After a two week absence from our Sunday devotionals on the Psalms, let’s return this week to Psalm 147, another “Hallelujah” song of praise to the Lord (These last five psalms all begin and end with “Praise ye the LORD”, that is “Hallelujah”.). The human instrument who penned this psalm is not identified, but we know the divine author is the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of Jesus Christ, Who was in the prophets of the Old Testament (1 Peter 1:10-12).
Her is the inspired and infallible Word of Christ in this song:
Praise ye the Lord: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.
2 The Lord doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.
3 He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.
4 He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.
5 Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.
6 The Lord lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground.
7 Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God:
8 Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains.
9 He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry.
10 He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man.
11 The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.
12 Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion.
13 For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates; he hath blessed thy children within thee.
14 He maketh peace in thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat.
15 He sendeth forth his commandment upon earth: his word runneth very swiftly.
16 He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoar frost like ashes.
17 He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold?
18 He sendeth out his word, and melteth them: he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow.
19 He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel.
20 He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the Lord.
It should be evident how fitting this psalm is for our worship on this Lord’s Day. For it is clear from the outset that Psalm 147 truly is a psalm of praise to Jehovah, the omnipotent and faithful covenant God of creation and of the church. We are told in v.1 that it is good to sing praises to our God, because praise is pleasant and comely. In vss.7 and 12 we are specifically exhorted to sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving and to praise Him as the church. And still more, in v.11 we are reminded that God takes pleasure in those who fear Him.
And from the rest of the psalm we discover why we ought to praise our God. It is because, as v.5 states, our Lord is great and of great power, a God of infinite understanding (and wisdom). And that power and wisdom are displayed in all the works of God’s heart and hands, as those are plainly described in this psalm.
God’s works of creation and providence are beautifully described here. Read through the psalm carefully and mark the verses which set forth these wondrous works of God. And then list the things God daily does in the realm of creation – from counting the stars (v.4), to preparing rain for the earth (v.8), to giving snow like wool (v.16). And then pause to meditate on these works and praise God specifically for them. When was the last time we praised God for calling the stars by name and making the grass grow?
But more importantly, God’s works of saving grace and mighty mercy are laid out here for us, that we might praise Him. These works are put “front and center” for us. Look at vss.2-3, and see how God is the Builder and Gatherer of His church and the Healer of His people. Read v.6 and be reminded that He lifts up the meek, while casting the wicked down. Review v.13 and recall that He is the One Who saves us and our children because he is the Lord of the covenant. Consider the truth of v.19 again, that our God has blessed us with His Word and the revelation of Himself in the face of Jesus, so that we know Him and fellowship with Him – now and forever!
What a God! Of grace and mercy! To us! and our children and grandchildren! Yes, this is OUR God! So, “praise the LORD, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion!” Lift up your songs of thanks and praise to the Lord today in your public and private worship. For, yes, this is pleasing and beautiful to Him.
If you desire to meditate on Psalm 147 through music, I encourage you to listen to a versification of this psalm at the PRC Psalter page. Here is one such versification, titled “Thankful Commemoration” to get you started (Visit the link to hear piano accompaniment and sing along.):
1. Praise ye the Lord, for it is good
To sing unto our God;
‘Tis right and pleasant for His saints
To tell His praise abroad.
The Lord our God builds up His Church,
He seeks her wandering sons;
He binds their wounds and gently heals
The brokenhearted ones.
2. Our Lord is great, He calls by name
And counts the stars of night;
His wisdom is unsearchable,
And wondrous is His might.
The Lord upholds the poor and meek,
He brings the wicked low;
Sing praise to Him and give Him thanks
And all His goodness show.
3. No human might, no earthly pride,
Delights the Lord above;
In them that fear Him He delights,
In them that trust His love.
O Zion, praise the Lord thy God,
His wondrous love confess;
He is thy glory and thy strength,
He will thy children bless.