salm 33 begins with an admonition to ‘rejoice in the Lord, you righteous’, and then tells us that praise benefits or is ‘comely for the upright’. So let’s break this down a little bit before moving on. First of all, ‘ra-ne-noo’ usually translated as ‘rejoice’, actually means to give a joyful shout, and the action is directed specifically to the righteous. Now a righteous man, or Tzadik, is usually considered to be someone who conforms to a legal or moral or ethical code; but what does the Bible say? Isaiah declares that there is no one who is righteous, not even one in chapters 41 and 64, and Paul quotes the same in Romans 3:10. But as we read further in Romans chapter three we discover the good news that righteousness, or being a Tzadik is a free gift of Adonai to all who believe, or place their trust in His salvation through Yeshua, Israel’s Messiah!
The psalmist continues saying that this joyful shout is fitting for, or is comely for the upright. My friend Don Moen wrote a song about this verse restating the Hebrew in a more contemporary fashion when he sang, “Praise looks good on you!” It is not only a line that brings a smile to my face, but it also carries a revelation, I believe; praise in our mouths casts a reflection on our countenance. If we will surrender a joyful shout to the Lord, our face and our attitude will surely follow suit! He continues to encourage the righteous to sing and play instruments loudly, but also with skill. This is not loud for loud’s sake, (is that English?), but to play and sing with skill and anointing. I have spoken this to many a local worship leader. If we are singing and playing as part of a worship team, it should be done with skill as well as with heart!
For the next few verses we are reminded about the power of the word of Adonai; how the heavens were created, the seas and their depths, His counsel and the folly of those who disregard it. These verses remind me of Hebrews 1:3 that declares the same saying that all things are sustained and upheld by the power of His word, and Colossians 1:17 says that in Him all things exist and are held together. Because of the greatness of Adonai and His word, the psalmist rightly states in verse 12 that any nation who chooses the Lord is a blessed nation. I couldn’t agree more! The nation of Israel overcame all their enemies because of the greatness of the God they served. Likewise, I believe the greatness of our own nation depends on the greatness of the God we serve. The Psalm goes on to remind us that salvation doesn’t come because of strength or might, and that war horses are an awesome asset in battle, but deliverance only comes from the Lord. Remember how the tiny army of 300 with Gideon chased the enormous army of 125,000 Midianites? Or how about the great victory of Jehoshaphat against three armies with only a group of praisers?
Adonai is truly our only hope. We depend on His grace and mercy to sustain us, to deliver us and to give us a future and a hope. And because we do trust in Him, we will give Him the praise that is do His Holy Name. So give the Lord a joyful shout, you righteous, because He is worthy, and praise looks good on you!