How Great Is God?
(6) By the word of Yahweh were the heavens made and, by the breath of his mouth, all their (starry) host. (7) He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap. He puts the ocean in storehouses. (8) Let all the earth fear Yahweh. Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him, (9) for he spoke, and it came to be. He commanded, and it stood firm. (10) Yahweh frustrates the counsel of nations. He thwarts the plans of the peoples. (11) The counsel of Yahweh stands firm forever, the plans of his heart to all generations. (12) Blessed is the nation whose God is Yahweh, the people he chose as his own inheritance.
Several repetitions and synonyms point us to the message of these verses. First, the psalmist uses four expressions to indicate how God created the universe: “by the word of Yahweh” and “by the breath of his mouth” (vs. 6), “he spoke” and “he commanded” (vs. 9). There can be only one response to such a demonstration of power, to “fear” and “stand in awe” of the one who created all that exists by simply calling it into existence (vs. 8).
The author then contrasts the “counsel of nations,” that is, “the plans of the peoples,” with the “counsel of Yahweh," that is, “the plans of his heart” (vss. 10 & 11). Whatever we seek to do apart from God will be thwarted by the one whose plans stand firm “to all generations” (vs. 11). It is no wonder that the psalmist closes this segment by rejoicing in Israel’s covenant relationship with such an awesome God (vs. 12).
I. Yahweh’s power displayed in creation (6-9)
II. Yahweh’s power displayed in human experience (10-12)
God’s power, seen in creation and in human experience, should cause us both to fear him and to delight in his blessings.
Throughout scripture are scattered awe-inspiring descriptions of our great God. No one passage contains the complete picture. Yahweh is far too glorious for that. However, when we encounter a passage such as this segment in Psalm 33, we should do our best to understand all that we can about his person and work. Two facets of Yahweh's glory are revealed in these verses. First, we see how he created the universe by commanding it into existence. Then we observe how he deals with humanity, either by frustrating the plans of those opposed to him or by blessing those in covenant relationship with him.
Paul describes the response of reluctant praise the world will someday give to the Lord Jesus: “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11). Our hearts long for that day when the entire universe will acknowledge the greatness and glory of our overwhelmingly powerful God.