Psalms 33 – Yahweh
I read and consult several different translations of the Bible often, but my preferred Bible seems to be the New King James Bible (NKJV). I don’t know that I made a conscious nor educated decision to use the NKJV it’s just that I keep coming back to it. For this study, however, I will be quoting from the Lexam English Bible (LEB) for a very specific reason. When you see the word lord in our English Bibles you can’t know what the source language (Hebrew) word is unless you get a hint from the translators, or look the word up in a Hebrew Lexicon. If you can’t know which Hebrew word was used, then the meaning of the word becomes veiled in obscurity. I love the fact that the LEB does not translate, but rather transliterates the Hebrew word lord, which is Yahweh.
Maybe you’ve heard it a thousand times before, but Yahweh is the personal name of God. It is His covenant name. In other words, when God entered into contract or covenant with the Nation Israel He used and continues to use His specific name Yahweh, not the generic word lord.
Reading Psalms 33 in the LEB demonstrates beautifully that every occurrence of the word lord is actually Yahweh in this beautiful chapter.
Let’s examine verse one.
Exult in Yahweh, O you righteous,
for praise is fitting for the upright.
Since we don’t typically use the word exult in our everyday conversations it is prudent to consult the Hebrew Lexicon. The word translated Exult is the Hebrew word, רָנַן (ranan) which means to give a ringing cry. This is not an inward expression of delight in Yahweh, but rather an outward and loud expression of elated praise to God. Notice Exult is an imperative, not a suggestion. Why are the righteous being commanded to give a ringing cry of praise to Yahweh? Because it is fitting for the upright.
If you know me, you know I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to look up the word fitting in the Hebrew Lexicon, especially because it is translated “beautiful” in the NKJV. The word fitting is the Hebrew word נָאוֶה (naveh) and has the range of meaning becoming, comely, fitting, lovely. Are there any other people on the planet who would be qualified to praise our worthy God besides the righteous? In contrast, would a wicked person even consider declaring praises to Yahweh? If the word righteous means without sin (it does), it becomes obvious why it is fitting or beautiful for them to praise Him loudly.
Since we are born sinners, there is only one way to be sinless or righteous. It must be through the one and only perfect sacrifice for sin, Jesus the Messiah. Reflecting on the finished work of the cross of our Saviour Jesus inevitably envokes an attitude of praise and worship.
The Psalmist, most likely David, is reminding Believers first of all that they are righteous, and secondly, that they should be praising God because it is a very natural, fitting, and even beautiful thing.
Are you a believer in Jesus? Have you been made righteous by the precious blood of the Lamb? Then it would be a beautiful thing, it would be fitting for you to praise the covenant God, Yahweh! He truly is worthy of all our praise, worship, and adoration.
Remember the conversation Jesus had with the woman at the well?
23 But an hour is coming—and now is here—when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for indeed the Father seeks such people to be his worshipers.
24 God is spirit, and the ones who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (the one called Christ); “whenever that one comes, he will proclaim all things to us.”
26 Jesus said to her, “I, the one speaking to you, am He.
I hope God’s searching eye falls upon you because you are a true worshipper! If you are not a worshipper it’s because you don’t know Him. You can’t save yourself. Jesus is the only way to heaven. Place your faith in Him today. Let Him cleanse you from all unrighteousness under His precious blood. Then it will be fitting for you to praise Him with the rest of us. I know of no greater fulfillment than to worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
All scripture Quotations from Harris, W. Hall, III et al., eds. The Lexham English Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012. Print.