"JOURNEY THROUGH PSALMS" – Praise The LORD!/Psalm 146
SHOW NOTES: Psalm 146. Does your day begin with praise to the Lord? In the middle of the day, do you sing praises to His name? The last five psalms (Ps. 146 – 150) lead us in praise and worship. When we begin our day, offer praise to the Lord. Throughout the day, sing praise to the Lord. Psalm 146 reminds us that the Lord alone is worthy of our praise – all day, every day! Tonight's Scripture: Psalm 146.
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Hey Friends! My name is Brenda. Walt and I are glad you have joined us.
We have been on this journey for ten weeks … walking through the Psalms together. And today as we wrap up the Psalms for this particular season, we are going to look at the Final Hallelujah Psalms. These are Psalm 146 – 150 and are often viewed as the five-fold conclusion to Psalms. Each of these is a joyous song of praise and each one begins with “Praise the LORD!” – in the Hebrew – Hallelujah! … CELEBRATE THE LORD!!!
“These final five psalms are a panoply of praise for the God of glory. They are intended to be a distinct unit, as indicated by all five psalms beginning and ending with “Praise the Lord” (Hallelujah!). They reflect a shared focus of each psalm on the praise of God ... An established practice in early Jewish tradition continued to this day is to recite these five psalms, together … as part of the daily morning liturgy.”
(From The Moody Bible Commentary, p. 877-878)
Walt, I know you can give us a better idea of the Jewish people gathering for morning prayers.
Well, I can and I would love for you to join me as we approach the Western Wall or sometimes called the Wailing Wall in historic Jerusalem. I would like to say this is one of my favorite sites on a trip to Israel but I have a lot of favorite sites. As you approach the Wall, it is divided into a men’s section and a women’s section where they come to pray. Women can approach the wall on the right side – at the women’s court – and men go to left side – the Court of the Men.
When you approach, I encourage you to watch people picking up an available copy of the Jewish prayer book – the siddur (See-door). Then, they take some time to meditate and express their thoughts to the One whose presence is in this holy site. You may observe – Shuckling – movement as they pray & recite, bobbing up and down.
“Shuckling” – rocking back and forth – engage in prayer with mind, heart, and mouth – King David writes (Psalms 35:10), "My whole being will exclaim: Who is like You, O Lord?"
I’m reminded of our flights from JFK or Newark and we’re flying over the Atlantic Ocean, going into Ben Gurion and as it is morning, we observe those Jewish men will gather and they will face toward Jerusalem. They begin those morning prayers.
As we begin in Psalm 146 today, what I want us to realize is that we are actually beginning that daily morning prayer. This is the first Psalm where these people begin. And, I have to say it is a great place for us to begin our morning and our day. So, where’s our heart as we begin because Psalm 146 begins with these words,
“Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul!
I will praise the LORD while I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.”
These are words of praise to the Eternal, to Yahweh. My soul, my whole being – all that I am praise the LORD.
My soul includes emotion, will, and mind. Remember Mark 12:30 says, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, your soul, your mind, and your strength.
And, verse 2 moves into, I will praise … for as long as I live. Lord, as long as You give me life, I will praise You. In fact, I will sing praises … as long as breath fills my lungs.
And so, even here, I pause after these first two verses of praise How much of your day – how much of my day – is filled with praise? Genuine praise to the LORD? “In everything give thanks.” – 1 Thess. 5:18
We are called to praise the Lord.
The next four verses talk about the power of God and they contrast God’s power to man – mortal man who doesn’t have the power to help. I love verses 3 and 4. I’ll read them together.
“Do not trust in princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation.
His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.”
The psalmist is reminding us, don’t trust in men – even princes, even the most powerful rulers and kings. Their power, their wealth. We think of trusting in the government or trusting in those who have power and authority. Don’t do that. Trust in the Lord. Turn to Him and don’t expect rescue from mortal men. There’s no salvation with them. Salvation is with God alone.
And then, in verse 4, the whole idea of the spirit departing and returning to the earth. That’s the dust-to-dust idea. We are again reminded that we are just mortal. We do have an ending and yet with that is the challenge, who should I trust?
Let’s look at the next two verses.
“How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God,
Who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever;”
That’s who you place your hope in! And, that’s where you experience help. This blessedness and the joyfulness of those who place their hope in the God of Israel, as their helper and as their keeper. This hope is centered on the Eternal God.
I love the phrase here, “Who made the heaven and the earth, the sea and all that is in them; Who keeps faith forever.” This is a great expression – El, Olam – unto the Eternal, the Everlasting God. He keeps faith. He must keep faith because He is the Creator God who created us and wants to have a relationship with us.
And I especially love verses 5 and 6. They are such great verses to cling to on those days when I wake up and it’s not easy to praise God this morning. Or I might wake up on the wrong side of the bed, not feeling joyful, but that whole idea that the God of Israel is my helper. My hope is centered on the Eternal God. Why? Because He is Elohim. He is the Strong Creator God, the Maker of heaven and earth. This takes us back to Psalm 121 from last week. I look up to the hills. Where does my help come from? And, what was the answer? “My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.” Yes, He is faithful forever. He is True. We can trust in Him.
As we look at the final portion of this Psalm –
“Who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry,
The Lord sets the prisoners free.
The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; the Lord raises up those who are bowed down;
The Lord loves the righteous;
The Lord protects the strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widow,
But He thwarts the way of the wicked.”
As we read through these verses, we really need to get out the dictionary to look up the meanings and to better understand the definition of these words.
The oppressed (who are these people?) – those who are not receiving justice, they not being lifted up and cared for in the world. Food for the hungry. Frees those who are imprisoned. Who are these people? There are many different ways we can be imprisoned in this world. Sometimes, we are caught in the trap of sin or we are caught in guilt or sometimes we are imprisoned within our own family or relationship situations. It’s not just those people sitting in a literal prison cell.
And then in verse 8, He opens the eyes of the blind. Who are the blind? Sometimes, those of us who are the most blind can truly see with our eyes. But we don’t choose to open our eyes and our mind. Those who are weighed down (bowed down) and they are carrying a heavy burden. He cherishes those who love the righteous way, the godly way.
As we go into verse 9, I am so reminded of last season when we went through the book of Ruth.
• Protects the foreigners among us (watches over the foreigner, the stranger)
• He supports (sustains, cares for) the fatherless (orphan) and the widow
Who was that last season?
WALT – That was Ruth. God did that but He did it through a faithful man. A man who was doing what the Bible taught – helping the helpless – and that man was Boaz.
As we read these verses, we think of all the ways people are pressed down, or may find themselves in a struggle or a trial in life. Yet, these verses tell us who we should turn to. We turn to the Lord because the Lord loves the righteous. He will protect the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow.
And then the last phrase in verse 9, “But He thwarts the way of the wicked.” And that phrase takes me back to Psalm 1. The way of the wicked is like what – like chaff? Yes, it will be blown away and will not stand in the judgment.
As we come to these last five chapters in the book of Psalms, do you see how these verses are pointing us back to the other Psalms that we have studied throughout this whole season. God’s Word weaves together. It is living. It is true. He uses it to speak to our hearts, our souls, and our mind.
Reading verse 10, “The LORD will reign forever, Your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord!”
Praise the Lord! Praise the Eternal. He will reign today, tomorrow, and forever. For all eternity. He will be your God. And that cry here is to O Zion, that is Jerusalem, throughout the generations. That city of promise. As we read this Psalm and we listen today to these words, our hearts should sing, “Praise the LORD!”
And I think we can learn something here from the people of God – the Jewish people. For the last three thousand years, they start their mornings with these words of praise to the Lord. Let our mornings begin with Praise to the Lord. Let our lips speak and sing praise to the Lord throughout every day. We keep repeating that because the text keeps repeating it – again and again. Hallelujah! (Halel – unto / Yahweh – the LORD).
And with that, the recognition that men and women need to praise the Lord! I don’t know about you but when I start my day with a time of praise, it changes my perspective and begins my day on the right foot.
In Psalm 146, the psalmist vows to continually praise God. He exhorts his readers not to trust in man, even princes who have some power. But instead, trust God. He alone is worthy to be praised! For His power, His justice, His mercy, and for His coming Kingdom, where His Will will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Let’s talk about the HEAD TO HEART – I’m going to get real with you. I do truly marvel, wonder, stand in awe of the LORD, offering praises to Him. Even this morning in our church service, just being overwhelmed with some of the songs that we sang that talk about praising the Lord. And, at one point, I was almost moved to tears. I was reminded of just how awesome and wonderful and powerful and what a Helper He is to those who will come to Him.
So, how can I incorporate more active praise and worship into every single day of my life? For me in a practical way, that involves the choice in the morning to listen to praise music on my way to work instead of the local Sports Talk program. I need to make a choice. And, how about you? How will you spend your time in the mornings?
That’s a real challenge. How will I spend my time? We have a choice. We all have the same number of hours each day, the same number of minutes and how will we break that down? Will we take time in the morning to offer those words of praise to the Lord? To open our Bible and reflect on a Psalm. I’d encourage us even in this coming week to open our Bible, just as the faithful Jewish followers do even to this day, and look at these last five chapters in the book of Psalms.
As we close today, as a closing benediction, I want to read Psalm 150, the final Psalm, which serves as the fitting doxology.
1 – Praise the LORD! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty expanse.
2 – Praise Him for His mighty deeds; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness.
3 – Praise Him with trumpet sound; Praise Him with harp and lyre.
4 – Praise Him with timbrel and dancing; Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe.
5 – Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with resounding cymbals.
6 – Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!
Psalm 150 – Amen and Amen.
Friends, do you have some Bible questions as we have gone through the book of Psalms in this season? And maybe some questions from the book of Ruth during the previous season. We’d love to hear from you. And, next time on our podcast, we’re going to enter into some Bible question time as well as discussion. You can email us at Walk.with.God.WBK@gmail.com
We have repeated the email address in our Show Notes where you can also find the transcript.
We are thankful for you, our listeners, as we spread out over the world, in 17 countries, on 6 continents. We are still looking for someone in Antarctica. So, if you know anyone in the Research Station, bring them in.
Until our next time when we are together, may you continue to … Walk with God.