PSALM 146 OVERVIEW.
DIVISION, & etc. We are now among the Hallelujahs. The rest of our journey lies through the Delectable Mountains. All is praise to the close of the book. The key is high pitched: the music is upon the high sounding cymbals. O for a heart full of joyful gratitude, that we may run, and leap, and glorify God, even as these Psalms do.
Alexander thinks that this song may be regarded as composed of two equal parts; in the first we see the happiness of those who trust in God, and not in man ( Psalms 146:1-5 ), while the second gives the reason drawn from the Divine perfections ( Psalms 146:5-10 ). This might suffice for our purpose; but as there is really no break at all, we will keep it entire. It is "one pearl", a sacred censer of holy incense, pouring forth one sweet perfume.
Verse 1. Praise ye the LORD, or, Hallelujah. It is saddening to remember how this majestic word has been trailed in the mire of late. Its irreverent use is an aggravated instance of taking the name of Jehovah our God in vain. Let us hope that it has been done in ignorance by the ruder sort; but great responsibility lies with leaders who countenance and even copy this blasphemy. With holy awe let us pronounce the word HALLELUJAH, and by it summon ourselves and all others to adore the God of the whole earth. Men need to be called to praise; it is important that they should praise; and there are many reasons why they should do it at once. Let all who hear the word Hallelujah unite immediately in holy praise.
Praise the LORD, O my soul. He would practise what he had preached. He would be the leader of the choir which he had summoned. It is a poor business if we solely exhort others, and do not stir up our own soul. It is an evil thing to say, "Praise ye", and never to add, "Praise, O my soul." When we praise God let us arouse our innermost self, our central life: we have but one soul, and if it be saved from eternal wrath, it is bound to praise its Saviour. Come heart, mind, thought! Come my whole being, my soul, my all, be all on flame with joyful adoration! Up, my brethren! Lift up the song! "Praise ye the Lord." But what am I at? How dare I call upon others, and be negligent myself? If ever man was under bonds to bless the Lord I am that man, wherefore let me put my soul into the centre of the choir, and then let my better nature excite my whole manhood to the utmost height of loving praise. "O for a well tuned harp!" Nay, rather, O for a sanctified heart. Then if my voice should be of the poorer sort, and somewhat lacking in melody, yet my soul without my voice shall accomplish my resolve to magnify the Lord.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Psalms 146:1-148:14 . At the dedication of the second Temple, in the beginning of the seventh year of Darius, Psalms 146:1-10 Psalms 147:1-20 and Psalms 148:1-14 , seem to have been sung; for in the Septuagint Version they are styled the Psalms of Haggai and Zechariah, as if they had been composed by them for this occasion. This, no doubt, was from some ancient tradition; but in the original Hebrew these Psalms have no such title prefixed to them, neither have they any other to contradict it. --Humphrey Prideaux.
Psalms 146:1-150:6 . We do not know who put together these different sacred compositions, or whether they were arranged on any particular principle. This, however, is obvious, -- that the last series, those that close the whole, are full of praise. Though we meet frequently with grief and shame and tears in the former part, a great deal that presses upon the spirit, and in the centre a great many references to the various vicissitudes and fortunes through which the church or the individual has passed, -- yet, as we get towards the end, and as the book closes, it is Hallelujah -- praise. As the ancient church ceases to speak to us, as she lays down her lyre, and ceases to touch it, the last tones are tones of heaven; as if the warfare were done, the conflict accomplished, and she were anticipating either the revelations which are to make her glorious here, the "new thing" which God is about to "create" when he places her under another dispensation, or as you and I (I trust) shall do when we come to die, anticipating the praise and occupation of that eternity and rest for which we hope in the bosom of God. -- Thomas Binney, 1798-1874.
Whole Psalm. This Psalm gives in brief the Gospel of Confidence. It inculcates the elements of Faith, Hope, and Thanksgiving. --Martin Geier.
Verse 1. Praise ye the LORD. The word here used is Alleluia, and this is very proper to be constantly used by us who are dependent creatures, and under such great obligations to the Father of mercies. We have often heard of prayer doing great wonders; but instances also are not wanting of praise being accompanied with signal events. The ancient Britons, in the year 420, obtained a victory over the army of the Picts and Saxons, near Mold, in Flintshire. The Britons, unarmed, having Germanicus and Lupus at their head, when the Picts and Saxons came to the attack, the two commanders, Gideon like ordered their little army to shout Alleluia three times over, at the sound of which the enemy, being suddenly struck with terror, ran away in the greatest confusion, and left the Britons masters of the field. A stone monument to perpetuate the remembrance of this Alleluia victory, I believe, remains to this day, in a field near Mold. - -Charles Buck, 1771-1815.
Verse 1. Praise the LORD, O My soul. The Psalmist calls upon the noblest element of his being to exercise its noblest function. --Hermann Venema.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- An exhortation: it is addressed to ourselves: "Praise ye the Lord."
- An example: the Psalmist cries to himself, "Praise the Lord."
- An echo: "Praise the Lord, O my soul." Let us say this to our own souls.
Verse 1. Whom should I praise? And why? And when? And how?
Verse 1. Public worship.
- Should be with a sense of fellowship: "Praise ye": pleasures of communion in praise.
- Should never lose its individuality: "O my soul." God is only praised by individual hearts. Temptations to wandering in public services.
- Should be full of Jehovah's felt presence: each and all should worship him alone. --W.B.H.