Summary: Psalm 33 reminds us that the LORD’s plans for the nations of the world will be accomplished. It also reminds us to look to the LORD for safety and blessing for our country
“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” If you have been paying attention to the news in the past couple of years you know that there are those who object to the current wording of the pledge of allegiance. Specifically they believe the words “under God,” should be taken out. They argue that having those words in the pledge of allegiance establishes a religion for our country, which they say, is contrary to the First Amendment of the Constitution.
If you have been paying attention to the controversy you also probably have heard the response from conservative religious groups. They want the pledge of allegiance to be spoken with the words “under God” in it. “We are a nation under God,” they say. They point to the fact that our founding fathers started this country based on the belief in a Supreme Being. Some even take the argument a step farther and say that we were founded as a Christian nation and so the words “under God,” are appropriate.
So are we a nation under God? From the Scriptures the answer is “yes,” and “no.” Like all nations in the world we are under God’s power and control. In the second Scripture lesson for this morning the Apostle Paul reminded us of that truth. God has established all authority on earth and so we are a nation under God. However, there is no nation on earth today that can be considered as God’s chosen people. The invisible Kingdom of those who receive salvation through faith in Jesus spans the globe. Because of those facts we have to say that the United States is not a special nation “under God” in a way that is different from all other nations in the world.
To consider these thoughts more deeply before our 4th of July celebration let’s turn our attention to the Psalm for today. We will focus on Psalm 33:10-22. In this portion of God’s inspired Word we will receive several reminders about the nation in which we live and in what ways it is “under God.” We will also be comforted by the fact that as God’s children through Christ we can look to the One who rules the nations for all that we need for body and soul. You will find the verses that we will consider in our sermon printed on an insert in the worship folder. (Read text.) Through these words of the living and true God may the Holy Spirit lead us to:
“TRUST THE ONE WHO RULES THE NATIONS”
I. Trust that His plans for the nations will prevail
II. Trust in Him as our source of safety and blessing
When this Psalm was written there was one nation in the world whose God was the LORD. The citizens of Israel were God’s chosen people. They were a “theocracy,” because God was their ruler. But the temptation was always there for them to forget about God. In the First Scripture lesson for this Sunday we heard Moses warn the Israelites about becoming proud of their nation and their strength and ignoring the LORD.
Although Psalm 33 applied to the Jews in a special way its truths still apply to us. All that we enjoy in our country comes from God. The LORD still rules the nations and so he rules our nation. Our safety and the many blessings that we enjoy as citizens of the U.S.A. come from God. Like the Israelites of old we are reminded to trust the One who rules the nations. His plans for the nations will prevail. He is the real source of our safety and blessings.
As we look at some of the happenings in our nation and around the world we might get the impression that things are out of control. Nations rise and fall. Wars and rumors of wars fill the news. But with the eyes of faith we see the truth that God is in control.
It is a great comfort for us to hear that the LORD still rules the nations. Psalm 33 tells us, “10 The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. 11 But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.” Although unseen the LORD unfolds history as “his story.”
So what are the LORD’s plans for the nations? And what are his plans for our nation? It might be better to ask what his plans are for the people inside this nation and all the nations of the world. He wants all people to be brought to faith in his Son. 1 Timothy 2:4 tells us that God, “wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” Romans 16:26 reminds us that God has given mankind his Word, “so that all nations might believe and obey him.” In other places the Bible tells us that God unfolds history with that goal in mind. God also wants the individual people in all the nations of the world to live their lives according to his will. Those nations that fight against God’s Commandments will find themselves on the losing end of history.