On this new Lord’s Day, to assist us in preparing spiritually for worship of our Triune God in Jesus Christ, we turn to Psalm 113, the next psalm in our series. This psalm is part of that collection of brief praise songs, whose human authorship we do not know. But these psalms are powerful words of the Holy Spirit, and most fitting for our worship preparation. Let’s put it before us and meditate on it:
Praise ye the Lord. Praise, O ye servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord.
2Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and for evermore.
3From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord’S name is to be praised.
4The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens.
5Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high,
6Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!
7He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill;
8That he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people.
9He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the Lord.
Psalm 113, like Psalm 111, focuses on the heart of our worship – God Himself! It declares the blessedness and praise-worthiness of the Lord’s name and gives us the reasons why it is. In sum, it is because of Who He is and what He does as our sovereign God. He is exalted above all nations and above the heavens (v.4). He is the transcendent Lord of all (v.5)! There truly is none like unto our God! Because He is God alone! And that, first of all, is why He is to be praised, even from sunup to sundown (v.3). That’s why His servants (His chosen and redeemed-by-blood people) are called to bless His name (v.1). Are we ready to do that today? Are our hearts and mouths prepared to bless and praise this great and glorious God? This is our reasonable service as His saved servants (Romans 12:1).
And then note too what this majestic Lord of all does according to this song. Being so exalted and transcendent, does He have no time for His lowly people on earth? Is He so consumed with being praised that He cannot dwell with the poor and needy? Not at all! Read vss.6-9 again. Listen carefully to what He does for us own – he pays attention to everything in His world (v.6). And moved by compassion for the needs of His people, He raises them up and sets them with royalty (vss.7-8). And knowing how easily the women of His kingdom are slighted, our God gives them a special place and role (v.9). This too is our God! And these too are the reasons for praising Him and blessing His name. Do you see these ways of the Lord with His people? Have you experienced them yourselves? Then praise Him, servants of Jehovah!
And these actions of the Lord all begin with His humility: “Who humbleth himself”! I cannot fathom that, can you? That this high and lofty One, Who has no need of me or you, Who has no reason in us to condescend to raise us up out of our sin and shame, that He would be moved to help us and humble Himself to help us is beyond my comprehension! And we could not believe it to be true except that we have His sure Word that it is, and have the Incarnation and cross of Jesus Christ to prove it. In Him especially are the love and humility of our great God displayed! And when we meditate on that humility and condescension of Christ, we are moved to praise our God and bless His name. It cannot be otherwise. Being so lifted up by the grace of God, we will lift Him up on high in our worship. Shall we do that as His servants again this day?
If you wish to meditate on Psalm 113 through music, I direct you again to the Psalter page of the PRC website, and specifically to this versification (Click on the title for piano accompaniment.):
306. The Glory and Condescension of God. Psalm 113. L.M. (4 stanzas)
1. Praise God, ye servants of the Lord,
Praise, praise His Name with one accord;
Bless ye the Lord, His Name adore
From this time forth, forevermore.
2. From rising unto setting sun
Praised be the Lord, the Mighty One;
He reigns o’er all, supreme in might,
Above the heavens in glory bright.
3. On whom but God can we rely,
The Lord our God Who reigns on high,
Who condescends to see and know
The things of heaven and earth below?
4. He lifts the poor and makes them great,
With joy He fills the desolate;
Praise ye the Lord and bless His Name,
His mercy and His might proclaim.