PSALM 146 TALK:   CHOOSE THIS DAY WHO YOU WILL PRAISE

PSALM 146 TALK:   CHOOSE THIS DAY WHO YOU WILL PRAISE

 (This is the first of the last five Psalms of the book of Psalms often called The Hallelujah Psalms and this Psalm features the theme of choosing to praise the Lord rather than mankind or any other God substitute. It offers wonderful reasons why we should praise God alone.)

(THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide”.

INTRODUCTION

Ever since my late teenage years I have loved character studies of people in the bible. I was introduced to this by an assistant minister of the church I attended in my late teenage years who often led us through bible character studies at a bible study he ran for young people before evening church on a Sunday night. He often said the bible presents these characters “warts and all” meaning the bible revealed their strong Godly characteristics and their human failings as well.

One bible character I have always loved is Joshua and I believe he had very big shoes to fill as he had to take over the leadership of the people of Israel from the mighty Godly leader Moses. Joshua also had to lead Israel in many battles against the far more humanly powerful and numerous Canaanites. He did this by trusting in God alone and his strong and God focussed faith led Israel to possess and occupy the Promised Land.

Some of the words of Joshua to his people, made at the end of his life recorded in Joshua chapter 24 came to my mind as I read Psalm 146. Joshua issued a challenge to Israel before he passed on to be with God in heaven that goes like this, according to Joshua 24: 14 – 15,

 “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

These words came to me to my remembrance after I read these words in Psalm 146: 3 – 5,

“Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save.When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;on that very day their plans come to nothing.Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,whose hope is in the Lord their God”.

 Who we really serve ends up who we praise as we usually serve or follow the example of the person or thing we desire and admire the most in this life.

I often hear or read of people sometimes even Christians promoting a politician or political party or political ideal as the answer to the problems of our world today and in doing so they show their faith and hope is in man not the God of heaven and earth.

Not that Christians cannot hold political views and in fact Paul encourages us as true followers of the Lord Jesus Christ to pray for those in authority, 1 Timothy 2: 1 -4,

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—

 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

 For many years now I have decided to pay respect to all political leaders and to pray for them no matter what party they belong to that God will lead them to the truth about his saving love in Christ and that they might be led to govern our country in such a way that everyone, including Christians can lead a peaceful life in godliness and holiness.

What I speak about shows who or what I think is worthy of praise and Psalm 146 makes this very clear. It seems its writer might have fallen himself into the trap of putting his faith and hope in earthly leaders of his day but when God reminded him of who he really is and what he has done for us as fallen sinful people in great need of Salvation he resolved to praise the Lord with his whole being or soul verse 1 and entire life verse 2.

This Psalm 146 became one of the final five Psalms in the book of Psalms that start and end with the Hebrew term, Hallelujah or as we translate it, “Praise the Lord” or more accurately praise Yahweh, Yahweh is the special covenant of love name for God who is, has been and will be forever more be as Moses was told at the burning bush by God recorded in Exodus 3: 14,

God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

The name “I am who I am” is believed to be, “Yahweh” in Hebrew but others say it should be Jehovah but we are not sure because the Jews held the name in such a holy high way they would not write down vowels and only wrote down the four consonants YHWH.

So, these last five Psalms in the book of Psalms became known as “The Hallelujah Psalms” different from the other Hallelujah Psalms in book 5, 113 – 118 which are, “The Egyptian Hallelujah Psalms” as they praise God from a “Passover Preparation” perspective which is the celebration of God delivering Israel out of slavery in Egypt.

So, it seems the editors of this final book of Psalms placed Psalm 146 at the start of this final collection of Hallelujah Psalms as it makes it clear who we should be praising.

With the theme of the challenge of choosing who we will praise and serve, namely the God of Heaven and earth and not human beings or any other God substitute my outline is:

 

  1. (1 – 2) THE WRITERS COMMITMENT TO PRAISE THE LORD
  1. (vs. 1) May my whole being praise the Lord
  2. (vs. 2) May my whole life praise the Lord

      2   (3 – 5)   THE CHALLENGE OF CHOOSING WHO YOU WILL PRAISE

  1. (3 -4) Do not choose to praise and serve man
  2. (vs 5) Choose to praise the God of the bible

3.  6 – 10) THE REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD CHOOSE TO PRAISE GOD

  1. (vs 6) Choose to praise God because he made everything
  2. (7– 9b) Choose to praise God because he cares for lost humanity
  3. (vs 9) Choose to praise God and not a God substitute or face frustration
  4. (vs 10) Choose to praise God because he is the eternal King
  1. (1 – 2) THE WRITERS COMMITMENT TO PRAISE THE LORD
  1. (vs. 1) May my whole being praise the Lord

 The writer of Psalm 146 opens with the ancient Hebrew term all of these last five Psalms of the book of Psalms open and close with,

“Hallelujah”

 Or as our English versions translate,

“Praise the Lord”

 As I have already stated, “Hallelujah” is literally, “Praise Yahweh” and Yahweh if you were an ancient Hebrew spoke of the great and powerful God of heaven and earth who has always existed and always will who made himself known to his chosen people and who established with them a special relationship of love.

As Christians, we know that this same God has made himself known to us in his saving acts of grace in and through the Lord Jesus Christ. Yahweh worked through the Old Covenant to establish the new covenant of love as the writer to the Hebrews speaks of in Hebrews 9: 15,

“For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant”.

 The wonderful message of the whole bible is that the one true God of heaven and earth is in fact a God of love as the famous New Testament verse, John 3: 16 clearly states,

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”.

 The writer of Psalm 146 therefore adds to his “Praise Yahweh” or “Hallelujah” a second “Praise the Lord” and follows it with a commitment to praise this great God of love with his soul which in Hebrew means his whole being. The second part of verse 1 of Psalm 146 should read,

“Praise Yahweh with my whole being”

 This God, he believes deserves his total all out praise and service and we will learn from the rest of the Psalm why this is so.

  1. (vs. 2) May my whole life praise the Lord

Just to make sure we get what he has already stated he says much the same thing in verse 2 when he writes,

“I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live”.

 This man is totally committed to praising the God of heaven and earth who is “Yahweh” the one true eternal God who has made himself known to us through the Nation of Israel and more specifically through the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ as we as Christians know now.

This verse and the verse it follows is a commitment to serve and praise the God of the bible who deserves our praise as we will see from the rest of this Psalm. This is a life- long commitment as he uses life- long terms,

“all my life” and “as long as I live”

 Stephen J. Cole writes,

“Praising God every day as long as you live won’t happen naturally or because you have a cheery disposition. It requires a God – ward focus, where you see every blessing and trial coming from his loving hand”.

 Paul gave us a deep and thorough God – ward focus to continually praise and serve the Lord in some of his opening words of his letter to the Ephesians and I will quote just 6 of these verses here in this Psalm talk to help inspire us to praise the Lord all our lives, Ephesians 1: 3 – 9,

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love hepredestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, hemade known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ”.

 Whenever I feel tempted to turn from praising the Lord I like to read these words or even the first couple of chapters of Paul’s amazing letter to the Ephesians and my God ward focus of praise for the Lord returns in bucket loads.

      2.   (3 – 5)   THE CHALLENGE OF CHOOSING WHO YOU WILL PRAISE

  1. (3 -4) Do not choose to praise man

Surprisingly the writer of Psalm 146 after he has declared his commitment to praise the Lord with his whole being and throughout his entire life then speaks in negative terms about not putting trust and praise in human leaders called in his day, “Princes”. He write in verse 3,

“Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings who cannot save”.

 Why does the writer of Psalm 146 turn from talking about total commitment to serving and praising God to a negative statement about not serving or using his words trusting in princes or human beings?

One commentator I consulted named Leopold suggested that this might have come about because our writer wrote this Psalm after he had learnt the bitter lesson of being caught up in trusting and praising human leaders rather than God.

I must tell you that the Hebrew word for “Princes” is “Nadib” which Richard Neil Donovan says represents,

“People in high places – people who wield authority – wealthy people”.

I can relate to this temptation because I know I live in a fallen world I feel surrounded by powerful human voices vying for my attention and allegiance. Powerful people can wield authority and even attractive messages and tempt us to gain our support and allegiance.

We can easily get sucked in to start trusting in a charismatic leader or person and in doing so forget that only God can be trusted and only God deserves our trust and praise.

Stephen J. Cole says,

“You will praise the one whom you trust if he helps you”.

 However, the writer of Psalm 146 makes it clear that no matter how much a human person helps us he or she,

“Cannot Save”

 They prove that they cannot save us because verse 4 says,

When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that day their plans come to nothing”.

 In other words, if you trust in a human being you will be eventually let down for the hope they offer will end in disappointment and even disaster.

I mentioned in my introduction I referred to Joshua’s call to serve the Lord in Joshua 24 verses 14 – 15,

 “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

In Joshua’s day the great temptation for his people was to return to serving the false God’s of Egypt or the God’s of the people of Canaan they had just conquered who would have got there powerful message blasted into the minds and lives as they lived in a culture totally devoted to them.

We have no problems turning to the ancient God’s of Egypt or Canaan but other alternative God’s or anti – God of the bible philosophies have a dominate voice in our world and tempt us to follow them. I live a secular often Godless western country that is dominated by a non-God of the bible philosophy like materialism or worship of self-interest which shouts its message at me daily seeking to win my elegance.

I also pointed out how Joshua mentioned the God’s of the people they are now living amongst as another form of non-God of the bible alternative and it was those God’s that Israel did by and large turn to causing great strife and pain for Israel and leading to God’s judgement like the fall of Israel in the North to the Assyrians and the fall of Judah in the south to the Babylonians followed by seventy years of Captivity in Babylon.

We all face the great temptation of not serving and praising God as the devil uses the world around us to shout a non-God allegiance message at us to subtly draw us into non- God of the bible thought and action.

James has this advice for us as we face and come under the influence of the Devil and his evil schemes to draw us away from serving and praising the Lord in James 4: 7 – 10,

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up”.

 We must then be aware of the temptation of trusting in “princes” or powerful leaders of our world who cannot save us and praise the God of the bible who through the Lord Jesus Christ has saved us and given us the wonderful gift of eternal life as Paul declares so often in his letters to the churches and people like Timothy like 1 Timothy 1: 15 – 16,

“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life”. 

  1. (vs 5) Choose to praise the God of the bible

So, the writer of Psalm 146 has warned us about falling into the trap of trusting in and praising “Princes” powerful human leaders who cannot save us and so in verse 5 he now says who we should trust in and praise he writes,

“Blessed are those whose help is in the God of Jacob, whose hope is the Lord their God”.

 In other Psalm talks have I pointed out that the word “Blessed” actually means something like “Happiness” but not the kind of happiness our current world seeks but true deep spiritual happiness that Paul speaks of as peace with God as he speaks of in Philippians 4: 7,

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”.

 So, this happiness or peace that transcends all understanding is finding help and hope in the God of Jacob. This term “God of Jacob” has come up in many Psalms and I have pointed out before that Jacob is the other name of the patriarch who was later in his life named by God as Israel which became the name of the nation that descended from him.

I believe this use of the other name of Israel is no accident as Jacob up to the day he became known by God as Israel lived up to his former names ancient Hebrew meaning of “the supplanter” or the one sought to pull others down to advance himself. This is a good description of the life of Jacob up to his close encounter with God (Genesis 32: 27 – 31) and God touched Jacobs hip as he wrestled with his angel causing Jacob to have a permanent limp which made Jacob a person who stopped seeking to advance himself to become Israel which means, “May God Prevail” or “He struggled with God and God prevailed”.

“The God of Jacob” then is the God of sinners who submit their rebellious wills to the God described in the next verse as,

The maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them”.

 This God then, as verse 5 says,

“Is the Lord their God”

 This God then, alone deserves our “Hallelujah” or “Praise” as we read so often in the book of Revelation like 14: 6 – 7,

“Then I saw another angel flying in mid-air, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

     3.   (6 – 10) THE REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD CHOOSE TO PRAISE GOD

  1. (vs 6) Choose to praise God because he made everything

The final five verses of this Psalm 146 spell out many reasons why this God of Jacob or God of rebellious sinners who turn to God as the Lord deserves our praise.

The first of these reasons why the God of Jacob deserves our praise is in verse 6,

“He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them – he remains faithful forever.”

 This concept of God being a powerful God who deserves our praise because he made everything has come up many times in the book of Psalms like Psalm 115: 15,

“May you be blessed by the Lord, the maker of Heaven and earth”

 or Psalm 121: 2,

“My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth”.

 Spurgeon aptly says,

“This God who still makes the world by keeping it in existence is assuredly able to keep us to his eternal kingdom and glory. The making of the worlds is the standing proof of the power and wisdom of that great God in whom we trust”.

 The fact God is the one who made this world and keeps it going as Spurgeon has just suggested alone deserves our trust and praise especially compared to any other God substitute like so called powerful leaders we read about in the previous verses.

This great creator God who has made himself known in his Son Jesus Christ Paul tells us does a work of new creation in us through Christ as Paul declares in 2 Corinthians 2: 17,

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!”

 The concept of God being the maker or creator of everything led our writer of Psalm 146 to then declare at the end of verse 6,

“He remains faithful forever”

 Spurgeon says this about these words,

This is a second and most forcible justification of our trust: the Lord will never permit his promise to fail.

He is true to his own nature, true to the relationships which he has assumed, true to his covenant, true to his Word, true to his Son. He keeps true, and is the keeper of all that is true. Immutable fidelity is the character of Jehovah’s procedure. None can charge him with falsehood or vacillation”.

 This reminds me of Paul words in 2 Thessalonians 3: 3,

“But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one”.

Again, God alone deserves our trust and praise who is faithful and will never let us down unlike human alternatives who cannot be trusted as they will as fallen people let us down as the writer of Psalm 146 said at the end of verse 4,

“Their plans come to nothing”

 I might add the so- called help and hope they offer comes to nothing.

  1. (7– 9) Choose to praise God because he cares for lost humanity

Just the realisation that the God of the bible made everything should give us ample reasons to praise God alone but the writer of Psalm 146 speaks of even more reasons other than God being the creator of heaven and earth as reasons for choosing each day to praise him with our whole soul and life.

Verses 7 to 9 list six other reasons why the God of the bible deserves our praise daily and they are:

  1. (vs. 7a) Upholds the Oppressed
  2. (vs. 7b) Gives food to the hungry
  3. (vs. 8a) Gives sight to the blind
  4. (vs. 8b) Lifts up those who are bowed down
  5. (vs. 9a) Watches over the foreigner
  6. (vs. 9b) Sustains the fatherless and the window

Before we look at each one of these in a bit more detail I want to try and answer the question are all these six ways God shows that he deserves our praise to be read as physical or spiritual things?

I have decided that I think they are both physical and spiritual. I like the way David Guzil speaks of them when he writes,

“The Psalmist here began a marvellous description of Yahweh as a God of power, care, justice and compassion”.

 David adds:

“The Psalmist seems delighted to describe Yahweh in His great works of love and power”.

 The Jewish law speaks literally about God’s people having obligations of upholding the oppressed (Exodus 23: 6 – 7), obligations under the law to look after the poor (Deuteronomy 15: 7) and also obligations to care for the foreigner, orphaned and widowed (Deuteronomy 24: 19 – 22).

God placed these obligations in his law to the oppressed, poor, foreigner, orphaned and widow for his people because that is who he cares for and he wants his people to intimate him as God declares to his people in Deuteronomy 10: 17 – 19,

“For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. 18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. 19 And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt”.

 Note how the motivation God offers his people Israel to care for the poor, oppressed and particularly foreigners are that they were foreigners and of course oppressed and poor people in Egypt when God saved or delivered them out of Egypt.

Even though I believe we can rightly interpret these 6 ways God cares for us as literal reasons for reasons for us to praise him alone I think the book of Isaiah and the New Testament particularly the teachings of Jesus can be applied equally well as spiritual reasons for giving God praise and I will now seek to interpret these six reasons as spiritual reasons for giving God alone praise.

  1. (vs. 7a) Upholds the Oppressed

“He upholds the cause of the oppressed” (vs. 7a)

As I have just said Isaiah speaks of God upholding the spiritual oppressed in a verse like Isaiah 61: 1,

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoner”.

  In Luke 4: 16 – 20 Jesus applies this prophecy to himself,

He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,because he has anointed meto proclaim good news to the poor.He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisonersand recovery of sight for the blind,to set the oppressed free,19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him”.

 Jesus mission was to set the oppressed free who are oppressed by their sins and he achieved this by his death and resurrection as Paul proclaimed in the Synagogue in Antioch in Acts 13: 38 – 39,

“Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39 Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses”.

 So, the freedom Christ won for us from the oppression of our sins is another wonderful reason why should give God our praise all the days of our lives.

  1. (vs. 7b) Gives food to the hungry

“And gives food to the hungry”

 Isaiah speaking, I think about spiritual food and nourishment says this in Isaiah 55: 1 – 2,

“Come, all you who are thirsty,come to the waters;and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labour on what does not satisfy?Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare”.

 The spiritual link is made clear by the next verse that says,

“Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live, I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David”.

 Jesus promises to give us this spiritual food or nourishment if we but believe in him in John 6: 35,

“Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty”.

 So, the spiritual food or nourishment Jesus gives us when we believe in him is another wonderful reason why should give God our praise all the days of our lives.

  1. (vs. 8a) Gives sight to the blind

 “The Lord gives sight to the blind” (vs. 8a)

Isaiah spoke a lot about God giving blind people sight like Isaiah 35: 5 – 7,

“Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy.Water will gush forth in the Wilderness and streams in the desert”.

 Jesus gave physical sight to blind people but also offers far more valuable spiritual sight to anyone who comes to him in faith as we read in Acts 26: 15 – 18 which is part of Pauls defence before King Agrippa when he refers to his conversion and call to ministry when he had a vision of the Lord Jesus Christ,

“Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?

  I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”

 Paul prays this for the Ephesians in Ephesians 1: 18,

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people”.

So, spiritual sight to our spiritually blind eyes Jesus gives us when we believe in him is another wonderful reason why should give God our praise all the days of our lives.

  1. (vs. 8b) Lifts up those who are bowed down

“The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down”.

 Albert Barnes writes,

The reference is to those who are bent and bowed under the duties, the cares, the trials of life; who go bowed down under those burdens. God is able to strengthen them so that they can bear those burdens without being crushed under them”.

 Sin crushes us and causes us to carry many burdens in this life but the help and hope of the Lord the writer of Psalm 146 spoke of in verse 5 now brings the fourth reason for praise namely the Lord lifting up those who are bowed down but bowed down before the Lord as the last part of this says,

“The Lord loves the righteous”

 James tells us in James 4: 10,

10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up”.

 So, lifting us up from the crushing effects of sin that the Lord gives us when we bow down before him with Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is another wonderful reason why should give God our praise all the days of our lives.

  1. (vs. 9a) Watches over the foreigner

“The Lord watches over the foreigner”

 I quoted earlier from Deuteronomy 10: 17 – 19 which contains God’s law for his special people to care and love fatherless, widow and in other parts of the law the poor etc. and verse 19 says,

“And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt”.

 Note how the motivation God gives his people to care and love the foreigner is the fact that they once were foreigners in Egypt before God saved them out of their slavery and oppression to eventually give them a homeland in what was called The Promised land.

Spiritually before we came to Christ we were slaves to sin and spiritually foreigners to the family of God but now we are members of the family of God as Paul speaks of in Galatians 3: 23 – 29,

“Before the coming of this faith,we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.

26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise”.

 Peter speaks of this as well in 1 Peter 2: 9 – 10,

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy”.

 Interestingly Peter goes on to say in the next verse that we are like foreigners in this world owing to the fact that we have been called out of the darkness of this world to be part of God’s chosen people or royal priesthood that is his holy nation on earth,

“Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul”.

 So, being loved as foreigners who through Christ death on the cross for our sins are now considered by God as part of his chosen Holy nation on earth is another wonderful reason why we should give God our praise all the days of our lives.

  1. (vs. 9b) Sustains the fatherless and the window

“And sustains the fatherless and the widow” (vs. 9b)

God made specific commands for his chosen people to love and care for the fatherless and widows in his law as we saw earlier in Deuteronomy 10: 18,

18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing”.

 In Old Testament ancient times to become a widow and loose the support of a father would have been both devastating both socially and physically as only the man could grow the crops or earn a wage for the services he provided for the community unlike today because we have social services and widow pensions to help provide some form of financial support for women without a husband and children without a Father.

God wants then his people to care for those who are suffering and live at a disadvantage in this life and this has a spiritual application in that before we came to God through Christ we were like orphans or even foreigners to God but God’s love sent Jesus into the world to shine his light upon us and through his death on the cross he forgive our many sins that separated us from him and now by faith in what he has done for us he has brought us into the family of God.

This is what we saw Peter said before in 1 Peter 2: 10,

10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy”.

 This also is yet another wonderful reason for us to praise God all the days of our lives.

  1. (vs 9) Choose to praise God and not a God substitute or face frustration

The end of verse 9 says this,

 “But he frustrates the ways of the wicked”

 The end of verse 9 speaks briefly then of the fate of those who refuse to praise the God of heaven and earth and instead praise some other God substitute.

The writer of this Psalm has already stated that trusting in someone or something other than God will lead to frustration as he says in verses 3 and 4,

“Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save.When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing”.

 You can see the element of frustration in the words at the end of verse 4,

“Their plans come to nothing”

 Only when we turn to the One true God of heaven and earth and praise and serve him can we experience the truth of the words of verse 5 which says,

“Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,whose hope is in the Lord their God”.

 Not praising God leads then to a life of frustration as we have seen the end of verse 9 says,

“But he frustrates the ways of the wicked”

 The New Testament makes this fact even more clearly like Pauls words of advice to the Church in Ephesus when he advises them not to let those who have not turned to the Lord turn them back to the frustrating Godless life they once lived, Ephesians 5: 6 – 11,

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them”.

 What pleases the Lord could be summed up in putting into practice the main theme of this Psalm namely seeking to praise and serve the Lord all the days of our lives.

  1. (vs 10) Choose to praise God because he is the eternal King

The Psalm ends with a final reason why we should praise the God who made heaven and earth alone all our lives and a final word of praise namely a final “Hallelujah” or Praise the Lord.

First, I will comment on the final reason for praising the God who made heaven and earth all the days of our lives which the writer of Psalm 146 states clearly at the start of verse 10,

“The Lord reigns forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations”.

Which is a clear reference to Exodus 15: 8 spoken by Moses in his special song he wrote after God opened up the red sea for Israel to cross and closed it to drown the army of Pharaoh who had sought to pursue them to destroy them. Here God showed he reigns over nature and mankind and also that this fact is a point of wonder and source of reasons to praise this God who helped and gave hope to his special people called in Psalm 146 verse 10,

“O Zion”

 Zion is a special name in the bible for God’s people along with a word used to describe God’s special place on earth in Old Testament times where he is said to dwell with his people, namely the Temple that stood on top of the hill in Jerusalem called Zion.

Hebrews 12: 22 – 24 gives us the New Testament meaning of the word Zion,

“But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel”.

 So, we are to praise God according to Psalm 146 verse 10 and Hebrews 12: 22 – 24 as the Lord or God who reigns forever in and through his church called in Hebrews 12: 22 – 23,

“Thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven”.

 Reigning forever with God is the last reason for our praise and is in direct contrast to praising and trusting in human Princes in verse 3 who according to verse 4 leads only to frustration as they cannot save us or live forever.

This then lead our writer to make his praise and worship known in a final,

“Hallelujah” or “Praise the Lord”

I conclude then with an original poem or song based on what I have learnt from this Psalm 146 and a final word of prayer.

I WILL PRAISE THE GOD OF HEAVEN ALL MY LIFE

(Based on Psalm 146)

I will praise the God of Heaven all my life

I will praise the God heaven all my life

I will sing of his glory

And seek to tell his story

I will praise the God of Heaven all my life.

 

I will not trust in human leaders of this world

I will not trust in human leaders of this world

For they cannot save me

They will simply die and leave me

I will not trust in human leaders of this world.

 

Blessed are those whose help is in the Lord

Blessed are those whose help is in the Lord

For he gives them hope for living

For he is always giving

Blessed are those whose help is in the Lord.

 

Praise the God who’s the maker of heaven and earth

Praise the God who’s the maker of heaven and earth

He’s a faithful God forever.

And I will praise him as my treasure

Praise the God who’s the maker of heaven and earth.

 

I will be a poor man’s brother like my Lord

I will be a poor man’s brother like my Lord

For he helps the blind to see

And sets the prisoners free

I will be a poor man’s brother like my Lord

 

I will praise the God who reigns for evermore

I will praise the God who reigns for ever more

I will sing of his glory

And seek to tell his story

I will praise the God who reigns for evermore.

 

By: Jim Wenman

 

PRAYER:

 Dear Father in heaven maker of heaven and earth I long to praise you all my life because you are such a faithful loving God. Help me not to trust in and praise human leaders or any other false God substitutes who will only lead me to frustration and death. Help me to praise you Lord always because you care for the lost and give sight to the blind and you have saved me through the death and resurrection of your dear Son Jesus Christ in whose name I pray, Amen.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s