Psalm 147:2

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 2. The Lord doth build up Jerusalem. God appears both ill the material and spiritual world as a Builder and Maker, and therein he is to be praised. His grace, wisdom, and power are all seen in the formation and establishment of the chosen seat of his worship; once a city with material walls, but now a church composed of spiritual stones. The Jews rejoiced in the uprising of their capital from its ruins, and we triumph in the growth of the church from among a godless world. He gathereth together the outcasts of Israel; and thus he repairs the waste places, and causes the former desolations to be inhabited. This sentence may relate to Nehemiah and those who returned with him; but there is no reason why it should not with equal fitness be referred to David, who, with his friends, was once an outcast, but ere long became the means of building up Jerusalem. In any case, the Psalmist ascribes to Jehovah all the blessings enjoyed; the restoration of the city and the restoration of the banished he equally traces to the divine hand. How clearly these ancient believers saw the Lord present, working among them and for them! Spiritually we see the hand of God in the edification of the church, and in the ingathering of sinners. What are men tinder conviction of sin but outcasts from God, from holiness, from heaven, and even from hope? Who could gather them from their dispersions, and make citizens of them in Christ Jesus save the Lord our God? This deed of love and power he is constantly performing. Therefore let the song begin at Jerusalem our home, and let every living stone in the spiritual city echo the strain; for it is the Lord who has brought again his banished ones, and builded them together in Zion.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 2. The Lord doth build up Jerusalem, etc. If this Psalm were written on occasion of the return from Babylon, and the rebuilding of the earthly city, the ideas are to be transferred, as in other Psalms of the same kind, to a more important restoration from a much worse captivity, and to the building up of the church under the gospel, when Christ "gathered together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad" ( John 11:52 ); that is, in the words of our Psalm, he gathered together the outcasts of Israel. So shall he again, at the resurrection, "gather together his elect from the four winds" ( Matthew 24:31 ), and "build up a Jerusalem", in which they shall serve and praise him for ever. -- George Horne.

Verse 2. The Lord doth build up Jerusalem, etc.

Jerusalem! Jerusalem! the blessing lingers yet
On the city of the chosen, where the Sabbath seal was set;
And though her sons are scattered, and her daughters weep
apart,
While desolation, like a pall, weighs down each faithful
heart;
As the plain beside the waters, as the cedar on the hills,
She shall rise in strength and beauty when the Lord Jehovah
wills:
He has promised her protection, and the holy pledge is good,
'Tis whispered through the olive groves, and murmured by
the flood,
As in thee Sabbath stillness the Jordan's flow is heard,
And by the Sabbath breezes the hoary trees are stirred. --Mrs. Hale, in "The Rhyme of Life."

Verse 2. He gathereth together the outcasts of Israel. Wonder not that God calls together "the outcasts", and singles them out from every corner for a return; why can he not do this, as well as "tell the number of the stars, and call them all by their names"? There are none of his people so despicable in the eye of man, but they are known and regarded by God. Though they are clouded in the world, yet they are the stars of the world; and shall God number the inanimate stars in the heavens, and make no account of his living stars on the earth? No; wherever they are dispersed, he will not forget them: however they are afflicted, he will not despise them. The stars are so numerous that they are innumerable by man; some are visible and known by men, others lie more hid and undiscovered in a confused light, as those in the milky way; a man cannot see one of them distinctly. God knows all his people. As he can do what is above the power of man to perform, so he understands what is above the skill of man to discover. --Stephen Charnock.

Verse 2. He gathereth together the outcasts of Israel. David might well have written feelingly about the "outcasts", for he had himself been one; and even from Jerusalem, in his age, when driven forth from thence by his unnatural son, he went up by the ascent of Olivet, weeping and barefooted, and other "outcasts" with him, weeping also as they went. --Barton Bouchier.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 2. The Lord is Architect, Builder, Sustainer, Restorer, and Owner of the Church. In each relation let him be praised.

Verse 2. The Great Gatherer.

  1. Strange persons sought for.
  2. Special search and means made use of.
  3. Selected centre to which he brings them.
  4. Singular exhibition of them for ever and ever in heaven.

Verse 2. First the church built and then the sinners gathered into it. A prosperous state of the church within necessary to her increase from without.

Verse 2. See "Spurgeon's Sermons", No. 1302: "Good Cheer for Outcasts."

Verse 2. Upbuilding and Ingathering.

  1. The church may be in a fallen condition.
  2. Its upbuilding is the Lord's work.
  3. He accomplishes it by gathering together its outcast citizens. -- C.A.D.