by Pastor Lawrence
This is another hallelujah psalm that ends with that Hebrew word translated into the English as “praise the Lord!” Similar to the previous psalm, it is designed to arouse the believer to seek the Lord, to glory in His name and to make his deeds known among men. To spur the brothers on, he recounts many of the Lord’s works in a brief survey of God’s history with Israel. First he speaks of God’s promises to the patriarchs through His eternal covenant and how God has been faithful to His people in every generation protecting them and providing for them even rebuking kings on their account.
What is interesting throughout this psalm is how the psalmist give thanks for the frowning providences of God in addition to His sweet providences. For instance, he acknowledges that it was the Lord who summoned a famine on the land and broke all supply of bread, and it was the Lord who lead Joseph into slavery and detained him in fetters in order to show His great power and wisdom in faithfulness to His covenant. Similarly, it was the Lord who turned the hearts of the Egyptians to hate the Israelites and to deal craftily with them to show His great power over the nations through the signs and the plagues. Afterwards, it was the Lord who turned the hearts of the Egyptians again to freely give the Israelites many gifts of silver and gold.
Of course, it was the Lord also who brought the Israelites into the wilderness where there was no water and very little to eat in order to test his people and to prove once again His power to preserve life, to quench thirst and to sustain the heart of the weary. When they cried out in their need, He graciously and faithfully gave them more than they asked for.
Notice, in this psalm, though, that the psalmist skips over all the grumbling and complaining of the Israelites, all the times that they doubted the Word of the Lord and all the times that they turned towards idols instead of trusting in the Lord and calling upon His name. Remember, this is not a psalm of lament but a psalm of praise to stir up the heart of believers to trust the Lord, to seek His face in prayer, and to rejoice in all His works, even those that come under a hard providence. But this recounting of God’s works is not merely for the individual believer to reflect upon. He is meant to share the testimony of God’s works in His life with others, not only with the congregation of the saints but also with outsiders that they might also understand and rejoice in the Lord’s works.
At the conclusion of the psalm, it seems to be a combination of Israel’s own good works and a testimony of the Lord’s wondrous works on their behalf that is meant to draw the nations unto Him. Likewise, for the Church today, outsiders are meant to see our good works and glorify the God of heaven, but they are also prodded by those good works to ask the reason for the hope that is in us. And in that moment, we are meant to open our mouths in praise unto our faithful God who has saved us through His Son Jesus, who has sanctified us by His holy laws and who has been faithful to us all the days of our lives. Remember, it is through the hard providences that we learn to trust and rejoice in the Lord’s faithfulness, so that both our words as well as our lives can evoke a hallelujah by the peoples.