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The Reason to praise God

Psalm 147:1-11 ESV


1 Praise the LORD! Because it is good to sing praise to our God! Because it is a pleasure to make beautiful praise!

2 The LORD rebuilds Jerusalem, gathering up Israel's exiles.

3 God heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.

4 God counts the stars by number, giving each one a name.

5 Our Lord is great and so strong! God's knowledge can't be grasped!

6 The LORD helps the poor, but throws the wicked down on the dirt!

7 Sing to the LORD with thanks; sing praises to our God with a lyre!

8 God covers the skies with clouds; God makes rain for the earth; God makes the mountains sprout green grass.

9 God gives food to the animals— even to the baby ravens when they cry out.

10 God doesn't prize the strength of a horse; God doesn't treasure the legs of a runner.

11 No. The LORD treasures the people who honor him, the people who wait for his faithful love.


While we cannot identify the author of this psalm, we can be fairly certain about the time at which it was written. The reference to God building Jerusalem and gathering the outcasts of Israel as seen in verse 2 takes us to that period immediately after the captivity of the Jews in Babylon.


The psalm is often attributed to the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, who supposedly wrote it for the people to use in their worship when the temple in Jerusalem was rebuilt.


In “Opening Up Psalms” Roger Ellsworth said regarding Psalm 147 that:


The Babylonian captivity was most certainly a time of terrible heartache and anguish in which many wondered if God really cared for his people. Looking at the captivity in the rear-view mirror, and at the new temple, as this psalm does, had to remove any lingering doubts about the goodness of God.


The first thing we see in the Psalm is a call to God’s Praise.


1 Praise the LORD! Because it is good to sing praise to our God! Because it is a pleasure to make beautiful praise!


Matthew Henry wrote that-


‘Praising God is work that is its own wages; it is heaven upon earth; it is what we should be in as in our element.… In giving honour to God we really do ourselves a great deal of honour.”


The Psalm continues and reminds us of God’s Caring.


2 The LORD rebuilds Jerusalem, gathering up Israel's exiles.

3 God heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.

4 God counts the stars by number, giving each one a name.

5 Our Lord is great and so strong! God's knowledge can't be grasped!

6 The LORD helps the poor, but throws the wicked down on the dirt!


There were lots of broken hearts among the Israelites during the years of their captivity. The city of Jerusalem lay in ruins. Their glorious temple had been demolished. Their homes had been destroyed. They were captives far away from home.


There was most certainly a question pounding in their heads-Does God care? So the writer answers the question in triumphant form and the fact that God had gathered them home proved His care. He had healed their broken hearts but healing broken hearts is not a one-time thing with God. This is characteristic of him. It is his modus operandi.


The people could, therefore, continue to look to God for the healing of broken-heartedness. Immediately he assures that God also numbers the stars. When we look into the sky we are merely looking and seeing countless numbers of stars but they aren’t countless to God. The fact that God had them all numbered means only one thing:


Great is our Lord,

And mighty in power;

His understanding is infinite.


If God was great enough to number the stars, he was certainly great enough to heal broken hearts. He possesses both the power and the understanding to do so.


The writer anticipates that some might object that it only makes them feel like an insignificant speck. So in order to dispel such a conclusion, he says that the same God who numbers the stars also has them named. He knows them individually!


The implication is clear. The God who knew the stars knew his people individually. In addition to having the power to heal their broken hearts, he himself had the heart to help the poor.

God’s Natural Order determines how life goes And how things work.

7 Sing to the LORD with thanks; sing praises to our God with a lyre!

8 God covers the skies with clouds; God makes rain for the earth; God makes the mountains sprout green grass.

9 God gives food to the animals— even to the baby ravens when they cry out.


Every single day we receive the immeasurable blessings of God as if from a fountain freely flowing. Every day we walk a path that is bordered in His goodness. Yet, when problems come we may quickly ask ourselves why God has allowed such to come to us. It ought not to be, we say to ourselves because it seldom occurs to us to ask the same concerning our innumerable blessings.


Ultimately we learn something that will help us each day and it is to God’s Delight.


10 God doesn't prize the strength of a horse; God doesn't treasure the legs of a runner.

11 No. The LORD treasures the people who honor him, the people who wait for his faithful love.


Albert Barnes writes of God:


Not in the pride, pomp, and circumstance of war is his pleasure; not in the march of armies; not in the valour of the battlefield; not in scenes where “the garments of the warrior are rolled in blood”—but in the closet, where the devout child of God prays; in the family, when the group bend before him in solemn devotion; in the assembly—quiet, serious, calm—when his friends are gathered together for prayer and praise; in the heart that truly loves, reverences, adores him.’


A thought to ponder


Elbert Nasworthy




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