A sermon on Psalm 33, first published in the Baptist Times on June 10th 2010

Sermon outline

 Many people worship, in many ways.  Followers of just about every religion, from animism to Zoroastrianism, do it.  People in a football stadium or at a rock gig may also be said to worship.  Christians of every shade and hue worship in all different ways in their chapels and cathedrals – but why?

 We worship because of what God has made.  Everything from the heavens which he spoke into being (v.6), to the stars he breathed out of his mouth (v.6) to the vast roaring oceans (v.7) are his handiwork.  Evangelicals can be a little afraid of waxing lyrical about nature in case they end up worshipping it by mistake.  However, a gasp at a waterfall’s power, or the flicker of a smile as a butterfly flaps its painted wings may be every bit as much an act of worship as a hundred ‘hallelujahs’.

 We worship because of what he has done, too.  David, to whom the Psalm is attributed, knew that God kept every single one of his promises to him.  He wrote the psalm as king only because God had kept his promise to see him crowned.

 Finally, we worship God quite simply because it is the right thing to do.  The psalm resounds with instructions to take out your harp or raise your voice with a shout of praise.  Whilst these things may sometimes be involuntary, the instruction here is to get on and do them regardless. God deserves to be worshipped – end of story.

  Scriptural issues 

  • It is always worth exploring the relationship of a psalm like this with other passages of scripture. Compare v.1 – 9 with Job 38 – 41, for instance.

 

  • On what past experiences was David basing his confidence in v16 – 19?

 

  • V.12 – 13 appear to reinforce a kind of spiritual geography where heaven is ‘up’ and earth is ‘down’.  Is this helpful?

 

Current issues 

  • Is it possible for us to recognise the power of secular forms of worship in the football stadium or the arts arena, without necessarily joining in?

 

  • How do we read v.18-19 in the light of the continuing martyrdom of Christians in some countries around the world?

 Creation all started as a direct result of his spoken will. This includes everything from the single-celled amoeba to the ridiculously complex protein molecule.  It includes the mayfly which lives for just a day and the stalagmite which takes a thousand years to grow a millimetre or two.  All of this we attribute to Him.’

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