We are entering the weekend and that leads us to the opportunity for corporate worship. I hope that, if at all possible, you will worship with family at your local church on Sunday. We will be at a church preaching this Sunday and are excited to have the opportunity. If you are unable to attend for Covid concerns or another reason then catch your church or another’s online.
Here is my reason, my friend, because there is a lot going on around you and you may feel you are under constant attack. You see, we are all going through different things and at different times. In a very real way in our country, there are things happening and those that will happen which will affect you and me. So let's look to Scripture, find solace And praise God this Sunday.
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.
So then how did the writer begin? What did he say to the people in order to encourage them and provide direction? It is the same thing I am doing today in this blog, encouraging you to praise God. 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.” As you praise God then, as the Psalmist shows you can recognize 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? You know, you might very well be asking that same question today. Look at all that is going around you. Honestly, look at what is going on around all of us. I thought about making a list here but decided to let you fill in the blank. We will probably agree with one another on most but I guarantee you will have something I don't and I will that you don't. Yet, no matter what is on the list we can all agree that God cares. 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. We all can and we should because then we see the writer immediately as he assures us that God also numbers the stars. When you look into the sky you 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 to this only makes one 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 lift ‘the humble’ (v. 6)
When you stop and contemplate what the Lord reveals of Himself to us you find that with God there is a natural order. 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, because it seldom occurs to us to ask the same concerning our innumerable blessings.
God delights Himself as He works in our lives. 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.’
So here we are again today, facing life. All that is occurring may seem unfair and even wrong. In the midst of all of this, what do we do as His people? Today, maybe more than ever, you need to praise God.
A thought to ponder,