Read Psalm 147
1 Praise the Lord.
How good it is to sing praises to our God,
how pleasant and fitting to praise him!
2 The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the exiles of Israel.
3 He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
4 He determines the number of the stars
and calls them each by name.
5 Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
his understanding has no limit.
6 The Lord sustains the humble
but casts the wicked to the ground.
7 Sing to the Lord with grateful praise;
make music to our God on the harp.
8 He covers the sky with clouds;
he supplies the earth with rain
and makes grass grow on the hills.
9 He provides food for the cattle
and for the young ravens when they call.
10 His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his delight in the legs of the warrior;
11 the Lord delights in those who fear him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love.
12 Extol the Lord, Jerusalem;
praise your God, Zion.
13 He strengthens the bars of your gates
and blesses your people within you.
14 He grants peace to your borders
and satisfies you with the finest of wheat.
15 He sends his command to the earth;
his word runs swiftly.
16 He spreads the snow like wool
and scatters the frost like ashes.
17 He hurls down his hail like pebbles.
Who can withstand his icy blast?
18 He sends his word and melts them;
he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow.
19 He has revealed his word to Jacob,
his laws and decrees to Israel.
20 He has done this for no other nation;
they do not know his laws.
Praise the Lord.
Today’s Psalm starts by praising God and declaring that it is “good” to sing praises to Him. Verse 1 seems a bit formal upon first reading, and the rest of the chapter can feel like reading a grocery list, but a deeper dive into the translation reveals the soul-touching, life-changing revelation that comes from deeply, truly recognizing and engaging in the practice of praise.
The verse begins with “How good it is to sing praises to our God…” The word good sounds a bit lackluster as it is commonly used today, but good meant something completely different to the Psalmist. The Hebrew word used here is towb. It is the same word used in the creation story of Genesis when the Bible states, “and He saw that it was good.” Good is the declaration of God when He spoke the universe into being! Good is not dull or boring! Good means excellent, magnificent, complete, valuable. This is the benefit and beauty of praising God!
The verse ends with “…how pleasant and fitting to praise him!” Upon first reading, it may remind us of an etiquette lesson with instructions on how using the appropriate fork or proper dinner topics are “pleasant and fitting.” Again, the depth of the meaning seems to be lost in translation, so let’s dive in! The Hebrew words used here are naiym and nawah, meaning lovely or delightful and becoming or attractive. What we find revealed in the translation is that praising God changes us; it makes us better. Praising God transforms us into lovely and becoming people.
The chapter proceeds to list examples of God’s provision throughout Israel’s history, proclaiming them as the present perfection of His purpose for His people. The writer realizes that God’s work in the past remains God’s work in the present and prepares us for God’s work in the future. He wants us to remember what He has done to grow our faith and that He will do it again. Sometimes, we may approach praising God as something we “have” to do or just church-speak for singing, but God designed the action of praising Him so we recognize His magnificent power and His eternal provision. We are better people for His good and for His glory when we praise Him!
- How can you praise God today? Is it through prayer, music, reading His word, writing?
- What are the reasons to praise God today? Start by writing down five things and add to your list throughout the day.
- Tonight, reflect on your list and praise God because it is good and pleasant and fitting. Acknowledge His provision and His power.
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3 thoughts on “Psalm 147”
This joyful Psalm most likely was sung when Nehemiah and the Jews finished rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. Can’t you just hear the joy ringing out in celebration of the goodness of God? Out of all people created, God chose Israel, gave them His law and made a covenant with them. Through Israel salvation would come to all. I was drawn to the 22 verbs describing God: Builds, gathers, heals, binds, determines, calls, sustains, casts, covers, supplies, makes, provides, strengthens, blesses, grants, satisfies, sends, spreads, scatters, hurls, stirs & reveals! How can we not praise Him? Our God is triumphant!
Verses 10-11 stood out to me: “His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor His pleasure in the legs of a man, but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His steadfast love.”
The world around us celebrates our outward appearance & abilities; we are cheered on for our accomplishments & what we can do. But, we need to remember that God actually doesn’t care about all of that…. his delight comes from our hearts being fully His.
And aligning our hearts with His happens only through praise. The more we praise God, the more He transforms our hearts to be like His.
God extends common grace to all, though we don’t deserve it. He is mighty yet merciful. Sing to the Lord with grateful praise;