Learning from Psalms 143-150
143:1-12 - The Psalmist prays, ‘Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord’ (9). He is not concerned only about his own welfare. He is concerned about the glory of God: ‘For Your Name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life’ (11). How does God lead us in victory? How is He glorified in our lives? He brings to us the teaching of His Word - ‘Let the morning bring me Word of Your unfailing love’ (8). He gives to us the strength of His Spirit - ‘May Your good Spirit lead me in good paths’ (10). Through His Word and Spirit, God shows us His ‘unfailing love’. He enables us to say, ‘You are my God’, ‘I have put my trust in You’ and ‘I am Your servant’. He ‘shows us the way we should go’. He ‘teaches us to do His will’. He gives us victory over our ‘enemies’ (8,10,12).
144:1-15 - ‘Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle’(1). The Lord is ‘the One who gives victory’ to His people (10). What a great God we have! He is ‘our loving God, our Fortress, our Stronghold, our Deliverer, our Shield’ (2). What great blessing the Lord sends into our lives! He fights for us (Exodus 14:14; Deuteronomy 1:30; 3: 22; Nehemiah 4:20). He is ‘our Strength’ (28:7-8; 59:17). ‘With God we shall gain the victory’ (60:12). Let us pray that God will pour out His blessing upon us: ‘Part Your heavens, O Lord, and come down... Reach down Your hand from on high...’ (5,7). Let us think of how much the Lord has blessed us. Let us sing our song of praise to Him: ‘I will sing a new song to You, O God’ (9).
145:1-21 - ‘Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised. His greatness is beyond understanding’. Let us worship our great God: ‘I will exalt You, my God the King. I will praise Your Name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise You and extol Your Name for ever and ever’ (1-3). The God whom we worship is so much greater than the worship we bring to Him. Our worship is to be a ‘joyful celebration’. We celebrate His great love: ‘The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love’. We rejoice in His great faithfulness: ‘The Lord is faithful to all His promises’. Here on earth, we have only begun to worship our great God. Our worship will continue in His ‘everlasting Kingdom’. There, we will ‘praise His Name for ever and ever’ (7-8, 13,21).
146:1-10 - ‘I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live’ (2). Praising the Lord our God: This is a lifelong commitment. We cannot maintain this lifelong commitment in our own strength. We need the Lord’s help. We must never forget this: ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain’ (127:1). We are not expected to maintain this lifelong commitment in our own strength. We have the Lord’s help. We must always remember this: ‘Our help is in the Name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth’ (124:8). ‘Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them, the Lord who remains faithful for ever’ (5-6).
147:1-20 - ‘The Lord builds up Jerusalem. He gathers the exiles of Israel. he heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds’ (2-3). This is much more than the building of the city of Jerusalem with bricks and mortar. This is God building up His people in their ‘most holy faith’ (Jude 20). This is God blessing His people as they gather together to worship Him. In Christ, we are ‘being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit’ (Ephesians 2:22). The Lord draws us to Himself. He brings us into fellowship with His people. He calls us to worship Him: ‘Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving’. He ‘blesses’ us through ‘His Word’. He ‘blesses’ us in ‘the Spirit’: ‘He sends His Word... and the waters flow’ (7,12-13,18; John 7:37-39).
148:1-150:6 - ‘Praise the Lord’. Psalms 146 and 147 began and ended with these words. Now, we find the same beginning and ending in each of these three Psalms - ‘Praise the Lord’. Our personal song of praise to God - ‘Praise be to the Lord my Rock... I will sing a new song to You, O God... I will exalt You, my God the King; I will praise Your Name for ever and ever; Every day I will praise You... My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord... I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live’ (144:1,9; 145:1-2,21; 146:2) - is just a small part of something so much richer and fuller - ‘Let everything that has breath praise the Lord’ (150:6). May these great Psalms of praise inspire us to praise the Lord more truly and more fully.