Psalm 147 is the second of the hallelujah psalms that bring the book of the Psalms to a close. It enumerates many reasons to praise our God, any one of which is sufficient reason unto itself, but put together into one psalm it resonates and resounds so that only the most closed of mind could refrain from joining in the praise. The reasons are:
- God is great and rightly to be praised: “For it is good to sing praise to our God; for he is gracious and a song of praise is seemly.” (1) “Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.”
- God builds the city: “The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel.” (2) Jerusalem had been destroyed but after the Babylonian exile, the people were brought back and the city rebuilt, by God’s great power.
- God heals those who are hurting: “He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.” (3)
- God names the stars: “He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.” (4) In the same way, he knows all of us.
- God lifts up the lowly and brings down the wicked: “The Lord lifts up the down trodden, he casts the wicked to the ground.” (6)
- God makes the grass grow and controls the elements: “He covers the heavens with clouds, he prepares rain for the earth, he makes grass grow upon the hills.” (8) “He gives snow like wool; he scatters hoarfrost like ashes; he casts forth his ice like morsels; who can stand before his cold? He sends forth his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow and the waters flow.” (16-18)
- He feeds the animals: “He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens which cry.” (9)
- He doesn’t delight in worldly strength but in all those who fear him and hope in his mercy: “His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a mare, but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.” (10-11)
- He blesses our homes: “For he strengthens the bars of your gates; he blesses your sons within you.” (13)
- He is a peacemaker: “He makes peace in our borders.” (14a)
- And he feeds us: “He fills you with the finest of the wheat.” (14b)
- His word is powerful: “He sends forth his commands to the earth, his word runs swiftly.” (15) “He sends forth his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow and the waters flow. He declares his word to Jacob, statutes and ordinances to Israel.” (18-19)
The writers of the Psalms were obsessed with God. They looked at Creation and saw the Creator, quickly going beyond the seen to the unseen. They looked at the great city of Jerusalem and saw, not the humans who rebuilt the Temple, but our God who makes all things possible. Psalm 147 is a great example of how they constantly point us to our God who is worthy to be praised.
What reasons can you add to this list? Which is your favorite? (Mine is how God heals the brokenhearted.)