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Bible Commentaries

Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

Psalms 33

Verses 1-22

God's Bounty

Psalms 33:7

I. When we speak of the harvest, we are accustomed to think only of the corn harvest; but the word has a far wider significance. Our granaries contain not a tithe of His gifts. Nor is the Creator's bounty limited to the products of each passing year. The cycle of God's harvests is measured by ages rather than by seasons.

II. The lesson of trust. In days of a youthful and somewhat arrogant science, in our fancied knowledge of second causes, it is possible for our trust in God to be shaken. There is truth in the old Bible promise, that 'while the earth remains' our harvests shall not fail. We may yet believe that Christ is the King of all the earth, and not substitute for our creed the bare negations of a cold and cheerless agnosticism.

III. The lesson of contentment. The great struggle between labour and capital, industrial and agricultural depression, God punishing us for our distrust and ingratitude.

IV. Liberality. In all our varied gains, whether from an influx of better trade, or a rise in the share market, we should remember that the firstfruits belong to God, and the gleanings to the poor.

Vivian R. Lennard, Harvest-tide, p. 3.

Reference. XXXIII. 13. Spurgeon, Morning by Morning, p. 272.

The Comfort of Physical Inferiority

Psalms 33:16

I. The doctrine of modern life is the survival of the fittest. Is the Psalmis in opposition to this view? No. He is quite willing to admit that the fittest survive; what he says is that their fitness does not lie in the physical. He says that even where the physical strength exists it is not the deepest ground of success. And is he not right? Take the simile in his own mind the sway of a kingdom. The greatest kingdoms of this world have been swayed by spiritual forces. Look at the Papacy of early days. It was the rule of one frail man without arms, without territories, without embattled walls, without military followers, without a right to draw the sword. What was the secret of the Pope's power? Why did kings hold his stirrup and emperors court his favour and armies melt at his command and rude barbarians bow to his desire? It was because men believed in his holiness because they held him to possess the Spirit of God. Or, take our own Indian Empire, that to me is the miracle of history a small army holding in leash the millions of a conquered land. What is the power by which a little island has bound a chain round an enormous continent? Is it holiness? Alas, no, but it is none the less a power of the spirit. These millions could overwhelm us if they were mentally strong. Theirs is the homage of matter to mind. Is it not written of the forces of animal nature, 'A little child shall lead them'.

II. In the presence of the great forest of India, Britain is physically but a child; yet the myriad denizens of the forest bend beneath her sway. They could crush her at a blow; to what do they bend? To that which as yet is to them a mystery the power of mind. The gigantic river has been arrested by one pebble; the sweep of the blast has been diverted by the single leaf of a tree. There is no power on earth so secularly strong as that which sleeps within a human soul. Remember this, thou mother with the delicate babe. Remember this, when thou bendest with sorrow over that cradle which seems to enshrine a physical failure. Eve christened her son by the name of Abel a vapour. The child seemed so fragile as to be but a breath; and the mother viewed his future with dismay. Was she right? No; that little pigmy in the primitive cradle was the most surviving man of all the race 'he yet speaketh'. Remember that, when thou lookest upon the physical feebleness of thy babe. It may survive its strong brother Cain in the work of the world. The cry may be faint; but its cry is not its crown. O thou that holdest in thine arms a feeble form, remember that the frail casket may enclose a King.

G. Matheson, Messages of Hope, p. 252.

References. XXXIII. 20. W. L. Alexander, Christian Thought and Work, p. 155. XXXIII. 21. Spurgeon, Morning by Morning, p. 184. XXXIII. 22. J. Keble, Sermons from Septuagesima to Ash Wednesday, p. 432. XXXIV. International Critical Commentary, vol. i. p. 294. XXXIV. 1. J. M. Neale, Passages of the Psalms, p. 77. XXXIV. 1-8. W. H. Aitken, Mission Sermons (1st Series), p. 310.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Psalms 33". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/edt/psalms-33.html. 1910.