V. Book V (Psalms Psalms 107–150)

107:1-3 This psalm exhorts God’s people to give thanks to him for his gracious act of redeeming his people from Babylonian exile and gathering them back in the land. That re-gathering was only partial, however. It will be permanently fulfilled in Messiah’s millennial kingdom reign.

God’s kingdom agenda is defined as the visible manifestation of the comprehensive rule of God over every area of life. He administers this agenda through spiritually binding relationships called covenants. To bring his rule to bear on your life, God operates through four covenantal spheres. This psalm provides a helpful illustration of these spheres.

128:1-2 The first sphere through which God works is the individual. The psalmist declares, How happy is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways (128:1). God’s goal is that every person learns to take him seriously and to govern himself or herself under divine rule. We cannot merely keep God on the periphery of our lives but must be willing to embrace commitment and accountability. The Lord will bless those who do so in their fortune (you will surely eat what your hands have worked for), their feelings (you will be happy), and their future (it will go well for you) (128:2).

128:3-4 The next sphere is the family. God created the family to be the foundation of civilization. Societal breakdown in the United States, then, doesn’t begin with the White House; it begins in your house! Because God designed men to be godly leaders in their homes, he addresses them. To the man who fears the Lord (128:4), he says, Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house, your children, like young olive trees around your table (128:3).

When a husband takes God seriously, becomes a servant leader in his home, and loves his wife sacrificially as Christ loved the church (see Eph 5:25), he encourages his wife to be the fruitful helper that God wants her to be (see Gen 2:20-23). Furthermore, such a man is diligent in his responsibilities as a father. He will gather his children around the table to teach them wisdom, a habit that will result in productive citizens.

128:5-6 The third sphere through which God accomplishes his kingdom purposes is the church. The name Zion (128:5) was used in the Old Testament to describe either the city of Jerusalem or the holy temple within it. But, in the New Testament, the church is the temple of God (see 2 Cor 6:16; Eph 2:21), and Christians are said to come to worship at “Mount Zion” (Heb 12:22). Thus, for believers, Zion refers to the church, God’s people.

Christians are called to be part of God’s covenant community. If you’ve been born again by placing faith in Jesus, you’re not an only child but part of a family that calls God “our Father” (Matt 6:9). Thus, in the New Testament, taking an active part in a local church is a normal and expected part of the Christian experience.

Certain blessings can only be received corporately. God wants to bless his people, but it comes from Zion (128:5). The church of Jesus Christ is like an embassy operating with God’s kingdom authority in a foreign land. The church is where the rules of eternity operate at a location in history. We gather together to hear from heaven so that we may live out heaven’s viewpoint in the world.

The final sphere is society. The psalmist concludes with a desire to see prosperity in Jerusalem and peace in Israel (128:5-6). He desires good and comprehensive well-being (i.e., shalom or “peace”) for the capital and country where God’s people dwelled. We ought to do the same.

Frequently, we expect our own country to be made better from the top down though politics, but God wants to see societies transformed from the bottom up. When God’s kingdom agenda is a priority in individuals who are committed to families that are committed to churches that are committed to making a difference in their communities, society is transformed for the better. May it be so with God’s people today.

129:1-4 The psalmist invites God’s people to testify to his mighty deliverance. From the beginning of the nation (Israel’s “youth”), they were oppressed, but their enemies had not prevailed against them (129:2). They had suffered greatly, as if someone had plowed over their backs (129:3). Yet, because the Lord is righteous, he brings justice to his people and thwarts the intentions of the wicked (129:4).

129:5-8 The name Zion is frequently used in the Old Testament to speak of the city of Jerusalem or God’s holy temple within it. In either case, to hate Zion is to hate God. So, the psalmist prays that such people would wind up in disgrace (129:5). He asks that they would be like grass growing on rooftops, which withers away because of the lack of soil (129:6). Just as it is wrong to curse when we ought to bless (see Jas 3:9-10), so it is wrong to pronounce a blessing on the wicked who don’t deserve it (129:8).

130:1-3 The psalmist cries out to God from the depths of his emotional turmoil (130:1). He realizes his desperate situation as his sin is juxtaposed with God’s holiness: If you kept an account of iniquities, Lord, who could stand? (130:3). When our sin is measured against God’s righteousness, we fall short of God’s glory (Rom 3:23) and deserve death (Rom 6:23).

130:4 But—praise God—that’s not where it ends, because with [God] there is forgiveness. The Lord made forgiveness possible through the atoning sacrifices he required of Israel. But, ultimately, these sacrifices are fulfilled in Jesus Christ. By faith in his death on the cross, “we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col 1:14). God extends such grace not so that it will lead to indulgence but so that [he] may be revered and taken seriously.

130:5-6 The psalmist waits for divine deliverance from guilt, like watchmen who stay awake all night waiting for the morning to come. He looks to God to remove the weight that his sin had laid on him.

130:7-8 In light of God’s faithful love, the psalmist urges Israel (and believers today) to put [their] hope in him for the blessings of redemption and deliverance (130:7). One day, the Lord will redeem Israel from all its iniquities (130:8). They will believe in their Messiah and repent of their rejection of him, and Christ’s millennial kingdom will be ushered in.

131:1 David understands who he is in light of who God is. Knowing that God alone is exalted and that God hates pride (even in a human king), David rejects a desire to be proud or haughty. In spite of his royal position, he placed himself humbly under divine rule.

131:2 He affirms his dependence on God; he is like a child resting against the bosom of his mother. David is confident of the care and protection of the one who watches over him. Regardless of what is happening in the world around you, there is no safer place to be than under the covenant covering of God.

131:3 David concludes by encouraging Israel to hope in the Lord with the same confidence that he had. We do not trust in God merely for ourselves. Rather, our visible trust, demonstrated in our submission to his will, should encourage others to do likewise and find rest in him.

132:1-5 The people ask God to remember David, both for the hardships he endured and for his vow to centralize the worship of God in Jerusalem (132:1-2). He brought the ark of the covenant into the city of David (2 Sam 6:12-17), so that he could provide a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob (132:5). David wanted his throne to be near God’s throne.

132:6-9 The people remember when Israel brought the ark from the fields of Jaar (that is, Kiriath-jearim). The Philistines had captured it, endured God’s wrath, and returned it (see 1 Sam 5:1–7:1). The people long to go to God’s dwelling place on earth (the temple) and worship at his footstool (the ark) (132:7-8). The ark of God’s power assured his victory on behalf of his people. They pray for righteousness for the priests and joy for the faithful (130:9).

132:10-12 They ask God to be faithful to his covenant promise to David (see 2 Sam 7:11-16) and, thus, not reject his descendant, God’s anointed king (132:10). For the Lord had promised that David’s descendants would sit on [his] throne forever (132:12). But, rather than through a perpetual succession of Davidic kings, this promise would be fulfilled in the resurrected Son of David who lives forever.

132:13-18 God had chosen Zion . . . for his home (132:13), the place of his earthly rule, and he promises to bless its people (132:15-16). In response to their prayers, the Lord vows to be faithful to his promise to David. His anointed one will be a source of power and light (132:17). He will vanquish his enemies and reign in glory (132:18). Believers today hope in this same Anointed One, and we long for his kingdom (see Luke 1:32-33; Acts 2:30). “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev 22:20).

133:1 David exalts the glory of brothers living together in harmony. Just as it was good and pleasant (attractive) when this was true among Israel’s tribes then, so it is true of God’s people today. When brothers and sisters in Christ gather for worship, it is beautiful. When we come together in peace, love, and unity, it reflects the attitude of Christ (see Phil 2:1-5).

133:2 The unity of God’s people is like when the oil was poured on Aaron’s head to anoint him to the priesthood. The oil consecrated him to his God-appointed task, and the unity of God’s people brings divine consecration to them. To experience the kingdom work of God in our churches, unity is critical. God will not work amid division and dissension (see John 17).

133:3 The Israelites’ unity is also compared to the dew of Mount Hermon, the tallest mountain in Israel. The atmospheric moisture from Hermon fell on the mountains of Zion, bringing refreshment and productivity to the land. Similarly, unity among the people of God frees him to rain down blessing on them. This explains why the devil seeks to sow discord among God’s people. He wants to block the flow of God’s blessings.

134:1-3 The psalmist calls on the priests who serve, standing in the Lord’s house at night, to praise him (134:1). Their uplifted hands express not only worship, but also dependency (134:2). He then prays that their Creator—the Maker of heaven and earth—would bless his people (134:3).

Through Jesus Christ, believers have been made priests to one another (see 1 Pet 2:9; Rev 1:6). Therefore, these words apply to Christians everywhere. We are called to bless God and serve one another.

135:1-7 The palmist calls the priests who stand in the temple, the house of the Lord, to praise and sing to him for his goodness and his choosing of Israel as his special possession (135:1-4). The Lord is also to be praised for his supremacy over worthless idols and his sovereign power over creation (135:5-7). He is truly incomparable.

135:8-14 God is to be praised for his protection of his covenant people. From his defeat of Egypt during the exodus (135:8-9) to his vanquishing of many nations during the conquest of Canaan (135:10-11), God repeatedly delivered his people and then blessed them with an inheritance (135:12). No one has a glorious and enduring reputation like the Lord (135:13).

135:15-18 Those who trust in idols are fools. Though the Lord is the Creator of heaven and earth, silver and gold idols are made by human hands (135:15). They are lifeless (135:15-17) and—unlike the living God who saves—cannot act on behalf of those who worship them. Those who make them are just like them (135:18). This is the powerful principle that you become like what you worship. If you look to what is lifeless and empty as your source, your life will reflect it.

135:19-21 The psalmist concludes with a call to all God’s people (Israel) and all those who serve as priests and ministers in the temple (the houses of Aaron and Levi) to bless the Lord (135:19-20). The one who dwells in his temple on Mount Zion in Jerusalem is to be praised (135:21).

This psalm celebrates the faithful love (Hebrew: hesed) of God, his steadfast and never-failing love toward his covenant people. It includes a beautiful line repeated throughout: His faithful love endures forever. Probably after the priest sang each verse, the entire congregation would respond by singing this refrain.

136:1-26 The psalmist calls the people to give thanks to the God of gods and the Lord of lords who alone is sovereign and supreme (136:1-3). He is to be praised for his works of creation (136:4-9), his miraculous redemption of Israel from slavery in Egypt (136:10-15), and his deliverance of his people from their foes and into the land of promise (136:16-24). He is the God who rules from heaven, the only true King (136:26). Let us give thanks to the faithful love he has shown us through Jesus Christ our Lord.

137:1-6 The psalmist recalls the deep sorrow the exiles experienced during their Babylonian captivity. They sat by the rivers of Babylon and wept (137:1). They remembered the glory of Zion, while their captors mocked them, asking them to sing . . . the songs of Zion (137:1, 3). The psalmist wondered how he could sing Zion’s songs in a foreign land, yet he was determined to remember Jerusalem, though it lay in devastation (137:4-6).

137:7-9 The psalmist moves from sorrow for Jerusalem to a desire for justice against his people’s oppressors. He longs for God’s vengeance against the Edomites, who cheered Jerusalem’s destruction, and against Bab-ylon, who carried out the violence (137:7-8). His prayer against the little ones (137:9) reflected a desire that his enemy would have no descendants.

138:1-6 David vows to praise God wholeheartedly, because his love and truth are constant (138:1-2). The Lord had exalted himself by answering David’s prayer (138:2-3). Therefore, Israel’s king desires all the kings on earth to thank God and sing of his glory (138:4-5). For he gives attention to the humble but rejects the proud (i.e., those who believe they can live their lives independently of him) (138:6; see Jas 4:6). Believers should not be ashamed to give public praise to God before all people, whether great or small.

138:7-8 David was confident that God would deliver him from danger with the power of his right hand (138:7). He pleads with God to fulfill the purpose he had for him and not to abandon him (138:8). We, too, can be brutally honest with God. Even while you praise him, you can ask him not to let you down—particularly in times of crises—knowing that he will answer for your good and his glory.

139:1-4 David contemplates the staggering omniscience of God. Not only does the Lord know everything about the universe, he has also searched and known his servant (139:1). God knows every last detail about you, too. Nothing escapes his knowledge; nothing catches him off guard. He knows all of your actions, your thoughts, and your words (139:2-4). Before a word is formed on [your] tongue, God knows what you will say (139:4).

139:5-6 In light of this, David concludes, You have encircled me and placed your hand on me (139:5). In other words, “I’m locked inside your knowledge, God. There’s nowhere to run and hide.” While the Lord’s complete awareness is bad news for the unbeliever, it is glorious news for the believer. It means we are never lost and never forgotten. Though others misunderstand and misread your intentions, God is never confused about you. God understands. How does David respond to such wondrous knowledge? He admits that it is beyond him; it’s unfathomable (139:6). When we comprehend that God can do the incomprehensible, it should cause us to be overwhelmed with worship for him.

139:7-9 Not only is the Lord omniscient, but he is also omnipresent. God is everywhere. David asks, Where can I flee from your presence? (139:7). But, of course, no one can escape God. David therefore confesses that wherever he might try to hide—even in heaven or in Sheol (the grave) or at the eastern horizon or at the western limits (139:8-9)—he would still bump into God. He inhabits the universe from top to bottom.

139:10-12 Believer, no matter where you are, God’s right hand will hold on to [you] (139:10). No darkness is too dark to hide us from his sight (139:11). To him, the night shines like the day (139:12). So, regardless of the circumstances you face, remember God is ever-present. Call on the intimate God in your day of distress, knowing that he is right by your side.

139:13-14 In spite of popular opinion, we are not the products of evolution. We are not here by chance. David affirms that God had not only created him, but he had actually knit him together in [his] mother’s womb (139:13). You, too, are a work of art that God put together by hand. You have been remarkably and wondrously made (139:14). No matter the circumstances surrounding your conception, no matter your ethnicity or gender, your existence is intentional. You are not a mistake, for God makes no mistakes. You are created in the image of God (see Gen 1:27) with purpose and meaning. This truth is to be the foundation for a person’s self-worth and self-esteem.

139:15-16 David was not hidden from God even when he was in his mother’s womb (139:15). He thus declares, Your eyes saw me when I was formless. This truth is why abortion is so horribly wrong. Divinely given human life exists from the moment of conception. God didn’t merely see an embryo or fetus in the womb; he saw David (“Your eyes saw me”).

Moreover, David says, All my days were written in your book and planned before a single one of them began (139:16). The Lord similarly knew all of your days from beginning to end. Your existence is no accident. You are part of the divine plan.

139:17-18 David is overwhelmed by but also comforted by God’s vast knowledge: How precious your thoughts are to me (139:17). No matter his circumstances, David knows that he is in God’s presence and intimately known by him. And the same is true of you. The Lord is aware of every detail of your life. He cares for you, and you are continually on his mind.

139:19-22 Because of David’s deep love for the Lord, he hates everything that was in opposition to him (139:21). Thus, he prays for God’s judgment on the wicked (139:19) in accordance with his holy character. David considers God’s enemies as his own (139:22).

139:23-24 David concludes by acknowledging that his motives were flawed. But, he also knew that God understood his heart through and through. Therefore, he asks God to search and test him so that he might reveal to him any offensive and unrighteous thoughts and intentions (139:23-24). Like David, we do not fully know ourselves, either. So, let us pray that God’s Spirit would help us understand ourselves rightly so that we can repent where necessary and enjoy intimate fellowship with him as he leads us in the everlasting way (139:24).

140:1-5 David appeals to the Lord to defend him against violent men who were stirring up trouble for him, using their venomous tongues to turn others against him and ruin his reputation (140:1-3). Their actions toward David were equivalent to setting a trap for an animal (140:5). They worked in secret to bring him down.

140:6-8 No matter what the wicked did to him, David continues to declare his trust in the Lord, his strong Savior. As the king, David no doubt had the best of armor. But, ultimately, he knew that God himself was his shield . . . on the day of battle—especially when it came to maintaining peace of mind (140:7). He prays that God would thwart the wicked in their goals and short-circuit their pride (140:8).

140:9-11 David asks that the plans of these evildoers would backfire on them (140:9). He petitions God to judge them with hot coals and fire so that their evil deeds would come to an end (140:10).

140:12-13 Just as David knows that the Lord would judge the wicked in righteousness, he also knows that the Lord would render justice to the poor and needy (140:12). God will intervene on behalf of the downtrodden—either in this life or in the life to come. One day, God will set all things right, and the upright will live in [his] presence (140:13).

141:1-2 David petitions with urgency and desperation, asking God to hurry to his aid (141:1). He describes his prayer in terms of priestly sacrifices: incense or an offering burned for the Lord (141:2). In other words, David didn’t consider his entreaty as only a plea for help. It was an act of worship.

141:3-4 David understood his own sinfulness and longed for righteousness. Therefore, he asks the Lord to keep him from wickedness—in his speech, in his heart, and in his actions (141:3-4). He did not want to be lured into sin by the delicacies of the wicked (141:4)—that is, by anything that would appeal to his sinful desires and draw him away from the Lord.

Similarly, believers today are exhorted to beware of the desires of the world: “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s possessions” (1 John 2:16). Indulging in such “delicacies” does not ultimately satisfy our spiritual hunger. It causes us to lose fellowship with God.

141:5-7 David welcomes the rebuke of the righteous. If words of correction were delivered to him in faithful love, David would not refuse them but would consider them like healing oil for [his] head (141:5). Yet, he still hoped that God would judge the wicked in light of their treatment of his people (141:6-7).

141:8-10 David affirms that his focus is on the Lord: My eyes look to you. . . . I seek refuge in you (141:8). He asks that God would protect him from death and let his enemies fall into their own nets that they had set for him (141:10). When troubles surround you, keep your eyes on the one who can deliver you from them or through them.

142:1-3a David displays his great need for God in the midst of his desperate circumstances. He implores God to listen to his concerns: I cry aloud . . . plead aloud . . . pour out my complaint . . . reveal my trouble (141:1-2). Though David himself was weak within, his God is omnipotent and knows the way he should take (142:3).

If you have wrongly assumed that all prayer should be dignified and employ only theological jargon in your petitions to God, you have not understood prayer rightly. Let David be your model. He approaches God honestly, pleading emotionally for deliverance. As a troubled child depends on his or her daddy, go to your heavenly Father in your turmoil and open your heart to him.

142:3b-4 Whether David was actually alone, he certainly felt alone. He mourns, No one stands up for me . . . no one cares about me. That’s why he fell on his knees before the Lord. David needed a refuge that only God could provide (142:4). Even when you have fellow believers standing by you, no one has the wisdom and power to care for you like God does.

142:5-7 David pleads with God because he was weak and his enemies were too strong (142:5-6). He asks for God to free him from the prison of his circumstances. Notice the purpose for this request: so that I can praise your name. It means David longs for deliverance in part so that he would have another reason to worship. He concludes with confidence that God would deal generously with [him]. As a result, the righteous [would] gather around him (142:7). Through divine intervention, then, the man who was alone would be alone no longer.

143:1-4 Because of God’s faithfulness and righteousness, David calls on the Lord to save him from divine judgment (143:1). He acknowledges his own sinfulness, for no one alive is righteous in [God’s] sight (143:2). But, his enemies were persecuting him unjustly (143:3), and David didn’t have the spiritual or emotional strength to overcome them (143:4).

143:5-6 David finds solace and hope in remembering former days, when he had experienced God’s mighty works (143:5). He longs for God’s intervention to restore his spiritually thirsty soul (143:6).

143:7-10 David wants to experience the faithful love of God so that he might understand the way [he] should go for protection from his enemies (143:8-9). In addition, David wanted to walk in God’s ways. He prays, Teach me to do your will (143:10). It wasn’t enough to be saved from his troubles. David wants fellowship with God and his direction and guidance as he obeyed his commands.

143:11-12 He looks to the Lord’s righteousness and faithful love to both deliver him and destroy [his] enemies. He appeals to the fact that he was God’s servant. When we come under God’s covenant covering and submit to his will, we can have confidence that he will work for our good and his glory.

144:1-2 David’s descriptions of God show us two things clearly. First, he considers God the definitive source of security. The Lord is a rock . . . fortress . . . stronghold . . . deliverer . . . shield, and refuge. To put this in football terminology, we would say that God is the ultimate defensive line. No opposition can break through. No other source of protection is as reliable.

Second, David expresses the depth of his personal relationship with the Lord through his repeated use of the pronoun my before these descriptions. Not only is God a fortress, but he is also David’s fortress.

God was, is, and always will be almighty. The question is this: are you appropriating the divine King’s power in your own life? Do you have access to his heavenly strength through faith and submission to his kingdom agenda?

144:3-4 David is overwhelmed that God would care for human beings in general and him in particular (144:3; see also 8:4). What amazing grace that God would condescend to enter into intimate fellowship with humanity! And how (even more) amazing is it that the divine Son of God would take on human nature so that he might redeem us (see Heb 2:1-18)?

144:5-8 David affirms God’s control over the heavens . . . mountains, and lightning (144:5-6). He is their Creator; therefore, they do his bidding. With such sovereignty, the Lord could certainly rescue David from the grasp of those who sought him harm (144:7).

144:9-11 David sings a new song of praise to God, knowing that he is the one who gives victory to kings (144:9-10). In the end, the size of a king’s army is irrelevant. The size of his God is what matters. As David testifies elsewhere, chariots and horses, symbols of ancient military power, are no match for the Lord (see 20:7). So, again, he pleads with God to rescue him from his deceptive enemies (144:11).

144:12-15 With God’s deliverance of his people, David knows that blessings would follow. Israel’s sons and daughters would flourish (144:12). The people would experience great productivity from crops and livestock (144:13). And their land would be secure (144:14). How should one respond to such blessings sent by God’s hand? With joy! Happy are the people whose God is the Lord (144:15).

145:1-3 Because of God’s unfathomable greatness, David commits himself to praising him every day (145:1-2). Such a commitment is not unreasonable, for God deserves endless worship. His greatness is unsearchable (145:3).

145:4-7 The knowledge and exaltation of God is to be passed down from one generation . . . to the next (145:4). David commits to doing his part to declare the splendor . . . majesty . . . wondrous works, and greatness of God to others (145:5-6).

Are you likewise committed to exalting God so that his kingdom expands? Do you regularly teach your children about the Lord? Do you share the gospel and your own personal testimony with unbelievers in your circle of influence? Are you discipling others so that the church may mature in Christ?

145:8-13 David recites what God himself had revealed to Moses (see Exod 34:6): The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and great in faithful love (145:8). His glorious character and actions toward his people elicit their thanks and blessings (145:10). Those who have experienced the goodness of God, in fact, can’t help but declare his kingdom and mighty acts to all people (145:11-12), because [his] kingdom is an everlasting kingdom (145:13). Because God’s rule will endure forever, God’s people ought to proclaim it and urge everyone everywhere to submit to the King.

145:14-20 David extols the gracious provision of God, who helps the oppressed and provides food for all humanity (145:14-15). He hears those who call out to him with integrity (145:18). He delivers those who fear him (145:19). He guards all those who love him (145:20). Thus, we see a clear picture of what God expects of us if he is to act on our behalf: we are to pray to him with integrity, live as those who takes him seriously, and love him with all that we are.

145:21 Like David, let us commit ourselves to vocal, public devotion to God. May we declare his praise so that every living thing might know and bless him forever.

146:1-4 The psalmist vows to praise the Lord all [his] life (146:2). This is eminently wise because the Lord is everlasting and able to save all who come to him. In contrast, nobles—no matter how powerful or glorious they are—cannot save (146:3). Moreover, a nobleman’s days are numbered. He will die, and his plans with him (146:4).

146:5-6 The person who looks to the Lord—the Maker of heaven and earth—for his help is happy or blessed (the Hebrew word can be translated either way), because the Lord is faithful forever. He has no limitations and is eternally trustworthy.

146:7-9 God’s resume is impeccable. He provides justice and care for the exploited . . . the hungry . . . prisoners . . . the blind, the oppressed, the resident aliens . . . the fatherless and the widow. There is no category of abused, broken, burdened, or underprivileged people on whom the Lord does not have compassion. The same should be true of God’s people; the church is called to emulate its Savior and care for the downtrodden, renewing their hope and lightening their loads.

146:10 The psalmist concludes with an affirmation that the Lord reigns forever. No matter how difficult your trials, they will not last forever. But, God’s kingdom will. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!

147:1-6 The psalmist declares how good and lovely it is to give praise to God (147:1). Worship of God is always justified because of his vast power over his creation: he counts all the stars and gives them names (147:4-5). Worship is also right because of the amazing grace he demonstrates to his covenant people. Though his people were brokenhearted and oppressed (either due to their sins or life circumstances), the Lord punished the wicked, gathered the exiles together, and granted them to rebuild Jerusalem (147:2-3, 6).

147:7-9 Another reason to praise God is his providential care of his world. He (not “Mother Nature”) sends rain and causes grass to grow (147:8). All animals receive their sustenance from the Lord’s gracious hand (147:9). This is God’s common grace upon all of his creation.

147:10-14 What impresses God? What does he value? Not the things that typically capture the attention of humans. Powerful warriors and armies, for instance, are nothing to him (147:10). Rather, God cherishes those who fear him and hope in his faithful love (147:11). In other words, if you humbly submit to his kingdom agenda and live in dependence on him, you can rest assured that God will be crazy about you. He loves to bless his people (147:12-14).

147:15-20 The psalmist exalts God for his word. For by his word, he exercises control over the elements of nature (147:15-18). But, even more, he is to be praised for the word that he revealed specifically to his people. Only Israel personally received this gracious word—not any other nation (147:19-20). God’s new covenant people should similarly exalt him for the special revelation of both the written Word and the living Word, our Lord Jesus Christ.

148:1-6 The psalmist invites the heavens, as well as the heavenly beings, to praise their Creator as they fulfill their created purposes (148:1-4). For he commanded, and they were created (148:5). The Maker deserves the worship of all he has made.

148:7-14 The psalmist also calls on everyone and everything that fills the earth to render praise to God (148:7). Creatures and inanimate objects, kings and peoples, young and old (148:7-12)—all should exalt him because he is the Creator, Sustainer, and Ruler of all. He demonstrated faithfulness to the Israelites (148:14), the people of Abraham. And through them, he blessed all peoples of the earth (see Gen 12:3; Gal 3:7-18).

149:1-5 This psalm calls God’s people to praise him with fresh singing and dancing because he is both their Maker and their King (149:1-3). He showers his people with salvation because of his love for them. So, the faithful, those who look to him alone as their source, should celebrate and shout for joy (149:4-5).

149:6-9 Israel is called to have exaltation of God . . . in their mouths and a sword in their hands to carry out his vengeance on the nations (149:6-7). In other words, praise is to be accompanied by action. They were to honor God with their lips and also wage war against wickedness. The Lord honored his people by letting them carry out his own judgment, based on his word, against evildoers (149:9). He is to be praised both for his grace and for his justice.

150:1-6 The psalmist gives a final doxological call for praise to God—both in his sanctuary (the tabernacle or temple) and in his mighty expanse (heaven)—for his abundant greatness (that is, for who he is) and for his powerful acts (what he has done) (150:1-2). No instrument is to remain silent (150:3-5). And neither is any voice: everything that breathes is to render praise. Thus, the Psalter ends with a call to worship: Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! (150:6).

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