Julie and I have taken the obedient step to follow God’s lead in opening our home to children who are ‘homeless.’ Of course we are praying that God would allow us to adopt some of these kids. Maria was the first that God brought to our home. Our hearts immediately attached, and 5 months with her have drawn us to an inexpressible love toward and delight in her. Now, the Lord is calling us to hand her over to her great-aunt. This hard turn of events has drawn us to a deep trust in the Lord – in his goodness, his faithfulness, his sovereign will, and his strength. It has drawn us closer to one another as we draw to our knees in prayer, and sharpen our focus on the ministry God has called us to as a couple. It has taught us to wait on the Lord. It seems that the bulk of the life of faith in Christ is lived in the waiting – waiting for the answer to our prayers. That’s where Psalm 33 comes into the picture. It concludes with this powerful statement of faith expressed through this song of worship. “We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you.”
This morning, I am going to meditate upon this Psalm.
“Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy. For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.”
This was one of my favorite verses in my youth because it gave me a biblical basis to play my music loudly. I owe my parents and sisters a great deal of thanks for mercifully suffering through this youthful freedom I found. Unfortunate for them, I fixated on ‘loudly’ when I should have begun with ‘skillfully.’ For this I owe them an apology as well. It is the combination of both that makes the sweetness that we experienced on Sunday as we sang such great songs as “I Am Free,” “You Are Good,” “Hallelujah What A Savior,” and “You Are Holy.” But it is the reason why we, the righteous, should praise the Lord. We are told that it is ‘fitting’ because the Word of the Lord is right and true. He is faithful in all he does – in ALL he does! Okay, God was faithful when he brought Maria into our home, and he remains faithful even if he takes her from our home. This is hard to say, but it is right and reassuring to focus on his faithfulness and give him praise in light of it.
“The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love. By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts the deep into storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the people of the world revere him. For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.”
The Lord loves what is right and just. Does it seem right for Maria to leave our home to live life with her great-aunt Betty – 60 years old, single, most likely not a believer, doing this to fill a lonely place in her life? No it doesn’t. Does it seem just? According to the law of the land, yes – according to God’s desire to set the poor in families, no. Yet, God loves what is right and just. Just when we’re about to question God’s ways, we are called to look at who he is – the creator of the heavens and the earth. He spoke these things into being by the breath of his mouth – he is all-powerful! He gathers the waters into jars – he is huge, stronger that we could ever imagine! He is sovereign – he spoke and it came to be. What he commands, stands firm. Our response then is worship – to fear and revere him.
“The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.”
God is sovereign – his ways and plans will happen always and forever. It is notable that these are the purposes of his heart. Is any response but trust warranted here? Do I have any room to argue with God about what ultimately happens with Maria? I can plead, but in the end I must accept. Even now, not knowing, I must accept.
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance. From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth— he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do.
Evidently, there is a special blessing for those who bow the knee before the Lord – to people whom God has chosen for his inheritance. This is grace, a gentle reminder that the blessing isn’t something I earn or deserve, but something that God has graciously chosen me to receive. Yet I still must choose to accept, to bow the knee and proclaim Jesus as Lord. There is a necessary response to God’s grace. I count myself as one of God’s chosen people because of what is declared by the apostles in the New Testament.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1Pet. 2:9-10, NIV)
God sees all the people he has made, even those who don’t belong to Him. He formed their hearts and he considers all that they do. He longs for all people to ‘belong to Him’ and this simply happens when we ‘receive mercy.’ I’m in! Not because of the blessing I want to receive, but because I would be a fool to turn away this wonderful opportunity to belong to the one who formed my heart, who considers all I do, and who offers me his inheritance. And for this I declare his praise!
“No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.
This is key to our position and approach to our situation with Maria. Our hope is not in the law, lawyers, social workers, judges, her great-aunt, or our clever ability to make things work out our way. We are aware that all of these people have an important role in determining Maria’s future. We are praying for these people and for favor with them. We are praying for wisdom to act in faith in a responsible and courageous manner. But we are not setting our hope on these things. Our hope is ultimately in the Lord and his faithful and sovereign will for Maria and for us. He is the one who delivers and gives us life, even in the bleakest of circumstances.
At this point, I will let God’s Word have the last word. These last verses of the psalm have been our hope, song and prayer as we walk nearer the terrible date that we are to hand Maria over to her great-aunt. I could not find more confidence and strength anywhere else. This is where I’m digging in. Both Julie and I are truly rejoicing for we fully trust our God. In the words of the old hymn, “Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him. How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er. Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus. O for grace to trust Him more.”
“We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you.” (Psa. 33:22, NIV)