For our heart rejoices in Him because we trust in His holy name. Psalm 33:21
Trust – Remember the difficulties we found in Psalm 33:22. Trying to capture the meaning of ka-asher turned into a lesson about tidy answers and worldviews. But what we may have overlooked is the parallelism of Hebrew poetry. In other words, we probably should have started with this verse in order to understand what is happening in the next verse. Here the psalmist tells us that trust is parallel to hope. Rejoicing is connected with trust in the same way that hesed is connected with hope. So, what does it mean to trust in His holy name?
The Hebrew word is batach. The pictograph reveals “the house separated by the covenant.” What is the distinguishing characteristic of trust? It is to be under the covenant. It is being different than the rest of the world. Those who live according to God’s covenant have confidence in Him. They rejoice because their lives are not determined by their own efforts. They rest under His banner. In other words, trusting God is being set apart, precisely what God says about His people at Sinai. They are separated by His covenant.
Notice that the psalmist doesn’t say, “We trust in Your commandments.” Why not? God gave the covenant instructions at Sinai. He set His people apart by providing them with a distinctively different lifestyle. Why doesn’t the psalmist acknowledge this lifestyle difference as the basis of trust? The answer is found in the difference between legislation and person. No commandment is an end in itself. Yes, God’s rules for living provide protection, direction and confirmation, but they do not exist apart from His character. The purpose of the commandments is not to produce morally superior people. It is to reflect the heart of the Lord. That’s why Yeshua can castigate those who mechanically kept the commandments but lacked God’s heart as motivation. Keeping the commandments is supposed to be an expression of my abandonment to God’s character. Then, and only then, does the distinctive difference of my life radiate who He is. So, we don’t hope in His instructions. We hope in His name!
But wait! If it’s all about hoping in His character, why does the psalmist say, “His holy name”? Does He mean that we hope in the word YHWH? Of course not. In Hebrew thought, a name is the summary essence of a person. Adam isn’t just any name. It is the name of the one who comes from ‘adamah, the earth-creature, the first water of life. Adam is his name and his essential character. Just so, God’s name is the summary of who He is. His name is the shorthand way of referring to the very nature of God. And what is God’s nature? For that answer, we need to read Exodus 34:6 where God Himself declares who He is. Take the attributes found in Exodus and compare them to the qualities of your motivation for following Him. If the comparison reveals some differences, then corrective action is needed, because His people are called by His name.
Topical Index: name, trust, batach, Psalm 33:21