“[T]he earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.” Psalm 33b
I could sit here and talk about all the things going wrong in the world. I could hope the second coming would be soon so that I wouldn’t have to experience any more of this evil in the world. I could sit for hours upon hours and tell of all the horrible stuff going on in the news all over the world. I could even get closer to home and rehash all the struggles and things that are wrong around me and in my life. I could rehearse the “Woe is the world!” and the “Woe is me!” story very well. But then I’d be doing an absolute disservice to You, Lord.
When I read Your Word I find over and over again that You are a lover of righeousness and judgment. Not only that, but I find over and over again and here in Psalm 33 that the earth is full, yes, FULL of the goodness of the LORD. The first thing I’m reminded to do in this Psalm is to Rejoice in the LORD. Rejoice, not whine. Rejoice, not cry out my woes or the woes of the world. Rejoice, in the LORD. And I’m not even rejoicing over all the good things that are happening. I’m rejoicing in the LORD regardless of what is happening around me. You are my focus, LORD, You alone.
See, I’m not the only one who has to be reminded of this. This whole Psalm is a reminder to it’s author. It’s like he was saying, “I’ve got to rejoice in the Lord here. I can’t reflect God’s righteousness, I can’t set forth a right picture of Him, if I’m busy complaining and setting up fear in people’s hearts about the terrible nature of things. My mouth must get busy uttering praise. My fingers need to be busy playing music so I can rejoice in Him and lead others to do the same. I need to sing a new song not about what is occurring around me, not centered on me at all, but centered on and all about Him. The works of men fail, but His Word is forever and true and right. His works are sure and a done deal.”
And it doesn’t stop there. Listen as he continues, “He loves righteousness and judgment. He IS Righteousness and Judgment. It’s not just that the day will come. It’s already begun! If I look around for Him I see Him everywhere. Yes, look! The earth is full, and I mean FULL of the goodness of the LORD. I see lives being changed. I see evil coming to an end here and there. I see evil being used as a means to turn lives deeper to God. I see beauty in ashes and life from death. I see a God who made the heavens and all their hosts by the breath of his mouth. I see this God in action still. I see the God who gathered the water together and formed their great storehouses. I don’t fear what’s going on. He’s the only one who deserves my fear. When I look at Him instead of the world, I stand in awe and so does everyone else that looks at Him.”
I don’t want to stop listening. I don’t want to stop being reminded. I want to remind others. I want to remember. I want to continually see for myself. “He is the one who spoke and it all was done. He was the one who commanded and it still remains fast. Men have counseled otherwise, but they fall, and are no more. People make plans, but what of them? The next person comes along and changes them. But not so God. His plans, his desires stand forever. The thoughts of his heart aren’t fickle, changing things. Generations upon generations can count on them. Nations can be blessed by them. People are being chosen to live in their inheritance.”
Think about that. This God who created everything by just His command, who holds all things together just by His thoughts and His being, this God even considers us worth considering. “He looks from His holy place and sees us, mere men, mere women, mere boys and girls. He sees every one of us who exists or who ever has existed or ever will exist. He’s fashioned every one of us, all our hearts and souls and minds. We’re all alike in that sense, with one created purpose, fashioned by His command, for His praise, and invited to know and experience Him. He looks at us and knows us by heart even to our innermost recesses and He considers our works. Think about this, my Soul. I’ve just expounded on the works of God. What is He seeing when He considers my works? What are they in comparison? What are our works that we think so much of them? Are kings saved by the multitude of their army? What if God decides otherwise? Can he not sweep down and confuse a massive army so that they turn on themselves? What of a mighty man? Can he always deliver himself? What of Sampson? What happened when he forgot the praise of the LORD? What about the mighty war horse? Have they not fallen in battle? But what if the eye of the LORD is upon us? What then? What if my hope is in You, Lord?”
Are you hearing the reminder? Are you there with the author? I want to be. “God, You are my deliverer. Just as You delivered Israel and individuals who trusted You and walked in that trust, so You will deliver me. What’s the promised land? Is it just a place? Or is it being in Your presence and Your safety. You are the One who keeps me and keeps me alive in famine. There has to be both. There has to be something to be delivered from. There has to be times of famine. There has to be a way for me to learn and experience what faith in You is and what it means. I have to go through this stuff to learn to wait for You, to learn that You alone are my help and shield. I have to learn that no other king has the power to save me. I have to learn that no war horse can deliver me. I have to learn that even the greatest of my strength is nothing. I must learn that You alone are my help and shield. When I come to that point, everything else in the world pales in comparison. Then I will learn to rejoice from the depths of my heart because I’ll have learned to trust in all that You are.
And I can’t stop there. I have to listen to the final words of this Psalm. “Let Your mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in You.” Does that mean that the amount of mercy that I receive or that I perceive that I receive is dependent upon something? I think it does mean that. I think that the amount and degree to which I see Your mercy extended to me and to the world around me is weightily dependent upon how I hope in You.
What is it to hope in You, Lord? It’s to wait. It means me learning what real patience is. It means that something or Someone is causing me to wait and I am fully submitted to that. I have to wait because my Answer says so and my Answer is coming. And because of that, I choose to wait. And yes, there is pain in the waiting. But in the waiting is where trust grows. In this waiting is where I learn to adhere myself to You. I learn to be pierced to the soul so deeply that You are engraved within my very being. The harder the battle, the deeper the entrenchment in You. This is what You are looking for. This is what You are preparing me for. This is why You allow, bring, place all this stuff in our lives. Why? Because You are looking for people who fear You, who hope in Your mercy, who are expectantly and dependently waiting to see You, to see Your mercy, to experience You, to experience Your mercy, not just once but continually because You are a living God. This is worthy of rejoicing!
Are my finances overwhelming? Rejoice! This is God’s opportunity to show mercy. Has cancer entered the scene yet again? Rejoice! This is God’s opportunity to show mercy. Does the mountain loom overhead? Do the hosts of the invading army strike fear? Is the famine long and hard? Is the pain deep and real? Rejoice and wait upon the LORD! He IS our Help and our Shield! He IS our Hope! His mercy IS coming! Look for it. Expect it! I don’t know what it will look like when it comes. It may not be what I expected but I do know this. When it comes, I will recognize it! And I will receive it. And it will be an opportunity for not only You and I to rejoice, Lord, but all those who are looking on, both angels and people.
You know, Lord, I don’t know of any person in Scripture who at some point in their walk on earth didn’t weep or cry over some situation in their life that seemed overwhelming. Not one! It was painful for them and it’s painful for me. But those who didn’t give up on You, those who left that junk in Your hands and didn’t take it in their own, those who waited even though it hurt, what beautiful and tremendous ways You showed Your mercy to them! I see Noah’s deliverance and that of his family. I see You standing up on Moses’ behalf. I see You restoring a right relationship with David and restoring his heart to You. I see Mary always being provided for and loved on. I see peoples’ lives being changed like that of Mary Magdelene and so many more. Sometimes I see people being delivered from fire or the sword. And sometimes I see people stoned to death but shining with the glory of God so that someone else remembers the mercy seen in that scene, the mercy shown on that face of a life that understands forgiveness and trusts in You, Lord. So, yes, it may not outwardly look like it, but absolutely, the earth is FULL of the goodness of God!