Praise the Lord!
How good it is to sing praises to our God for God is gracious! A song of praise is fitting …
Psalm 147 overflows with thanksgiving for the Lord of the cosmos Who is abundant in power with understanding beyond measure.
Within the context of Living in The Story, we consider Psalm 147 at the same time we see the remnant of exiles returning from Babylon to the Promised Land. Even as they came home to a devastated land and city, they chose to sing of the grace of Yahweh who once again kept covenant with Israel.
The Lord builds up Jerusalem and gathers the outcasts of Israel. God heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion!
For God strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your children within you.
The Lord grants prosperity within your borders and fills you with the finest of wheat.
The Lord declares his word to Jacob, his statutes and ordinances to Israel. God has not dealt thus with any other nation …
Here is a song of praise and thanksgiving worthy of the celebrations described in the Memoir of Nehemiah.
Within our Living in The Story journey, Psalm 147 would have offered eschatological hope to believers of the first century who also had endured devastation of land and temple.
But this psalm reaches far beyond the borders of Israel.
Here is a universal song of praise, a cosmic hymn celebrating the Creator-Redeemer-Sustainer of ALL creation.
Psalm 147 sings of the Lord of all who …
… determines the number of the stars and gives to all of them their names;
… covers the heavens with clouds, prepares rain for the earth and makes grass grow on the hills;
… gives to the animals their food and to the young ravens when they cry;
… gives snow like wool and scatters frost like ashes (who can stand before his cold!?)
Then he sends out his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow, and the waters flow.
Do you hear our poet offering an allusion to the opening words of the Hebrew Scripture?
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said …
The first creation story in Genesis portrays God’s Word and God’s Wind as bringing all things into existence.
Within the faith of Israel, God’s Word and God’s Wind create and animate.
Word and Wind
The creation emanates from the Creator and remains deeply connected and interwoven with the One from Whom all things flow.
(Note that “nature” and “the environment” are not biblical terms; the theologians of Scripture instead use the word creation.)
Creation displays some of the complex character of the Creator.
Like a poem, like a painting, like a sculpture … the creation reveals something true and real about the One who creates.
I love the prayer we pray each Sunday from the Book of Common Prayer. It dovetails perfectly with the prayer and praise from this psalmist:
Give us all a reverence for the earth as your own creation,
that we may use its resources rightly in the service of others
and to your honor and glory.
Yahweh takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in God’s steadfast love.
Al le lu – Yah! Praise the Lord!