What does Psalm 33:1 mean?
ESV: Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright.
NIV: Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
NASB: Sing for joy in the Lord, you righteous ones; Praise is becoming to the upright.
CSB: Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous ones; praise from the upright is beautiful.
NLT: Let the godly sing for joy to the Lord; it is fitting for the pure to praise him.
KJV: Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.
NKJV: Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful.
Verse Commentary:
The psalmist, likely David, is worshiping, and he calls upon his fellow believers to shout in joyful praise to the Lord. He exclaims that praise is appropriate—God is certainly worthy of approval. In a biblical context, only righteous people can possess true joy. This does not require moral perfection. Rather, it means a person who diligently seeks God's will and doesn't openly defy Him (Matthew 6:33). Hearts out of tune with the Lord cannot sing beautiful praise to Him or offer suitable praise.

In his life, David experienced many victories over his enemies. He had deep, personal reasons to call on the congregation to shout for joy. Even for faithful believers, life can be hard (John 16:33). The Lord's people may not see anything to be joyful about in their surrounding circumstances. And yet, there are many reasons to be joyful despite those hardships, because they are God's people (Romans 8:18). In his letter to the Philippians, Paul wrote about joy in the Lord, often noting that he rejoices (Philippians 1:18; 2:17–18). He encourages the Philippian believers to rejoice in the Lord and repeats this appeal (Philippians 4:4).
Verse Context:
Psalm 33:1–3 calls upon the Lord's righteous people to delight in Him. They should praise God and be thankful to Him. The psalmist calls God's worshippers to use music and singing. Their praise should come so naturally that it is spontaneous.
Chapter Summary:
David summons the worshipers of Israel to be joyful as they praise God. The psalm celebrates God's creative power, sovereignty, and faithfulness. Rather than relying on earthly strength, the Lord's people can trust in His omnipotent power. This results in a collective praise for God and His unfailing love for those who trust and hope in Him.
Chapter Context:
The Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, attributes this psalm to David. It is a psalm that encourages worshipers to praise the Lord. It may have been written after Israel experienced a victory over an enemy. Because the verbs in this psalm are plural, it features the worship leader's call to worship and the worshipers' response.
Book Summary:
The book of Psalms is composed of individual songs, hymns, or poems, each of which is a ''Psalm'' in and of itself. These works contain a wide variety of themes. Some Psalms focus on praising and worshipping God. Others cry out in anguish over the pain of life. Still other Psalms look forward to the coming of the Messiah. While some Psalms are related, each has its own historical and biblical context.
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