Our Real Source of Strength

A sermon idea based on Psalm 33:12-22.

Psalm 33:12-22 NRSV

[12] Happy is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage.

[13] The LORD looks down from heaven; he sees all humankind. [14] From where he sits enthroned he watches all the inhabitants of the earth— [15] he who fashions the hearts of them all, and observes all their deeds. [16] A king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. [17] The war horse is a vain hope for victory, and by its great might it cannot save.

[18] Truly the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, [19] to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.

[20] Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and shield. [21] Our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. [22] Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you.


The relevant topic I would be addressing, based on this text…

Our greatest source of both strength and happiness will always be the goodness and steadfast love of God.


Information about the text that matters to the message…

It must be said at the outset that few verses have been as misused as Psalm 33:12. To be ultra-clear, the psalmist is writing as a Jewish person about the nation of Israel and is especially calling out to those within Judaism who looked by faith to the steadfast love of God. The verse isn’t referencing the United States or any other “nation” in the civic sense. This psalm is not a call for anyone to try to create a “Christian” nation on earth.

The Kingdom of God has always consisted of those who willingly and voluntarily look to God as the source of their joy and strength. It cannot be co-opted by any humanly-led regime. The Kingdom, which welcomes all, cannot have physical, or geographical borders and, as Jesus made clear, doesn’t extend itself by dominance, exceptionalism, or military strength.

The real message of this psalm is one of invitation to find in the goodness of God a far deeper source of joy and hope. Our hope is in the steadfast, unrelenting, always-pursuing love of God.


The big call-to-action in the message…

Transfer your trust from any earthly, human source of strength and power to the goodness of God whose steadfast love will never stop pursuing his relationship with you.

About the Cover Art: Cleal, John. Looking Up, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.

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