Verse 48. Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting. Has not his mercy endured for ever, and should not his praise be of like duration? Jehovah, the God of Israel, has blessed his people, should they not also bless him?
And let all the people say, Amen. They have all seen spared by his grace, let them all join in the adoration with loud unanimous voice. What a thunder of praise would thus be caused! Yet should a nation thus magnify him, yea, should all the nations past and present unite in the solemn acclaim, it mould fall far short of his deserts. O for the happy day when all flesh shall see the glory of God, and all shall aloud proclaim his praise.
Praise ye the LORD, or "Hallelujah".
Reader, praise thou the Lord, as he who writes this feeble exposition now does with his whole heart.
"Now blest, for ever blest, be He,
The same throughout eternity,
Our Israel's God adored!
Let all the people join the lay,
And loudly, `Hallelujah', say,
`Praise ye the living Lord!'"
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 48. Amen. Martin Luther said once of the Lord's Prayer that "it was the greatest martyr on earth because it was used so frequently without thought and feeling, without reverence and faith." This quaint remark, as true as it is sad, applies perhaps with still greater force to the word "Amen."
Familiar to us from our infancy is the sound of this word, which has found a home wherever the natives have learnt to adore Israel's God and Saviour. It has been adopted, and without translation retained, in all languages in which the gospel of Jesus the Son of David is preached. The literal signification, "So be it", is known to all; yet few consider the deep meaning, the great solemnity, and the abundant consolation treasured up in this word, which has formed for centuries the conclusion of the prayers and praises of God's people. A word which is frequently used without due thoughtfulness, and unaccompanied with the feeling which it is intended to call forth, loses its power from this very familiarity, and though constantly on our lips, lies bedridden in the dormitory of our soul. But it is a great word this word "Amen"; and Luther has truly said, "As your Amen is, so has been your prayer."
It is a word of venerable history in Israel and in the church. The word dates as far back as the law of Moses. When a solemn oath was pronounced by the priest, the response of the person who was adjured consisted simply of the word "Amen." In like manner the people responded "Amen" when, from the heights of Ebal and Gerizim, the blessings and the curses of the divine law were pronounced. Again, at the great festival which David made when the ark of God was brought from Obed Edom, the psalm of praise which Asaph and his brethren sang concluded with the words, "Blessed be the Lord. God of Israel for ever and ever. And all the people said, Amen" ( 1 Chronicles 16:36 ). Thus we find in the Psalms, not merely that David concludes his psalm of praise with the word Amen, but he says, And let all the people say, Amen. --Adolph Saphir, in "The Lord's Prayer", 1870.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- God is to be praised as the "God of Israel."
- Of typical Israel.
- Of the true Israel.
- He is to be praised as the God of Israel under all circumstances: for his judgments as well as for his mercies.
- At all times: "From everlasting to everlasting."
- By all people: "Let all the people say, Amen."
- As the beginning and end of every song: "Praise ye the Lord."
Verse 48. Let all the people say, Amen. The exhortation to universal praise. All men are indebted to the Lord, all have sinned, all hear the gospel, all his people are saved. Unanimity in praise is pleasant, and promotes unity in other matters.
HERE ENDETH THE FOURTH BOOK OF THE PSALMS.