33:1 You godly ones, shout for joy because of the Lord!
It is appropriate for the morally upright to offer him praise.
33:2 Give thanks to the Lord with the harp!
Sing to him to the accompaniment of a ten-stringed instrument!
33:3 Sing to him a new song!
Play skillfully as you shout out your praises to him!
A new song – ‘not so much novel as fresh, prompted by a fresh awareness of who and what he is. True praise requires this fresh sense of God as much as it needs the fervour of joy and the skill of good musicianship.’ (NBC)
Kidner remarks that the three qualities of freshness, skill and fervour are not often found together in religious music.
33:4 For the Lord’s decrees are just,
and everything he does is fair.
33:5 The Lord promotes equity and justice;
the Lord’s faithfulness extends throughout the earth.
The Lord’s faithfulness extends throughout the earth – Kidner remarks that this expression goes even further than Isaiah’s majestic vision of the worldwide reach of God’s glory. That glory is to be understood in terms of his goodness, his ‘faithfulness’.
33:6 By the Lord’s decree the heavens were made;
by a mere word from his mouth all the stars in the sky were created.
33:7 He piles up the water of the sea;
he puts the oceans in storehouses.
33:8 Let the whole earth fear the Lord!
Let all who live in the world stand in awe of him!
33:9 For he spoke, and it came into existence,
he issued the decree, and it stood firm.
33:10 The Lord frustrates the decisions of the nations;
he nullifies the plans of the peoples.
33:11 The Lord’s decisions stand forever;
his plans abide throughout the ages.
Verses 12-19 celebrate God’s election; he has chosen a people to be his ‘special possession’ (v12)
33:12 How blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
the people whom he has chosen to be his special possession.
33:13 The Lord watches from heaven;
he sees all people.
33:14 From the place where he lives he looks carefully
at all the earth’s inhabitants.
33:15 He is the one who forms every human heart,
and takes note of all their actions.
Kidner comments on the run of three ‘alls’ in v13-15. He sees them ‘all’, even though they may think they cannot see him. He looks carefully at them ‘all’, with no-one and nothing escaping his all-seeing scrutiny. He notes ‘all’ their actions, infallibly assessing their motives and effects. Even this is an unmatched blessing, in a world that so often does not know or care about injustice.
33:16 No king is delivered by his vast army;
a warrior is not saved by his great might.
33:17 A horse disappoints those who trust in it for victory;
despite its great strength, it cannot deliver.
We may think our vast armies, our superior might, our intimidating weaponry make us invincible. But, if so, we have not reckoned with God. He is not only all-seeing (13-15), but also all-prevailing.