Scriptures

Psalm 147

Introduction

In Psalms 146-150, the focus is purely on the praising of God. There are no requests and there are no cries of distress, they are all simply psalms of praise, where the psalmists praise God for who He is and what He’s done.

In this psalm, the psalmist simply praises God because of His work in creation, Hebrews 1:3. The historical background to this psalm appears to be when Israel returned from captivity in order to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple.

‘Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him! The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel. He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. The LORD sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground.’ Psalm 147:1-6

The psalmist begins by declaring the great hallelujah, that is, praise the LORD. They remind themselves and others, that it’s good to sing praises to God, because it is pleasant to do so, Psalm 33:1. In view of all that God has done and continues to do in His creation, it’s fitting to give Him praise.

The psalmist turns their attention to Jerusalem, it’s the LORD who builds the city and it was the LORD who gathered the exiles of Israel. This tells us that the historical setting of this psalm was when the Jews returned from their Babylonian captivity, Nehemiah 12:27.

The LORD builds up Jerusalem, He gathers together the outcasts of Israel: The psalmist describes the goodness and greatness of God so he and others would have reasons to praise God.

The first reason is God’s active care for Jerusalem, perhaps a reference to its restoration after the exile. The Jews had been taken into Assyrian captivity in 722/21 B.C. and Babylonian captivity in 586 B.C. and were dispersed among the nations.

The psalmist gives God all the credit for gathering the twelve tribes of Israel together to bring them back to Jerusalem in order to rebuild the city and the temple, Isaiah 11:12 / Isaiah 56:8.

God should be praised because He not only cares for the broken-hearted but He also heals the broken-hearted, Isaiah 61:1 / Luke 4:18, and binds up their wounds, Isaiah 1:6.

God should be praised because he determines the number of stars and calls them by name, that is, His majesty and power are seen in what He created in the universe, Genesis 22:17 / Isaiah 40:26.

God should be praised because He is mighty in power, and His understanding has no limit, that is, no one has the power God has and no one has the knowledge God has, Isaiah 40:28.

God should be praised because He sustains the humble but casts down the wicked to the ground, that is, He raises up the humble but humbles the proud, Proverbs 3:34 / James 4:6 / 1 Peter 5:5.

‘Sing to the LORD with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp. He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call. His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of the warrior; the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.’ Psalm 147:7-11

The psalmist once again calls upon the Israelites to sing to the LORD with grateful praise and make music to God on the harp, Isaiah 5:12.

It’s the LORD who covers the sky with clouds which supplies rain water for the grass to grow on the hills. He provides the rain, Job 5:10 / Job 28:26 / Job 36:27-28 / Job 38:28 / Job 38:37, and He provides the food for the cattle and for the young raven when they call, Job 38:41.

In other words, God is to be praised for the continuity of vegetation that provides food for the living, Psalm 8 / Romans 1:20.

Despite creating the horse’s strength and the legs of a warrior, God’s delight isn’t in the strength of the horse, or the legs of a warrior, His delight is found in those who fear Him, those who put their hope in Him, Job 39:19-25.

‘Extol the LORD, Jerusalem; praise your God, Zion. He strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your people within you. He grants peace to your borders and satisfies you with the finest of wheat. He sends his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly. He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes. He hurls down his hail like pebbles. Who can withstand his icy blast? He sends his word and melts them; he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow. He has revealed his word to Jacob, his laws and decrees to Israel. He has done this for no other nation; they do not know his laws. Praise the LORD.’ Psalm 147:12-20

The psalmist now extols Jerusalem, Zion, that is, the people, to praise God again. This time because God has strengthen the bars of the cities gates and blesses the people within. The security of the nation was in the strength of Jerusalem to withstand the enemy.

God strengthened Israel and was able to defend her against all her enemies. They wouldn’t be able to break through the gates into the city. He blessed them with peace and blessed them with the finest wheat, that is, the best the land had to offer.

The psalmist now speaks of God’s presence and work within the natural world. He sends His command to the earth and His word runs swiftly, that is, whatever God commanded, it was done quickly without any delays. The snow, frost, ice, cold, heat and wind all obeyed His commands, 2 Thessalonians 3:1 / Hebrews 1:3.

God’s power is seen in the snow, Job 37:6, ice, Genesis 18:5 / Judges 19:5, and cold. In other words, we succumb to the cold, but God controls all that controls the cold. He can simply speak a word and the snow and ice melt away, Job 37:10-12.

God not only commands and controls the elements, but He also has revealed His word, His laws and decrees to Jacob, who is representative of the nation of Israel, Romans 3:1-2. God should be praised because He only revealed His word, His laws to Israel and no other nation.

The psalmist ends their psalm in the same manner they begun, with the great hallelujah, praise the LORD.

Conclusion

The psalmist announces that God should be praised because of His work in creation, they tells us that even the elements hear His word and obey Him. God’s word was given to the nation of Israel and no one else.

When we turn our attention to the New Testament, we read about God’s final revelation to mankind. The Hebrew writer tells us that God spoke through His Son, Hebrews 1:1-3.

This suggests finality, God’s final speech was through His Son. God’s message is complete and so, God isn’t still speaking at many times and in many ways by the Son, God has spoken, that’s past tense, by the Son.

God has revealed His total truth and that truth is now out. That final truth wasn’t revealed through prophets, it was revealed through the Son! ‘Whom he appointed as heir of all things’, which shows authority.

God has spoken through His Son and the Son carries great authority. The Son has been appointed heir of all things and because He has this authority, the Son can make good on the words He has declared.

The authority of the Son is so great that it is through the Son that ‘all things were created’. The Son is authoritative, the Son’s word is authoritative. The Son is the final, completed message of God. As the apostle John would write later, the Son is the ‘logos’, the Word, John 1:1.

Go To Psalm 148

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."

Acts 4:12

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