“The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue.” – Psalm 33:16-17
The world can be a scary place. There are wars, racial unrest, injustice, and other frightening things going on that make it seem like the world is out of control. For Christians, it can be even worse. In some countries Christians are persecuted for their faith and must worship and fellowship in hiding. In other countries, society is turning its back on Christianity and those who are faithful are called intolerant and suffer financial loss for their faith.
Looking at the world, it seems that those who have the money, power and influence are the ones who run the world and it can feel like God is not in control. The Bible tells us over and over that no matter how bad the world is and how much power humans seem to have, the one who is in control of the world is God.
Psalm 33 is one of those places in the Bible that can be an encouragement to trust in God’s absolute control of the world. The Psalmist says in verse 6, “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host (Psalm 33:6).” This verse praises God for His power in creation and reassures His people that the universe and all the people of Earth are not here by some sort of cosmic coincidence. God purposely and powerfully spoke everything into existence. He goes on to say, “he commanded, and it stood firm (Psalm 33:9).” In other words, the creation God made is subject to Him. He created it and it does what God commands.
As for the people who seem to be in control, the psalmist says, “The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples (Psalm 33:10).” It is a reassuring truth to know that no matter how much planning and effort people put into something, it will only come to pass if God wills it.
We then read, “The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue (Psalm 33:16-17).” It will be humbling for the great superpower nations of today to know that bombs, tanks, and the greatest military minds are of no value compared to God’s sovereign will. God has used these means in the past to accomplish His plans, but ultimately every war that has been won and every military plan that has succeeded has done so because of God’s purpose and power.
We see this truth that God is in control of everything most clearly in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. By human accounts, Jesus was overpowered and killed by the religious leaders of His day. They falsely accused Him and even His own disciples betrayed Him. It may have seemed as though things were beyond God’s control. But even these actions resulting in Jesus’ death were part of the plan of God: “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men (Acts 2:23).”
Let us praise God for his power in creation and trust His providence when things seem uncertain. And let us be thankful that we can say along with the Psalmist, “Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you (Psalm 33:20-22).”