Augustine. Exposition on the Book of Psalms. Schaff, Philip (editor). New York: Christian Literature Publishing Col, 1886. Nicene and Post-Nicene Church Fathers: Series 1: Volume VIII. Re-published 2014, Catholic Way Publishing. Kindle electronic edition, ISBN-13: 978-1-78379-372-3.
Psalm 33:1 calls the righteous to rejoice in the Lord. Augustine emphasizes that it is not safe to rejoice in anyone else. The beautiful praise centers only on God (Augustine Psalms, loc. 321053). The image of a harp and singing in verses 2-3 point to the involvement of the whole person. Even our bodies participate in worship. The reason given in verses 4 and following, Augustine says, is that God works through His Word, “to make you that which of yourselves ye cannot be” (Augustine Psalms, loc. 321060). The works done in faith are God’s works, works of mercy and judgment, which also must be focused on God’s character.
Augustine finds that verses 6-9 speak to God’s creation and ordering of the world, which show His glory. This is sufficient to move His people to awe and wonder. In contrast to God’s order, when “the nations” (v. 10) make their plans, they always eventually fail, but God’s wisdom does not fail (Augustine Psalms, loc. 321075). This, in verse 12, marks God’s people as blessed. God is the one who looks upon his people to bless them. “He looketh mercifully upon all who live in the flesh, that He may be over them in ruling them” (Augustine Psalms, loc. 321083). Augustine also notes that in verse 15 God gives gifts and abilities individually as they are best for each person. The idea here is that God knows us intimately and uses us for his good purpose.
In verses 16 and following, a king, an army, or a horse, all very powerful resources, are not finally to be trusted. It is the protective gaze of the Lord which creates security. Augustine recognizes that God does this throug hHis Word, as He keeps his people alive in famine (v. 19). God works “to give them the nourishment of the Word, and of Everlasting Truth, which they lost while presuming on their own strength, and therefore have not even their own strength, from lack of righteousness” (Augustine Psalms, loc. 321097). For this reason, even in times of trouble and need, we wait on the Lord and trust in Him.