James D. Slopsema is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church of Randolph, Wisconsin.

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people he hath chosen for his own inheritance.”

Psalm 33:12

Everyone has a God.

Who is your God?

There is a people whose God is the LORD. Are you numbered among that people?

If the LORD is your God, then are you truly blessed. For that means, first of all, that the LORD has chosen you for His inheritance. And therefore, secondly, it means that He will protect you from all harm so that He may enjoy you forever and that you may enjoy Him forever.

How important this all is, especially as we face again a new year! There are many evils that threaten us and our children. Sickness, poverty, war, loss of loved ones, death, persecution are only some of the many evils that could so easily befall us in the near future. Besides all these there are the host of temptations that we and our children face every day. The powers of darkness are unrelenting as they seek to lead us astray into sin and destruction. And so, as we begin another year, we naturally look to the future. We wonder what the new year holds in store for us. Will great evil befall us? Will we and our children be able to stand in the face of the onslaughts of the powers of darkness? These are all very legitimate concerns of God’s people.

How reassuring is the Word of God. Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD!

Everyone has a God.

Your God is that in which you place your trust. Your God is that which you rely upon to provide you with safety and security as well as happiness in life.

In that light, virtually anything or anyone can be your god. Money can be your god. How many people rely upon money for security and happiness? They have made money their god. In like manner you can make insurance, entertainment, the esteem of men, earthly power, a home, a circle of friends your god.

All of these, of course, are only idol gods. They are not really Gods. For none of them can truly provide safety and security. Neither can they afford true happiness. The security and happiness they give are a mere illusion.

Over against all the idol gods of man there is the LORD, He alone is truly God. He alone is able to provide true safety and security. He alone is able to afford true joy to man. That joy is the bliss of His own covenant companionship and friendship. With the LORD there is true peace and safety!

Is the LORD your God? If He is your God, then you will put all your trust in Him. You will trust Him and Him alone to keep and preserve you. You will rely upon Him to supply all your needs. You will look to His fellowship to give you true joy and peace. In blind trust you will obey His every commandment, expecting that in the way of obedience the LORD will care for you.

There is a nation whose God is the LORD.

In the old dispensation that people was the nation of Israel. All other nations had other gods. They made gods of stone and wood and precious metals. To these gods they bowed the knee. In these gods they placed their trust. But the LORD was Israel’s God. It was upon the LORD that Israel relied. It was to the LORD that Israel looked for help in the time of need. It was in the LORD that Israel sought all her joys. This, of course, was not true of the whole nation. Many in Israel served the idol gods of the heathen. Nevertheless, those who formed the heart of the nation, those who were true Israel, had the LORD as their God.

In the new dispensation that nation whose God is the LORD is the church of Jesus Christ.

The church is indeed a nation. No, the church is not a nation among the nations of the world as was Israel of old. The church, for example, can not be identified with a particular country in the world; nor is it limited to one people. The church of Jesus Christ is found today in every tribe, tongue, and nation under heaven. Yet, for all that, the church is a distinct nation. She is a spiritual nation which has her own kingdom—the kingdom of heaven. She has her own King Whom she serves—Jesus Christ. She has her own laws that govern her life—the law of God. She has her own language, customs, goals, values—all determined by the Scriptures.

The church has been formed into such a nation through Jesus Christ Who redeemed her out of sin and called her out of darkness into the marvelous light of God. The fruit of this great work of Jesus Christ is that the church also owns the LORD as her God. Her trust is in the LORD. In Him she finds her joy.

Are you numbered among that people?

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD!

She is blessed because the LORD will protect and preserve her in His covenant fellowship.

This is the emphasis of the whole Psalm.

Israel is viewed as a little flock among the mighty nations of the world. Militarily the heathen nations were far superior to Israel. And these nations sought to destroy Israel. The reason was that Israel’s God was the LORD. How the ungodly hate the LORD! They not only refuse to acknowledge Him as God; they bitterly oppose Him and all His works. Hence, the heathen nations also hated Israel. Israel was the people the LORD had redeemed out of Egypt. She was the people with whom the LORD had established His covenant at Mt. Sinai. She was the people who served the LORD. Indeed, the heathen had no room for Israel. She must be destroyed. And by destroying Israel a deadly blow would be brought against the LORD Himself.

But the LORD assured Israel in this Psalm that He would protect and preserve her.

It was the LORD Who made the heavens and the earth. “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made: and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth” (Ps. 33:6). As the Creator, the LORD is the almighty God, infinitely greater than all the hosts of the heathen. Hence, the counsels of the heathen shall be brought to naught (Ps. 33:10); whereas the counsel of the LORD shall stand forever (Ps. 33:11). Surely the people of Israel whose God is the LORD are safe and secure! The LORD will protect them from all their enemies and preserve them in His covenant fellowship where they shall find joys unspeakable.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD!

The same is true also today for the church.

The powers of darkness also assail the church. The enemies of the church are the Devil and his hosts along with the world of ungodly men. These evil forces have no more use for the church than the heathen nations did for Israel in times past. And again the reason is that the church is the nation whose God is the LORD.

Without ceasing, the powers of darkness bring their attacks against the church. Repeatedly the powers of darkness have tried to destroy the church through persecution. How many of God’s saints down through history have lost their life at the hands of the powers of darkness for Christ’s sake! When persecution fails to destroy the church, the powers of darkness seek to destroy the church spiritually. Through false doctrine and the pleasures of sin the forces of evil seek to lead the church away into sin so that she repudiates the LORD as her God and seeks other gods.

And how powerful the forces of darkness are! Theirs is the wealth and the power of the world. To them belong great numbers. Numbered among their ranks are the men of great intellect and cunning. From every human point of view the church can not possibly stand before the powers of darkness.

However, the LORD is still God almighty. His counsel still stands. And He still brings the counsels of the heathen to nought. The LORD therefore will surely preserve His church. He will keep them in the hour of temptation. With every temptation the LORD will provide a way of escape. The power of darkness may rise up in terrible persecution against the church; but the LORD will never allow the church to be overcome. No matter what scheme the Devil may concoct in his sly old head, the LORD will bring it to naught and preserve His people so that they may enjoy forevermore the bliss of His companionship and fellowship.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD!

The nation whose God is the LORD is blessed exactly because the LORD has chosen her for His own inheritance.

An inheritance can refer to the material wealth a father leaves to his children at death. It can also refer to one’s possessions, as it does here.

In a sense, all things are the inheritance or possession of the LORD. He is the Creator and thus also the Owner of all things and all peoples.

However, there is a people whom the LORD has chosen for His special possession. Even as a king who owns all things in his kingdom will have his own personal possessions in which he takes special delight, so too the LORD has eternally chosen out of all peoples of the world a people to be His special possession and treasure. With this people God will establish His eternal covenant. In this people He will find His delight. This is the great truth of eternal and sovereign election.

This divine choosing explains, first of all, why as a nation this people acknowledge the LORD as their God. The LORD desires a people in whom He can delight. To delight in them requires that they acknowledge and serve Him as God. Certainly the LORD can find no delight in a people who have other gods and do not own Him as God. Hence, having chosen them for His own inheritance He redeemed them in Jesus His Son and transforms them spiritually so that they own Him as God and serve Him willingly as their God.

However, this divine choosing also explains why the LORD so zealously preserves and protects this nation. He has chosen them for His own possession in whom He will take infinite and eternal delight. They are the apple of His eye! There is nothing more precious to Him than this people whom He has chosen. Certainly He will keep and preserve them. He will give to them the bliss of His fellowship. He will allow nothing to harm them. He will cause all things to work for their welfare.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD!

Is the LORD your God? Then you are blessed indeed. For you are safe and secure in God’s protection and fellowship.

With the LORD as our God let us face the new year with courage and confidence!