Psalms – The Final Hallelujahs
When you are pressed from all sides, worried about life situations, anxious about the unknown, burdened by illnesses of loved ones and sad because of the unkindness of others, shout Hallelujah! You are probably smiling or laugh out loud at the thought. But as the psalmist says in the opening of our next song, “It’s a good thing to sing praise to our God; praise is beautiful, praise is fitting.”
We take students on tours of the air base where I teach. When asked by a student, “how do you see where to fly on a cloudy day like this?”, the pilot responded, “we fly above it all and see only blue skies ahead.” Mm, new perspective.
Praise to God right in the middle of our challenge helps us look at life with a new, higher-thinking perspective. Yes, it’s a good thing to praise God in many ways. Praise takes the focus from ourselves, causes us to look up, beyond the stormy clouds and see the clear Light of day. We see blue skies where others see only clouds and darkness.
Psalm 147, The Message
It’s a good thing to sing praise to our God;
praise is beautiful, praise is fitting.
2-6 God’s the one who rebuilds Jerusalem,
who regathers Israel’s scattered exiles.
He heals the heartbroken
and bandages their wounds.
He counts the stars
and assigns each a name.
Our Lord is great, with limitless strength;
we’ll never comprehend what he knows and does.
God puts the fallen on their feet again
and pushes the wicked into the ditch.
7-11 Sing to God a thanksgiving hymn,
play music on your instruments to God,
Who fills the sky with clouds,
preparing rain for the earth,
Then turning the mountains green with grass,
feeding both cattle and crows.
He’s not impressed with horsepower;
the size of our muscles means little to him.
Those who fear God get God’s attention;
they can depend on his strength.
12-18 Jerusalem, worship God!
Zion, praise your God!
He made your city secure,
he blessed your children among you.
He keeps the peace at your borders,
he puts the best bread on your tables.
He launches his promises earthward—
how swift and sure they come!
He spreads snow like a white fleece,
he scatters frost like ashes,
He broadcasts hail like birdseed—
who can survive his winter?
Then he gives the command and it all melts;
he breathes on winter—suddenly it’s spring!
19-20 He speaks the same way to Jacob,
speaks words that work to Israel.
He never did this to the other nations;
they never heard such commands.
Did you know?
When Nehemiah and his people finished rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, restoring the gates, and resettling the people, they called a great assembly for celebration and dedication, and it is likely that this psalm was written for that occasion. They went through many trials of getting this task that God gave them to do accomplished.
One of the unique characteristics of this psalm is the large number of present participles in it–“building, healing, binding, counting, lifting up,” and so on–all of which speak of the constant and dynamic working of the Lord for His people. The psalm presents three reasons why the people should praise the Lord, and each section is marked off by the command to praise God.
1. Praise the Lord–His People Have Been Restored (vv. 1-6).
2. Sing to the Lord–The Land Has Been Refreshed (vv. 7-11).
3. Extol the Lord–The Word Has Been Revealed (vv. 12-20).
We are commanded to do the same…why? It’s a GOOD thing to sing praise to our God! Praise is beautiful. Praise is fitting to our God, the Creator of all. Praise changes our perspective.
On a personal note…
I am reminded of the silly exercise of standing and sitting with each phrase of Hallelu, Hallelu, Hallelu, Hallelujah….Praise Ye the Lord! Remember that as a child growing up?? Makes me smile…