Psalm 146

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Psalm 146 ESV
1 Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! 2 I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. 3 Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. 4 When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish. 5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, 6 who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever; 7 who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free; 8 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. 9 The Lord watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. 10 The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord!

Hallelujah! Praise Ye the Lord!

These are the lyrics of a fun children's song many have sung as a kid. To sing the song, people are divided into two groups, those that sing "Hallelujah!" and those that sing "Praise Ye the Lord!" While it was an enjoyable song, the meaning of the lyrics could be lost in the fun. And popular music uses the term "Hallelujah" in a foreign context. Bruno Mars sings in the song "Uptown Funk", "Girls hit your hallelujah (woo)!" Unfortunately, Hallelujah is a term that is used to describe something that is simply great, extraordinary, or exciting. But that is not the biblical meaning of the term. The word has two parts "praise Yah" The hallel is a liturgical call to give audible praise. The praise is directed to Yah (a shortened variant of the sacred name of God YHWH). Psalm 146 is another hallel psalm like Psalm 136. Today as we consider our own Hallelujah, we will see how we are to direct it to Jesus Christ, who is worthy of praise as the eternal God, Creator, and King.

Praise the Lord in this life

The song begins with a call to praise the Lord, give a hallelujah! The call belongs to the community of believers. We bear the responsibility to give loud and audible adoration. One voice makes a limited rand of sound, but many voices multiply it. It is appropriate to have both ranges of volume in a church gathering. Low volume is appropriate at times, but so are times of great sound. When we gather in the name of Jesus, let it be clear that we are praising God.
The psalm writer gives the command to others but quickly sets himself to give a hallelujah. He must respond for himself. He may be the leader in the call to others, but he is responsible for his response. At the same time, He gives praise. He recognizes that earthly life is limited. Life is short, and our abilities decrease as we get toward the end of life. We should not wait until "we get older" to be serious about giving God glory. We can do that right now regardless of our age.
How do you fulfill this command to give God praise? Do you find it a challenge to sing, to pray, to express with a word a heart of gratitude and glory to God ? It is not very difficult to respond in praise if you truly know who God is and what He has done. Could your lack of praise be connected to your lack of understanding of what God has done through Jesus? Luke 7:41-43
Luke 7:41–43 ESV
41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.”

Limit your trust in human leaders

The psalm moves to remind God’s people to avoid placing trust in human leaders. Whether it be the ancient kings and rulers all the way to modern politicians and administration, we would do well to limit our trust in human leaders. Whether it be the ancient kings and rulers or modern politicians and administration, we would do well to limit our trust in them to bring the solutions our society needs. This is by no means a rejection of government or the need for law and order, but it is a sober reminder of our "weakness" and "sinful tendencies" as a fallen people.
In America, every election cycle is a chance to offer another option to the current leadership. In some ways, it potentially keeps things in check by passing power back and forth between opposing views. But let's be realistic, political parties and political people can not bring the solution that every soul needs, to be made right with God. Only Jesus Christ solves that problem.
And so, it would seem that the Christian Church has the upper hand in developing good leaders because we know the truth. Unfortunately, leadership in the church is far from being infallible. Recent scandals in the news have shattered the confidence in Christian leadership. We should be concerned that our leadership is rightly submitted to the Holy Spirit and the Holy Scriptures. But their failure is no reason to abandon our faith; rather, it should remind us that our faith is in the Only One who will never fail us, the Righteous One, Jesus Christ. It further verifies that all other ground is "sinking sand". Failed people, failed communities, and failed leaders need the one in who salvation exists. Every leader will pass from this earth, but Jesus Christ is the resurrected Lord. Trust no one but Jesus.

Recognize God as Creator

The psalm directs our attention to a beatitude, a blessing, "happy is..." concerning the person who relies on the God of Jacob. This description of God was essential to Israel, for it identified God's consistent and enduring "chesed" steadfast love. It is a way to remind the people that God was faithful in the past and will be faithful in the future. His past performance is a guarantee of future actions.
God is both a help and a source of hope. And the psalm writer points to creation as God's evidence of these attributes. Our Bible begins with the story of God, who created all things out of nothing. He brought chaos into order through the words of His mouth.
Joke of the Scientist and God
God as Creator is one of the fundamental attributes Israel was to acknowledge. Isaiah both warned and comforted Israel about this concept. He pointed to His act of creation as comfort in His sovereign power. Isaiah 51:12-14
Isaiah 51:12–14 ESV
12 “I, I am he who comforts you; who are you that you are afraid of man who dies, of the son of man who is made like grass, 13 and have forgotten the Lord, your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, and you fear continually all the day because of the wrath of the oppressor, when he sets himself to destroy? And where is the wrath of the oppressor? 14 He who is bowed down shall speedily be released; he shall not die and go down to the pit, neither shall his bread be lacking.
And when we look in the New Testament, we find that Jesus is identified as the Creator. John 1:3
John 1:3 ESV
3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
The apostles often appealed to God as Creator in sharing the Gospel. The Gospel understanding was not limited to Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection, for even when talking to the Gentiles who had another opinion of the origin of life, Paul appealed to God, "the maker of heaven and earth". Paul and Barnabas healed a lame man in Lystra. The gentile people immediately assumed that Paul and Barnabas were the gods Zeus and Hermes come to earth. But Paul stated this in Acts 14:15
Acts 14:15 ESV
15 “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.
Why is God the Creator such an essential part of our understanding of God? It sets us on the path to being truly human. In the New City Catechism, question 4 asks, "How and why did God create us?" The answer reads:
God created us male and female in His own image to know Him, love Him, live with Him, and glorify Him. And it is right that we who were created by God should live to His glory.
If you look at some of the issues in our culture today, you can hopefully see how this fundamental concept goes against the view on abortion and sexuality. If we fail to fully understand God's implications as Creator, we will end up in all kinds of errors.

Jesus the fulfillment

The last part of the psalm describes the power of the Creator in His vindication and justice on the earth. The psalm lists circumstances that validate the notion that this world is a fallen and sinful place. Life is not as God intended in his creation of the world. Sin has corrupted all things. As a result, people live in unjust situations, have physical issues, and experience great loss in relationships. It would seem that God does not care for the world He created since it is plagued by such things. But this is where we see the important supremacy of the Gospel message. In Jesus earthly ministry, we see the fulfillment of Psalm 146. In Luke 4:17-20, Jesus declared the following:
Luke 4:17–20 ESV
17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.
And later, when asked if He was the One, (another way of asking, are you the Messiah, Christ, the Anointed One, the Promised Deliverer), Jesus responded in this way: Luke 7:20-23
Luke 7:20–23 ESV
20 And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’ ” 21 In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. 22 And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. 23 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
The Gospel's emphasis is on Jesus Christ, who took up all the infirmities, injustices, and sin and its accompanying effects upon himself. The cross of Jesus Christ has an effect on all things, both spiritual and physical. Look how Paul describes this in Colossians 1:19-20
Colossians 1:19–20 ESV
19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
As believers today, we must not waiver or wander from this important concept, that Jesus is the foundational solution for all that causes this world to be a corrupt and sinful place. Jesus is also the continuing solution for all that causes us as Christians, as churches, and as leaders to live lives that are pleasing to God and bring healing to both the spiritual and physical ills of our world. This is why we must think of God as the King who reigns. In every and all situations, we look to God to be over all things. We look to Him as our eternal solutions. For the God of Jacob is faithful to all generations.
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