Noel Donnelly has provided us – and radioalba.org christian – with a wealth of simple commentaries which can help us to understand what the psalms are about.
Psalm 33 Commentary.
I wonder if the writer of Psalm 33 had been out camping when this was composed. You can imagine a happy group of friends gathered round the camp fire, feeling good now that they had everything set up and they were now ready for a meal and a good sing-song together.
The writers imagine their camp surrounded by angels, keeping them safe from all fears, surrounding them with the caring presence of God. As they pass round the food from the camp fire they pray a kind of grace before meals as they sing, “O taste and see that the Lord is good!” The writers of our song must have had some fun as they composed this song because they decided that every line should begin with the successive letters of the alphabet. It’s called an “acrostic” psalm.
Strangely there is no direct address to God in this psalm. Instead we are given lots of reasons for offering a prayer of thanksgiving, since God is watching over us (verse 15), is “near to the broken-hearted” (verse 18), has answered us in the past by delivering us from many fearful experiences (verse 4). The writers realise that they deserve absolutely nothing: they are the lowly ones who are to “bless the Lord at all times”, very much like Mary later on in her hymn of praise, the Magnificat. As verse 3 puts it, “O magnify the Lord with me, let us exalt God’s name forever!” This is indeed a great camp-fire song especially when we gather for sacramental food around God’s altar!