A Hymn Of Thanksgiving Unto Our Powerful,
Wise & Compassionate God

a brief study of Psalm 147, adapted from PCC Prayer Meeting Exhortation on 11 May 2012

Part 2 of 2


[We saw last sabbath, how Psalm 147 can be divided into two parts. We have already considered the first part, which is from verse 1 to 11. From these verses we noted how we must praise the LORD because (1) Praise is pleasant and comely; (2) the LORD builds the Church; (3) He is compassionate; (4) He is great in power and understanding; (5) He is kind to the meek; (6) He is the God of Providence; and (7) He takes pleasure in us.

In this second instalment of our exposition of this Psalm, we continue with the 8th to the 10th reason why we should praise the Lord based on the second part of this psalm. —JJ Lim]

Let us praise, praise the LORD with grateful hearts, for…


8. The LORD Blesses His Church

12 Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion.

Who should praise the LORD? All mankind should praise the LORD, for He is our Maker: In Him we live, and move and have our being.

But Jerusalem and Zion must especially learn to praise the LORD. Jerusalem and Zion refer to the Church of God. As a redeemed people, under the rule of Christ our King, we must especially praise Him. We are double debtors to God not only to live for Him but also to praise His holy name.

We must praise Him, for He is good to us as a Church…

13 For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates; he hath blessed thy children within thee. 14 He maketh peace in thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat.

Jerusalem was a walled city. People who wish to enter the city for any reason must come in through the gates. There are numerous gates around the city. At night and in times of war, these gates are locked up and barred. The bars of the gate were the metal bars that were place across the gate to prevent the enemies forcing the gate open.

If the bar is weak, then it would be easy for the enemies to break through the gate by pushing it and bending the bar.

No doubt, then God’s strengthening of the bar speaks of God’s protection for his church. From ancient times to the present day, God does graciously strengthen the bars of our gates. He protects the church so that the gates of hell cannot prevail against it. The church militant marches on protected from the onslaught of the evil one. She will never be destroyed by the roaring lion prowling about waiting to devour whom he may; nor will she be destroyed by the wolves in sheep skin that sometimes penetrate her borders.

And as much as we are obedient to the LORD, He blesses our children and gives us peace within. It is a blessing of the Lord that we would not only enjoy peace with God, but peace with one another. God is a God of peace. It is no wonder that the most common greeting of our Lord to His disciple was “Peace!”

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (Jn 14:27).

And not only does He give us peace. He provides for our needs. He “filleth thee with the finest of the wheat” we are given to sing. What is wheat, but a symbol of food and nourishment? By the grace of God, he builds us up by feeding us with His word so that those who hunger and thirst after righteousness are filled. Indeed, He fills us with the bread from heaven, so that we want no more.

Why should we praise the LORD? Let us praise Him for blessings upon us as a church.

And ninthly, let us praise Him for…

9. The LORD upholds the World

15 He sendeth forth his commandment upon earth: his word runneth very swiftly. 16 He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes. 17 He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold? 18 He sendeth out his word, and melteth them: he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow.

This is a beautiful picture. The providential word of God flows through out the world to effect what happens. By His commands winter sets in. The cold wind blows. Frost appears on the ground like ashes. Then snowflakes begin to fall like wool. Or perhaps hails stone begin to beat down like morsels or pebbles.

Then God sends His word again, and the ice and snow begins to melt, warmer winds begin to blow and the water begins to flow. Spring has begun.

Now these things do not happen in our land. Our weather does not vary very much year round. But the truth of God’s power is not diminished.

When we see the lightning storms and hear the thunder, let us remember that God has sent His word. When the storm ceases, and the sun appears behind the clouds, let us remember that God has sent His word.

But let us go beyond that. Let us remember that nature is also a means by which God displays His glory. George Horne puts it beautifully when he says: “What the sun is to the world, the same is Christ to the church.”

Therefore when we behold God’s power demonstrated in nature, let us praise him for His power, but let us also remember His special love towards us. For tenthly, we must praise the LORD, because…

10. The LORD Love Us Covenantally

19 He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel.  20 He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD.

When the LORD sends out His Word, He melts the ice and causes the waters to flow again. But no one sees His Word or hears His word.

Of all the people in the world, only few know and acknowledge that it is Jehovah whose word of power controls the weather. These few are found in Jacob, or the covenant people of God. Jacob and Israel: These are but old names for the church of Christ. Thank God that He has given us understanding.

And God has not only given us understanding about what happens in nature. He has given us His word in clear. He has given us His written Word.

No one else in the world has such a great privilege as us. No one in the world understands and acknowledges God’s sovereignty. No one in the world has heard God’s laws and His way of salvation. God has dealt ever so kindly with us.

Think of the millions who are perishing. When you walk in the MRT tunnel at rush hour notice the hundreds and thousands rushing by. How many are rushing to a Christless eternity? Most, is it not? Most are heading to a Christless eternity!

What should you do when this thought overwhelm your heart? Will you not praise the Lord for mercy shown to you? Will you not pray for the perishing multitude that the Lord will save His own?

Conclusion

This is Psalm 147. It is a psalm of praise and thanksgiving. It is a psalm to stir our hearts to praise the LORD. In a way it is a psalm that does not teach us anything new. All the things that are mentioned in it should be well-known to us.

What this psalm is designed to do is to stir our hearts. Day by day, our hearts are filled with the cares of the world and with the things we see and hear. God is often not in our thoughts.

This psalm turns our eyes back to God. It reminds us of His greatness and of his love and compassion toward us of all the people in the world. It lifts us out of the drudgery of life and sets us in heavenly places that we might enjoy God for a moment.

But really it ought not to be for just a moment. Praise should fill our hearts so that if we cut our heart, out should flow living waters of praise.  Should that not be the case when we…

…are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that [we] should shew forth the praises of him who hath called [us] out of darkness into his marvellous light (1Pet 2:9).

Amen. W