “Psalms,” The New Bible Commentary: Revised, D. Guthrie, J. A. Motyer, eds., A. M. Stibbs, D. J. Wiseman, contributing eds., (Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove IL: 1970) 471.
2Alec Motyer, Psalms By The Day: A New Devotional Translation (Christian Focus Publications Ltd, Ross-shire, Scotland, U.K. 2016) 82.

I’m using Michael Coley’s Bible reading plan (one page PDF to print) to read through the Bible in 2023. Each day my posts are on different books because he divides Bible readings into seven categories, one for each day of the week: Epistles, The Law, History, Psalms, Poetry, Prophecy and Gospels. There’s more information on his plan and other ones at Read the Bible in 2023.

Copyright ©2011–2023 Iwana Carpenter

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