From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase

Scripture and the Church

Who Is the "Blessed Nation" of Psalm 33:12?

It is not any nation of this world, past or present, but one composed of those

who are "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own

special people," whose "citizenship is in Heaven."

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance. (Psalm 33:12)

Psalm 33:12 may be the most misappropriated verse in the entire Bible. During the American Civil War, the words "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord" were frequently associated with the cause of both the North and the South.

In 1862, in a message to the United States Congress, Abraham Lincoln called the Union "the last best hope of earth" which "God must forever bless."

In 1902, at the height of the power of the British Empire, Edward Elgar composed his famous Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1. This hymn to the British Empire by A. C. Benson was set to that tune:

Land of Hope and Glory, Mother of the Free,

How shall we extol thee, who are born of thee?

Wider still and wider shall thy bounds be set;

God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet,

God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet.

Even though the Empire was long ago dissolved, these words are still widely sung on patriotic occasions in Britain. During the days of the Empire, the words of this song were often associated with the words of Psalm 33:12, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord." Great Britain was said to be that nation. In popular artwork of the time, the words of the psalm were frequently superimposed upon an image of the Union Jack or the reigning monarch.

In his 1964 speech, A Time for Choosing, and frequently during his presidency, Ronald Reagan spoke of America as "the last best hope of man on earth." In this vein, Psalm 33:12 is still frequently quoted in speeches on patriotic occasions, and found in posters and artwork in which the words are superimposed upon a background of the American flag or other patriotic symbols.

A Christian Nation?

The implication of these usages has been that America, or in earlier days Britain, is or was a "Christian nation" - blessed because its "God is the Lord."

God's Word tells us that there is no such thing as a "Christian nation." There is not now, nor has there ever been, a nation on earth that collectively bowed its knee to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Satan, who insisted that Christ must bow the knee to him (Matthew 4:9) is the present ruler of this world (John 12:31).

"The whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one" (1 John 5:19).

It is not without reason that the Psalmist writes,

Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, "Let us break their bonds in pieces, and cast away their cords from us..." (Psalm 2:1-3)

The United States, and Britain before it, were blessed of God only because of the influence of the people of God and the Word of God within them. Truly, "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people" (Proverbs 14:34).

A painting hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in London depicting Queen Victoria presenting a Bible to the ruler of one of her realms in the audience chamber at Windsor Castle. The title of the painting is "The Secret of England's Greatness."

Britain became Great Britain because of the influence of the Word of God. Britain became a shadow of her former self, morally as well as politically, when the nation rejected the influence of Holy Scripture. The same is true of the United States.

Who Is the "Blessed Nation"?

How, then, could the psalmist write, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance"? Who is this nation? Who has the Lord chosen as His own inheritance?

That nation is the people of God, the body of Christ, those of all the ages who are being redeemed from the wrath of God by His blood, and who will rule and reign with Him in the New Heavens and New Earth for eternity:

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy... sojourners and pilgrims... (1 Peter 2:9-11)

Those God has chosen as His inheritance are, likewise, the saints of God. In Ephesians 1:18, the Apostle Paul declares his desire that every believer may have "the eyes of your understanding...enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His [Christ's] inheritance in the saints."

In the original language, the words "in the saints" are used in a locative form. That is, those words tell us the sphere in which Christ's inheritance is located. Linguistically, the phrase "in the saints" defines the word "inheritance" - the saints of God, purchased by the blood of Christ, are His inheritance. This takes us back to Ephesians 1:11, where Paul says that

"in Him also we have obtained an inheritance."

A more accurate translation of the Greek would be that "in Him we have been allotted as an inheritance." As Psalm 33:12 puts it, believers are "the people He has chosen as His own inheritance."

The day is coming, but is not yet, when "the nations shall fear the name of the Lord,

and all the kings of the earth Your glory" (Psalm 102:15). But the Psalmist goes on to

say that this prophetic word is "written for the generation to come, that a people yet

to be created may praise the Lord" (Psalm 102:18).

In Psalm 149, the Holy Spirit speaks of that coming day:

For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with

salvation. Let the saints be joyful in glory; let them sing aloud on their beds. Let

the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand,

to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples; to bind

their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute on them

the written judgment - This honor have all His saints. Praise the Lord! (Psalm


Jude likewise speaks of that tremendous future event, when "the nation whose God is

the Lord" shall come with Him in glory:

Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment

on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds

which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which

ungodly sinners have spoken against Him. (Jude 14-15)

Dear friends, are you living in the light of these great truths? The "last best hope of

man on earth" is not any nation or government, but the Lord Jesus Christ.

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where

Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on

things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

(Colossians 3:1-4)


Psalm 33

1. Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful.

2. Praise the Lord with the harp; make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings.

3. Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully with a shout of joy.

4. For the Word of the Lord is right, and all His work is done in truth.

5. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.

6. By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the

breath of His mouth.

7. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deep in


8. Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of


9. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.

10. The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the

peoples of no effect.

11. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations.

12. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He has chosen as His own


13. The Lord looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men.

14. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth;

15. He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.

16. No king is saved by the multitude of an army; a mighty man is not delivered by

great strength.

17. A horse is a vain hope for safety; neither shall it deliver any by its great strength.

18. Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His


19. To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.

20. Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.

21. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name.

22. Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, just as we hope in You.

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