Psalm 33:8
Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.
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Psalm 33:8-9. Let the earth fear the Lord — All the people of the earth, as the next clause expounds this; not only Jews, but also Gentiles, who equally enjoy the benefit of this great and glorious work of God. For he spake, and it was done — The work mentioned Psalm 33:6-7. He commanded, and it stood fast — Hebrew יעמד, jagnamad, it stood forth, as a servant at his master’s command, prepared to do his will, and to execute his pleasure.

33:1-11 Holy joy is the heart and soul of praise, and that is here pressed upon the righteous. Thankful praise is the breath and language of holy joy. Religious songs are proper expressions of thankful praise. Every endowment we possess, should be employed with all our skill and earnestness in God's service. His promises are all wise and good. His word is right, and therefore we are only in the right when we agree with it. His works are all done in truth. He is the righteous Lord, therefore loveth righteousness. What a pity it is that this earth, which is so full of the proofs and instances of God's goodness, should be so empty of his praises; and that of the multitudes who live upon his bounty, there are so few who live to his glory! What the Lord does, he does to purpose; it stands fast. He overrules all the counsels of men, and makes them serve his counsels; even that is fulfilled, which to us is most surprising, the eternal counsel of God, nor can any thing prevent its coming to pass.Let all the earth - All the inhabitants of the earth.

Fear the Lord - Worship and adore a Being of so great power. See the notes at Psalm 5:7.

Let all the inhabitants of the world - The power displayed in the works of creation appeals to all alike.

Stand in awe of him - Reverence or adore him. The expression is equivalent to "worship," fear or reverence entering essentially into the idea of worship.

6. In "word" and "breath"—or, "spirit," there may be an allusion to the Son (Joh 1:1) and Holy Spirit.8 Let all the earth fear the Lord: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.

9 For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.

10 The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect.

11 The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.

Psalm 33:8

"Let all the earth fear the Lord." Not only Jews, but Gentiles. The Psalmist was not a man blinded by national prejudice, he did not desire to restrict the worship of Jehovah to the seed of Abraham. He looks for homage even to far-off nations. If they are not well enough instructed to be able to praise at least let them fear. There is an inferior kind of worship in the trembling which involuntarily admits the boundless power of the thundering God. A defiant blasphemer is out of place in a world covered with tokens of the divine power and Godhead; the whole earth cannot afford a spot congenial for the erection of a synagogue of Atheism, nor a man in whom it is becoming to profane the name of God. "Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him." Let them forsake their idols, and reverently regard the only living God. What is here placed as a wish may also be read as a prophecy: the adoration of God will yet be universal.

Psalm 33:9

"For he spake, and it was done." Creation was the fruit of a word. Jehovah said, "Light be," and light was. The Lord's acts are sublime in their ease and instantaneoussness. "What a word is this?" This was the wondering enquiry of old, and it may be ours to this day. "He commanded, and it stood fast." Out of nothing creation stood forth, and was confirmed in existence. The same power which first uplifted, now makes the universe to abide; although we may not observe it, there is as great a display of sublime power in confirming as in creating. Happy is the man who has learned to lean his all upon the sure word of him who built the skies!

Psalm 33:10

"The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought." While his own will is done, he takes care to anticipate the wilfulness of his enemies. Before they come to action he vanquishes them in the council-chamber; and when, well armed with craft, they march to the assault, he frustrates their knaveries, and makes their promising plots to end in nothing. Not only the folly of the heathen, but their wisdom too, shall yield to the power of the cross of Jesus; what a comfort is this to those who have to labour where sophistry, and philosophy, falsely so called, are set in opposition to the truth as it is in Jesus. "He maketh the devices of the people of none effect." Their persecutions, slanders, falsehoods, are like puff-balls flung against a granite wall - they produce no result at all; for the Lord overrules the evil, and brings good out of it. The cause of God is never in danger: infernal craft is outwitted by infinite wisdom, and Satanic malice held in check by boundless power.

Psalm 33:11

"The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever." He changes not his purpose, his decree is not frustrated, his designs are accomplished. God has a predestination according to the counsel of his will, and none of the devices of his foes can thwart his decree for a moment. Men's purposes are blown to and fro like the thread of the gossamer or the down of the thistle, but the eternal purposes are firmer than the earth. "The thoughts of' his heart to all generations." Men come and go, sons follow their sires to the grave, but the undisturbed mind of God moves on in unbroken serenity, producing ordained results with unerring certainty. No man can expect his will or plan to be carried out from age to age; the wisdom of one period is the folly of another, but the Lord's wisdom is always wise, and his designs run on from century to century. His power to fulfil his purposes is by no means diminished by the lapse of years. He who was absolute over Pharaoh in Egypt is not one whit the less today the King of kings and Lord of lords; still do his chariot wheels roll onward in imperial grandeur, none being for a moment able to resist his eternal will.

All the earth; all the people of the earth, as the next clause expounds this; not only Jews, but Gentiles, who equally enjoy the benefit of this great and glorious work of God.

Let all the earth fear the Lord,.... That is, all the men that dwell upon the face of the earth. As it follows,

let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him; which fear and awe design a reverence of the divine Majesty, whose divine perfections are so manifest in the works of creation; and a carefulness not to offend him, into whose hands it must be a fearful thing to fall; and the whole worship of him, which is often in Scripture expressed by the fear of him: and this is to be understood either as what is the duty of all men; for to "fear God, and keep his commandments, is the whole duty of man", Ecclesiastes 12:13; and which is incumbent on all men, in consideration of his being the Creator of them; and the obligation to it is yet more increased through his providential care of them and goodness to them; and still more should be found in them, seeing he will be the Judge of them, and has a despotic and uncontrollable power over them; and what is it that he cannot do, who has done all this before related? though none can fear him aright but such who have the grace of fear put into their hearts by the Spirit of God: or else this may be prophetically said, as what will be in the latter day, when not only the Jews shall fear the Lord and his goodness, Hosea 3:5, but when the fulness of the Gentiles being brought into the church, it shall fear and be enlarged; yea, all nations shall fear the Lord and glorify his name, and come and worship before him, Isaiah 60:5.

Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.
8, 9. With what awe should man regard such an Almighty Creator! Cp. the argument of Amos, Amos 4:13; Amos 5:8; Amos 9:6. Emphasis is laid on the wonder of the method of creation, by the simple divine fiat.

Verses 8-11. - From the exhortation in ver. 1, addressed to the righteous, to praise the Lord, the psalmist passes now to a second exhortation, addressed to all mankind, to fear the Lord. And as before in vers. 4-7, so now in veto. 9-11, he assigns reasons. God is to be feared

(1) on account of the power which he showed in creation (ver. 9);

(2) on account of his ability to baffle all human counsels that are opposed to him (ver. 10); and

(3) on account of the unehangeableness and perpetuity of his own counsels, which nothing can alter (ver. 11). Verse 8. - Let all the earth fear the Lord. The righteous alone have a right to "praise" God (see ver. 1), but "all the earth" - i.e. all mankind - may be called upon to "fear" him. He is an object of awe and true "godly fear" to godly men; to the ungodly he is an object of terror and servile fear. Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. Here again, as so often, the second hemistich merely echoes the first. Psalm 33:8God's praiseworthiness (b) as the Creator of the world in the kingdom of Nature. Jahve's דּבר is His almighty "Let there be;" and רוח פּיו (inasmuch as the breath is here regarded as the material of which the word is formed and the bearer of the word) is the command, or in general, the operation of His commanding omnipotence (Job 15:30, cf. Job 4:9; Isaiah 34:16, cf. Psalm 11:4). The heavens above and the waters beneath stand side by side as miracles of creation. The display of His power in the waters of the sea consists in His having confined them within fixed bounds and keeping them within these. נד is a pile, i.e., a piled up heap (Arabic nadd), and more especially an inference to harvest: like such a heap do the convex waters of the sea, being firmly held together, rise above the level of the continents. The expression is like that in Joshua 3:13, Joshua 3:15, cf. Exodus 15:8; although there the reference is to a miracle occurring in the course of history, and in this passage to a miracle of creation. כּנס refers to the heap itself, not to the walls of the storehouses as holding together. This latter figure is not introduced until Psalm 33:7: the bed of the sea and those of the rivers are, as it were, אוצרות, treasuries or storehouses, in which God has deposited the deep, foaming waves or surging mass of waters. The inhabitants (ישׁבי, not יושׁבי) of the earth have cause to fear God who is thus omnipotent (מן, in the sense of falling back from in terror); for He need only speak the word and that which He wills comes into being out of nothing, as we see from the hexameron or history of Creation, but which is also confirmed in human history (Lamentations 3:37). He need only command and it stands forth like an obedient servant, that appears in all haste at the call of his lord, Psalm 119:91.
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