It was traditional for the Jewish people to sing 113-114 before they ate their Passover meal, and they closed the meal by singing 115-118 (Matt. 26:30; Mark 14:26). These psalms were also sung in celebration of Pentecost, Tabernacles, the new moon festivals, and the Feast of Dedication. The psalm opens and closes with “hallelujah” (“praise Jehovah”) and gives us three wonderful reasons for praising the Lord:
God’s name is the greatest!
The psalmwriter addressed the entire nation of Israel, which is often called “God’s servant” (34:22; 69:36; 136:22; Isa. 41:8-9; 54:17). They had the privilege and responsibility of sharing the true and living God with their Gentile neighbors (Isa. 42:6), and Paul applied that verse to his own ministry and the ministry of the church (Acts 13:47; 26:26; and see Luke 2:32). We are all servants of God and praise His Name for He alone is worthy to be honored and worshiped.
God’s throne is the highest!
Most ancient kings were inaccessible to their people, but our God sees us and knows our every need (138:6; Isa. 57:15). For the believer, God’s throne is not only a throne of glory and authority, but it is also a throne of grace, a topic the psalmist explained in the next three verses.
God’s love is the kindest!
The Lord in His grace not only sees us but also cares for us and helps us. He “stoops down” and condescends to work on our behalf. The picture in verses 7-8 comes from verses 7 and 8 of the song of Hannah (1 Sam. 2:1-10), part of which was borrowed by Mary in her song of praise to God (Luke 1:46-55). Hannah was a barren wife to whom God gave a son, Samuel the judge and prophet.
The ash heap (“dirt of the poor”) was the gathering place of the outcasts of the city, the unwanted poor, and the diseased (Job 2:8). The sun would warm the ashes during the day and the ashes would keep the people warm at night. It was the one place that people avoided going near, but our God visits rejected people and changes their lives!
The love of God and the grace of God made our God stoop to our level, especially when He sent Jesus Christ to become one of us and die for us on the cross (Phil. 2:1-11). In John 8:6 and 8 and 13:1-11, Jesus stooped to forgive a sinful woman and to wash His disciples’ feet. But His greatest demonstration of grace was when He died for us on the cross. He condescended to become like us that we might become like Him (1 Cor. 1:26-29; Eph. 2:1-10). There can be no greater love (John 15:13). Only Jesus Christ can lift sinners out of the ash heap and put them on the throne! (Eph. 2:1-10).
No matter how dark the day or impossible the circumstances, our God is able to do the impossible (Eph. 3:19-20)!
Worship and Wisdom, Psalms and Proverbs
Psalm 113, The Message
You who serve God, praise God!
Just to speak his name is praise!
Just to remember God is a blessing—
now and tomorrow and always.
From east to west, from dawn to dusk,
keep lifting all your praises to God!
4-9 God is higher than anything and anyone,
outshining everything you can see in the skies.
Who can compare with God, our God,
so majestically enthroned,
Surveying his magnificent
heavens and earth?
He picks up the poor from out of the dirt,
rescues the forgotten who’ve been thrown out with the trash,
Seats them among the honored guests,
a place of honor among the brightest and best.
He gives childless couples a family,
gives them joy as the parents of children.
TRUTH: God is our rescue. For God SO loved, He sent His One and Only Son to die for our sins. Jesus reconciled us to God by believing in Him. Forever changed life is a life built on Jesus love and righteousness.
Proverb 30:32-33, The Message
“If you’re dumb enough to call attention to yourself by offending people and making rude gestures, Don’t be surprised if someone bloodies your nose. Churned milk turns into butter; riled emotions turn into fist fights.”
WISDOM: Find and follow Jesus. Hear the voice of the Shepherd who is King of kings and Lord of lords and do what He says for it is the best way for life eternal.
Our Father in Heaven,
We praise your Name! We praise you for who you are and all you have done for us, in us and through us for your glory, honor and praise! Thank you, dear Jesus, for completing the mission to save us. Thank you, Holy Spirit for guiding, correcting, comforting, encouraging and challenging us to obey quickly because of our love for God.
In Jesus Name, Amen