Daily Worship

A song of praise is fitting

February 05, 2018 0
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Psalm 147: 1-11, 20

1 Praise the Lord!
How good it is to sing praises to our God;
    for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.
2 The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
    he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
3 He heals the broken-hearted,
    and binds up their wounds.
4 He determines the number of the stars;
    he gives to all of them their names.
5 Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
    his understanding is beyond measure.
6 The Lord lifts up the downtrodden;
    he casts the wicked to the ground.

7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
    make melody to our God on the lyre.
8 He covers the heavens with clouds,
    prepares rain for the earth,
    makes grass grow on the hills.
9 He gives to the animals their food,
    and to the young ravens when they cry.
10 His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
    nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner;
11 but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
    in those who hope in his steadfast love.

20 He has not dealt thus with any other nation;
    they do not know his ordinances.
Praise the Lord!

If I found myself forcibly exiled from my country by the military, living in a strange land in punishing conditions and little to offer by way of comfort, I might well find it difficult to offer praise to God. The predicament is appallingly contemporary, but the psalm was most likely composed during a period after the exile of the Jews to Egypt, when the people had returned exhausted, though nonetheless concerned to re-build the city of Jerusalem. Its principal theme is encouragement to the returning exiles to Praise the Lord!

Picking up the pieces and trying to establish normality once again after loss or upheaval is hard, but we are urged to recall the detailed and meticulous care of God for us and for all creation. God is one who “gathers the outcasts …and heals the broken-hearted, and binds up their wounds” - just exactly what the returnees to Jerusalem required. Their God (and our God) is one who numbers and knows each star by name. Our God (and their God) is one who, more than anything else, takes pleasure in those who trust and hope in his love. He takes pleasure in us. He takes pleasure in you and in me. 

It’s when we consider all of this we realise that praising the Lord is a good thing to do! How good it is to sing praises to our God; for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting. Recent research evidence demonstrates the benefits of singing with others for our wellbeing (See Clift et al, Choral Singing, Wellbeing and Health), not to mention the encouragement derived from worshipping together as believers (See Bartkowski et al, Prayer, Meditation, and Anxiety: Durkheim Revisited). How brilliant! Praise the Lord! 

 

I praise you Lord

With words,

With a song,

With an instrument.

I praise you Lord

Because you care

For those whose hearts are broken,

For those with no hope,

For those without faith.

I praise you Lord

For you delight to make the rain fall

And the grass grow on the hills.

Most of all, you delight to find

Our hope is fixed in you.  

Amen.