Psalm 33:12-22
The Rev. Dr. Robert S. Langworthy, preaching
June 18, 2023

We ought to be happy that God wants to make us happy, for God can do anything!

And we ought to be happy that in this Psalm God tells us how we can collaborate with Him in His making us happy.

Last Sunday, as we reflected on the first half of this Psalm, we saw how praising God in song and fearing God in lives of obedience expedites our growing happy.  Today, we reflect on this Psalm’s second half to see how trusting God does the same thing.

After declaring that “happy is the nation whose God is the Lord”, this Psalm explains why such a nation is happy.  Though this Psalm doesn’t use the language, it conveys the thought that it’s because God is the perfect Father we’ve always wanted.

Before any of us had the capacity to make a choice about a relationship with God, God out of a great love for us resolved to take us into His care and circle of concern.  To that end, God – with endless vigilance and endless diligence – watches over us to protect us and to provide for us.  Today’s scripture talks about how God “looks down from heaven”, “sees” us, and “observes” everything going on in our lives.

This means that not one of us is invisible to this perfect Father, and that He follows every twist and turn of our life’s journey. Watching, He stays ready always to take action and be “our help and shield”.

Thus, we never need fear facing any challenge or setback without God’s notice and without His eagerness to support us as much as we let Him.  This perfect Father ever stands by to supplement our efforts with His own, as we deal with our obstacles and strive to realize our best dreams.  God does this even for those who can do the most on their own.  He enables them to overcome what they never could on their own and to reach goals they never could on their own.  After all, this Psalm says, not even a king is saved by his great army, or a warrior by his great strength; and even a war horse with its great might is “a vain hope for victory”!

Therefore, even those of us less capable than such power players can, if we “fear [God]” and “hope in his steadfast love”, count on God to bring us to victory in life, and “wait for the Lord” to do so at just the right time.  We can know happiness in trusting a perfect Father who is ever trustworthy.

If we can believe that God is like that, we can be happy even when we have to wait a long time for our heart’s desire or we suffer hard knocks in life.  Even then, we will want to exclaim as verse 23 here does: “Our heart is glad in God, because we trust in his holy name.”  God is the perfect Father for whom we’ve always longed and who turns out to have been there for us all along.

In Christianity Today a year ago, Tori Peterson gave her personal testimony.  Tori grew up in a foster care system that left her feeling she didn’t matter much to anyone.  Moved from one foster home to another, her heart grew cautious and even suspicious toward everyone and toward God.

Aware of her “daddy issues”, she nevertheless kept thinking that, as she put it, “having a [true] father would solve lots of my problems”.  But her not finding an earthly father she could trust made her mistrust those who said she already had a true Father in heaven.  If God were, as the song says, “a good, good Father”, why hadn’t He granted her a true father?

Despite her doubts, Tori couldn’t stop yearning for one.

Some Christian friends encouraged her to read the Bible.  As she did, she was struck by its depiction of the Supreme Being as a loving, perfect Father, and deeply moved by its description of His suffering the horrifying sacrifice of His Son to make a way for everyone who’d like to join the family.  She was drawn to this God who, she says, “didn’t shy away from pain but embraced it so that others would know love.  And when I looked at the lives of those who [in their conduct] most reminded me of Jesus, I could see how they had sacrificed on my behalf.  I didn’t want to waste their suffering, or my own…I wanted to receive [the love of a true Father] as a gift – and as a call to love others as they had loved me.

“My salvation did not happen in a single grand moment, but through small miracles that gradually chipped away at the scales of skepticism.  I saw God more clearly the more time I spent around people who pursued godliness and who told me who I was in Christ despite what I’d done and what had been done to me.

“In the end, [I discovered] the father I’d always wanted turned out to be the Father who had always been there for me, who revealed himself to me in his own perfect timing.”

God desires to make every one of us happy.  We contribute to the fulfillment of this perfect Father’s loving desire as we praise Him, obey Him, and trust Him so much that we both hope big in Him and love big in Him, even to the point of making sacrifices for love’s sake, so as to open the eyes of everyone we can to the God who is a “good, good Father”.

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