PSALMS 146-150

Part 20


Psalms 146-150 are the last psalms of this great book. What better way to end this grand book than with Psalms that praise God. Each psalm starts and ends with the phrase, Praise the Lord! Since the Hebrew word praise means hallelujah, some call these last five Psalms the hallelujah psalms.


Speaking of these Psalms, McCaw noted that:


They have no word of petition or any suggestion of personal need; and there is a minimum of historical allusion.  All is focused upon God who alone is worthy to be praised.  Each of the five brings to light some particular aspect of the praise of God; and Ps. 146 strikes the characteristic note of individualism. `If I do not praise God, then the praise of God is incomplete.'"


Psalm 146 stresses how God is the helper of His people and will always be there for us as opposed to men and human rulers. The message of this psalm is to respect God as being the ultimate ruler of our life and to put our trust in Him.


Psalm 146:1 Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul!  2 While I live I will praise the LORD; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.


God is certainly worthy of our praise. As the writer said, we should be willing to praise God for the rest of our lives with the understanding that our praise to God will never end because when we get to heaven, what do you think we will be doing there? We will be praising God.


Psalm 146:3 Do not put your trust in princes, Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help.  4 His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; In that very day his plans perish.  5 Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the LORD his God,  6 Who made heaven and earth, The sea, and all that is in them; Who keeps truth forever,  7 Who executes justice for the oppressed, Who gives food to the hungry.


The writer tells us not put our trust in princes that is people in power or people of influence. We should not put our trust in man only because man can and does fail us. Even those who are trustworthy cannot offer us salvation because only God can offer that.


As the Psalm says, we must put our trust and hope in God because He will never fail us. He had the power to create the heavens and the earth and everything on the earth, so we should never doubt His ability to help us and be there for us. We have seen many time throughout the Bible where God helps the oppressed from their enemies and provided food for the hungry. Since we a have God we can trust in, we should praise Him. The writer continues to praise God for other things He does as we read in:


Psalm 146:7 The LORD gives freedom to the prisoners.  8 The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; The LORD raises those who are bowed down; The LORD loves the righteous.  9 The LORD watches over the strangers; He relieves the fatherless and widow; But the way of the wicked He turns upside down.  10 The LORD shall reign forever -- Your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the LORD!


There are many examples of God doing all of these things throughout the Bible. God has rescued his people from prison a number times, and we read of several occasion in the NT where Jesus literally opened the eyes of the blind that could not see. Of course, many today that are spiritually blind still have their eyes opened by Jesus when they allow God’s Word to penetrate their heart and convert them.


We have seen how God has provided for the fatherless and widows on numerous occasion in Scripture. We have also seen how the wicked have faced God’s wrath on many occasions as well. When we read about how helpful our God has been in the past and how we see His providence at work in our lives and in the lives of those around us, it should cause to praise the Lord as well.


In Psalm 147, we find a special call for us to praise God. This Psalm relates to the time of Israel’s restoration to God. It may be referring to the time of Nehemiah at the completion of the walls around Jerusalem (Neh. 12:27-43).


The overall message of the psalm is that we should always praise God for His love and concern for us and for who He is, what He has done for us and what He will do for us.


Psalm 147:1 Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.  2 The LORD builds up Jerusalem; He gathers together the outcasts of Israel.  3 He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.  4 He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name.  5 Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.  6 The LORD lifts up the humble; He casts the wicked down to the ground.


Sometimes when you hear Christians sing, your left wondering if they really care because they have no enthusiasm when they sing, but that should not be the case. When we think about who we are praising in song and how God considers it as a sacrifice of praise Him with the fruit of our lips (Heb. 13:15), it should light a fire in our soul and want us to make our singing of praise come from our heart. At the writer said, our praise to God is beautiful and pleasant.


When the children of Israel decided to follow God and His Word, God helped them to build up Jerusalem so they could become their own nation. He had the power to heal their wounds and their broken hearts. To show how omnipotent and omniscient God is the writer points out how God can count the stars and He even calls them by name. With our current technology, we still do not exactly how many stars there are, yet think about how God can count them all and call them all by name. As verse 5 says, Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.


Knowing how powerful and all knowing our God is should never cause us to doubt in His ability to lift up the humble and to cast the wicked to the ground.


Psalm 147:7 Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; Sing praises on the harp to our God,  8 Who covers the heavens with clouds, Who prepares rain for the earth, Who makes grass to grow on the mountains.  9 He gives to the beast its food, And to the young ravens that cry.  10 He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man.  11 The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him, In those who hope in His mercy.


When you read through the Psalms that mention using musical instruments, we need to keep in mind that the instruments were used under the Law of Moses, but like many things associated with the Law of Moses, they were nailed to the cross and do not apply to us today. Using musical instruments for worshiping God is not command by word or example under the new covenant we are under. This section of our Psalm praised God for how He provides for His creation both physically and spiritually. Jesus, used the thought found in these verses to teach us not to worry because God provides:


Matthew 6:25 " Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  26 "Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  27 "Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?  28 "So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;  29 "and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  30 "Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  31 "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'  32 "For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.


Jesus came to same conclusion this Psalm does. God provides for His creation. God is not interested in how strong you are or how well you can provide for yourself. Instead, He takes pleasure in those who fear Him, hope in His mercy, and put His kingdom first.


Psalm 147:12 Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion!  13 For He has strengthened the bars of your gates; He has blessed your children within you.  14 He makes peace in your borders, And fills you with the finest wheat.  15 He sends out His command to the earth; His word runs very swiftly.  16 He gives snow like wool; He scatters the frost like ashes;  17 He casts out His hail like morsels; Who can stand before His cold?  18 He sends out His word and melts them; He causes His wind to blow, and the waters flow.  19 He declares His word to Jacob, His statutes and His judgments to Israel.  20 He has not dealt thus with any nation; And as for His judgments, they have not known them. Praise the LORD!


At this time, the children of Israel were the special nation of God. As I said earlier, as long as they were being faithful to God, then God would strengthen them and cause them to have peace and they would not have to experience the judgments of God that He brought upon other nations that were following the wicked way.


Not much has changed during the time of Christianity. While some wicked nations have prospered for a season, something bad usually happens to them. Those nations that make God a big part of their nation have prospered. Our nation, is a good example of that. However, it has really gone down hill since the beginning of our nation. Knowing God will bless a nation that follows Him, should cause us all to want to praise God.


In our next Psalm, the writer calls on everything in heaven and on earth to praise God.


Psalm 148:1 Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; Praise Him in the heights!  2 Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts!  3 Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all you stars of light!  4 Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, And you waters above the heavens!  5 Let them praise the name of the LORD, For He commanded and they were created.  6 He also established them forever and ever; He made a decree which shall not pass away.


In these first 6 verses, everything God created that dwells in the heavens are told to praise their Creator. They certainly should be because without God they would not exist. The remaining of the Psalm focuses on those the earth that should praise God.


Psalm 148:7 Praise the LORD from the earth, You great sea creatures and all the depths;  8 Fire and hail, snow and clouds; Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;  9 Mountains and all hills; Fruitful trees and all cedars;  10 Beasts and all cattle; Creeping things and flying fowl;  11 Kings of the earth and all peoples; Princes and all judges of the earth;  12 Both young men and maidens; Old men and children.  13 Let them praise the name of the LORD, For His name alone is exalted; His glory is above the earth and heaven.  14 And He has exalted the horn of His people, The praise of all His saints -- Of the children of Israel, A people near to Him. Praise the LORD!


While this Psalm had an immediate application to the children of Israel, it certainly applies to all of us today because all of God’s creation in heaven and on earth should praise God for creating us and continuing to care for us and offering us salvation through His Son. This Psalm was made into song that we are all familiar with “Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah” on page 3 of our songs books. I would like for us to sing all 3 verses of this song and please pay attention to the words.


While Psalm 148 called on all of creation in heaven and earth, our next Psalm calls on the children of Israel to praise God for the mighty works He had done and the mighty judgments He will accomplish through the Children of Israel. Some believe this Psalm may have been written during the time that Joshua was conquering the promise land. The overall message is that we should praise God for the victories He has given us and to work with Him to accomplish His will on the earth.


Psalm 149:1 Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, And His praise in the assembly of saints.  2 Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.  3 Let them praise His name with the dance; Let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp.  4 For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation.  5 Let the saints be joyful in glory; Let them sing aloud on their beds. 


God loves it when His people praise Him in everyway that they can. Under the Law of Moses it was ok for them to praise God with a dance and a musical instrument. In fact, we find several occasions of this happening in the OT time.


Exodus 15:20 Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took the timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.  21 And Miriam answered them: "Sing to the LORD, For He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea!"


Judges 11:34 When Jephthah came to his house at Mizpah, there was his daughter, coming out to meet him with timbrels and dancing; and she was his only child.


1 Chronicles 15:28 Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouting and with the sound of the horn, with trumpets and with cymbals,  making music with stringed instruments and harps. 29 And it happened, as the ark of the covenant of the LORD came to the City of David, that Michal, Saul's daughter, looked through a window and saw King David whirling and playing music; and she despised him in her heart.


Again, we must keep in mind that during the Law of Moses these things were acceptable to God. There were many things that were acceptable under the Law of Moses such as stoning those who committed adultery, animal sacrifices, burning incense and many other things that we do not do today under the new covenant because we do not have the authority to do them. The idea of the Psalm is to praise God in every way that is permissible.


I really like verse 4. For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation.  James tells us that God gives His grace to the humble (James 4:6). Before anyone can become a Christian and receive salvation, they must humble themselves before God. If they want continue to please God, they must continue to be humble. I also find it comforting to know that God takes pleasure in His people especially when they are being humble. I also like the idea of God beautifying us when we become Christian because this means we are no longer stained with the ugliness of sin and our soul is as beautiful as it can possible be.


Psalm 149:6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, And a two-edged sword in their hand,  7 To execute vengeance on the nations, And punishments on the peoples;  8 To bind their kings with chains, And their nobles with fetters of iron;  9 To execute on them the written judgment -- This honor have all His saints. Praise the LORD! 


Though God could kill anyone He wanted to by Himself, He usually used a few faithful men that were willing to trust Him to destroy their enemies. All you have to do is read through the O.T. and you will find example after example where God did this for the children of Israel. It shows us that God wants us to participate in carrying out His will. We can be confident when God is our corner because Paul said:


Romans 8:31  If God is for us, who can be against us?  


Isaiah understood this.


Isaiah 50:7 " For the Lord GOD will help Me; Therefore I will not be disgraced; Therefore I have set My face like a flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed. 8 He is near who justifies Me; Who will contend with Me? Let us stand together. Who is My adversary? Let him come near Me. 9 Surely the Lord GOD will help Me; Who is he who will condemn Me? Indeed they will all grow old like a garment; The moth will eat them up.


So, let us never grow weary of praising God for what He has done for us and let us continue to praise Him for He is going to do for us. Let us never stop carrying out His will even when we face our enemy the devil and all that try to hinder us from spreading the good news of Jesus. We must continue to put our armor on and use the sword of the Spirit to cut to the heart of the wicked so they might be saved by humbling themselves before God and obey His plan of salvation.


Our last Psalm has the phrase “praise Him” in every single verse. Once again, we are going to see the writer calling on the people to praise God in everyway that permissible under the Low of Moses. What we should take from this last Psalm that closes out the book of Psalms is that you and I should never stop praising God in every way that is permissible for us under the law of Christ. We must never let ourselves forget how wonderful God is all that He has done for us and will do for us and how He has given us the opportunity to spend eternity in heaven. So, I will close our twentieth lesson from the Psalms by reading Psalm 150


Psalm 150:1 Praise the LORD! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty firmament!  2 Praise Him for His mighty acts; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!  3 Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp!  4 Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!  5 Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with clashing cymbals!  6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!