The Lord lifts up the humble; He casts the wicked down to the ground. Psalm 147:6
Psalm 147 God, who heals the brokenhearted, sustains the universe itself by His power. God, who supplies the living on earth, takes delight in those who fear Him and grants them peace. God, who controls all by His Word, has blessed Israel with His commands and decrees. This anonymous poem was likely written following the return of the Jewish people to Jerusalem from the Babylonian captivity.
147:1 Praise is beautiful and joyful.
1 Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.
147:2,3 builds up Jerusalem The few people who had returned from captivity faced an immense task. But they needed to know, as do all subsequent people who do the work of the Lord, that because the work was God’s, He would see that it was accomplished. It is a privilege for God’s people to be counted as part of the fulfillment of the task, but the glory belongs to Him. He heals the brokenhearted: God’s principal work is within the human heart.
147:4-6 He counts the number of the stars: Quoted from Is. 40:26, these words describe the infinite knowledge of God. But the words signify more: God’s principal interest is not in starts or insects; God’s interest is in His people. Lifts up the humble: God’s greatness may be approached only by the humble; He resists the proud, but He comforts the lowly (86:14; 146:9; James 4:6).
4 He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. 5 Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite. 6 The Lord lifts up the humble; He casts the wicked down to the ground.
147:7-9 Sing praises: The second movement of the psalm begins with a new call for the praise of God. Rain for the earth: A regular part of God’s covenantal mercies is the bringing of rain for produce and livelihood (Lev. 26:1-13). More than that, God sends rain on the just and the unjust because of His continuing mercy to all. We may describe the actions of these verses as God’s “regular mercies.” Beast: Jesus describes God’s care as extending even to sparrows (Matt. 10:29).
Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. Matthew 10:29
7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; Sing praises on the harp to our God, 8 Who covers the heavens with clouds, Who prepares rain for the earth, Who makes grass to grow on the mountains. 9 He gives to the beast its food, And to the young ravens that cry.
147:10, 11 He does not delight: The enjoyment God finds in His people is greater than any pleasure He may find in horses or runners. Forms of the verb delight and take pleasure are found in 40:6-8; 51:16. These are God’s responses to true piety; He enjoys people who respond rightly to Him. To fear God is to be properly responsive to Him in awe and wonder.
147:12 The words praise the Lord introduce the 3rd movement of the psalm. This section was a reminder to the new settlers in the land of promise that God had blessed them in numerous ways. He had given them protection, prosperity, peace and productivity.
147:19, 20 God’s word goes throughout His creation, causing snow, frost, hail, wind, and every other aspect of weather to obey His command. Here He gives His word to His people. Shall we obey as does the wind? Or shall we be the only element of creation that is unresponsive to the divine will? Not dealt thus: Israel confessed the unique revelation that it had received from God and acknowledged their unique responsibility. Our responsibility is as profound as Israel’s, for we too have heard the testimonies of the Creator through Scripture.
** God has infinite understanding and power. Yet, He is tender-hearted. He cares. Aligning ourselves with God means experiencing both His power and tenderness towards me and others. No need to worry about how much or how well I do my work. It is His work in which we participate — to hand over a hammer and things like that. Knowing God’s power is peace. Knowing God’s love is joy. The infinite draws my little hands to join in His work.
147 1 Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful. 2 The Lord builds up Jerusalem; He gathers together the outcasts of Israel. 3 He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds. 4 He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. 5 Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite. 6 The Lord lifts up the humble; He casts the wicked down to the ground. 7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; Sing praises on the harp to our God, 8 Who covers the heavens with clouds, Who prepares rain for the earth, Who makes grass to grow on the mountains. 9 He gives to the beast its food, And to the young ravens that cry. 10 He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man. 11 The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, In those who hope in His mercy. 12 Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion! 13 For He has strengthened the bars of your gates; He has blessed your children within you. 14 He makes peace in your borders, And fills you with the finest wheat. 15 He sends out His command to the earth; His word runs very swiftly. 16 He gives snow like wool; He scatters the frost like ashes; 17 He casts out His hail like morsels; Who can stand before His cold? 18 He sends out His word and melts them; He causes His wind to blow, and the waters flow. 19 He declares His word to Jacob, His statutes and His judgments to Israel. 20 He has not dealt thus with any nation; And as for His judgments, they have not known them. Praise the Lord!