The people of God are exhorted to praise him for his mercies and care. (1-11) For the salvation and prosperity of the church. (12-20)
Verses 1-11 Praising God is work that is its own wages. It is comely; it becomes us as reasonable creatures, much more as people in covenant with God. He gathers outcast sinners by his grace, and will bring them into his holy habitation. To those whom God heals with the consolations of his Spirit, he speaks peace, assures them their sins are pardoned. And for this, let others praise him also. Man's knowledge is soon ended; but God's knowledge is a dept that can never be fathomed. And while he telleth the number of the stars, he condescends to hear the broken-hearted sinner. While he feeds the young ravens, he will not leave his praying people destitute. Clouds look dull and melancholy, yet without them we could have no rain, therefore no fruit. Thus afflictions look black and unpleasant; but from clouds of affliction come showers that make the soul to yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness. The psalmist delights not in things wherein sinners trust and glory; but a serious and suitable regard to God is, in his sight, of very great price. We are not to be in doubt between hope and fear, but to act under the gracious influences of hope and fear united.
Verses 12-20 The church, like Jerusalem of old, built up and preserved by the wisdom, power, and goodness of God, is exhorted to praise him for all the benefits and blessings vouchsafed to her; and these are represented by his favours in the course of nature. The thawing word may represent the gospel of Christ, and the thawing wind the Spirit of Christ; for the Spirit is compared to the wind, ( John 3:8 ) . Converting grace softens the heart that was hard frozen, and melts it into tears of repentance, and makes good reflections to flow, which before were chilled and stopped up. The change which the thaw makes is very evident, yet how it is done no one can say. Such is the change wrought in the conversion of a soul, when God's word and Spirit are sent to melt it and restore it to itself.
Psalms 147:1-20 . This and the remaining Psalms have been represented as specially designed to celebrate the rebuilding of Jerusalem (compare Nehemiah 6:16 , 12:27 ). They all open and close with the stirring call for praise. This one specially declares God's providential care towards all creatures, and particularly His people.
1. (Compare Psalms 92:1 , 135:3 ).
2. (Compare Psalms 107:3 , Isaiah 11:12 ).
3. Though applicable to the captive Israelites, this is a general and precious truth.
4, 5. God's power in nature ( Isaiah 40:26-28 ), and often) is presented as a pledge of His power to help His people.
telleth . . . stars--what no man can do ( Genesis 15:5 ).
6. That power is put forth for the good of the meek and suffering pious, and confusion of the wicked ( Psalms 146:8 Psalms 146:9 ).
7-9. His providence supplies bountifully the wild animals in their mountain homes.
Sing . . . Lord--literally, "Answer the Lord," that is, in grateful praise to His goodness, thus declared in His acts.
10, 11. The advantages afforded, as in war by the strength of the horse or the agility of man, do not incline God to favor any; but those who fear and, of course, trust Him, will obtain His approbation and aid.
13. strengthened . . . gates--or, means of defense against invaders,
14. maketh . . . borders--or, territories ( Genesis 23:17 , Isaiah 54:12 ).
filleth thee, &c.--(Compare Margin).
15-18. God's Word, as a swift messenger, executes His purpose, for with Him to command is to perform ( Genesis 1:3 , Psalms 33:9 ), and He brings about the wonders of providence as easily as men cast crumbs.
17. morsels--used as to food ( Genesis 18:5 ), perhaps here denotes hail.
19, 20. This mighty ruler and benefactor of heaven and earth is such especially to His chosen people, to whom alone ( Deuteronomy 4:32-34 ) He has made known His will, while others have been left in darkness. Therefore unite in the great hallelujah.