1 Hallelujah! How good it is to sing to our God, for praise is pleasant and lovely. 2 The Lord rebuilds Jerusalem; He gathers Israel’s exiled people. 3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. 4 He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them. 5 Our Lord is great, vast in power; His understanding is infinite. 6 The Lord helps the afflicted but brings the wicked to the ground. 7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; play the lyre to our God, 8 who covers the sky with clouds, prepares rain for the earth, and causes grass to grow on the hills. 9 He provides the animals with their food, and the young ravens, what they cry for. 10 He is not impressed by the strength of a horse; He does not value the power of a man. 11 The Lord values those who fear Him, those who put their hope in His faithful love. 12 Exalt the Lord, Jerusalem; praise your God, Zion! 13 For He strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your children within you. 14 He endows your territory with prosperity; He satisfies you with the finest wheat. 15 He sends His command throughout the earth; His word runs swiftly. 16 He spreads snow like wool; He scatters frost like ashes; 17 He throws His hailstones like crumbs. Who can withstand His cold? 18 He sends His word and melts them; He unleashes His winds, and the waters flow. 19 He declares His word to Jacob, His statutes and judgments to Israel. 20 He has not done this for any nation; they do not know His judgments. Hallelujah!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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Psalm 147 is very clearly a Psalm of praise, perhaps written with the rebuilding of Jerusalem after the Exile in view. As I read it, three distinct sections stand out. Verses 2-6 declare the great power of God, as He cares for His people and lifts up the humble. Verses 7-11 speak of the provision of God through the giving of rain and food. It is in the hope of God’s provision, and not their own strength, that the people of God are secure. Verses 12-20 proclaim God’s favor on Jerusalem, all of God’s people, and that “He has not done this for any nation” other than Israel (v. 20).
The title I’ve given this entry, “A Song of Praise Is Fitting,” comes from verse 2 of this Psalm in the ESV translation of the Bible. These words are so simple, one would be tempted to pass over them without a second thought. But aren’t these words the crux of our worship? As we read through this Psalm we’re instructed by the psalmist to “Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving” (v. 7)and “Exalt the Lord” (v. 12). The writer even bookends this hymn with a “Hallelujah!” (and I would imagine a LOUD “Hallelujah,” at that).
In this Psalm we are constantly being compelled, encouraged, even commanded to give praise to our God for His goodness. We’re told in verse 1 that we are to do this, “for praise is pleasant and lovely.” The writer probably means that our praise is “pleasant and lovely” to God’s ears. But perhaps the praise is “pleasant and lovely” to us as well, as the effort we put forth in our worship brings us the peace and assurance of God’s presence and blessings.
“All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship”
These words are some of the lyrics to “Desert Song” by Hillsong United, and they immediately come to mind when I think of how “a song of praise is fitting.” Unlike Psalm 112 (yesterday’s entry) in which virtually the entire Psalm is covered in various notes and other markings, Psalm 147 has only one verse underlined in my Bible: “but the Lord takes pleasure in the whose fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love” (v. 11, ESV). This one verse nicely sums up this Psalm.
God helps the afflicted because of His steadfast love. God provides for His children because of His steadfast love. God strengthens His chosen people because of His steadfast love. As we continually put our hope not in our own strength but in God’s, we can boldly and confidently sing a fitting song of praise in every season of life.
- As a response to this Psalm, spend a few moments in prayer right now, not asking God for anything, but simply saying “Thank You” for all He has done, is doing, and has promised to do.