Practical Reflections on the Psalms: Psalms 146-150

Psalm 146‑150  •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 7
The following psalms are the hallelujahs of a delivered people. Some elements of God's ways in general may be however found here, because God in the deliverance has shown whom He thought of and His care for them.
Psa. 146 It is the wisdom of trusting the all-enduring, ever-living Lord that is spoken of. “Put not your trust in man:” his breath goes forth: all his thoughts are gone. Not so with God. Not only He has power, but He is faithful—keeps truth forever. And again, His tender mercy is brought out for the comfort of those that are in sorrow. The oppressed, the hungry, the prisoners come before Him, are the objects of His care and power; the blind He gives eves to, raises up those that are bowed down. All this is comfort of heart to those that are in sorrow and trial, that are oppressed. But farther, He loves the righteous, so that men, whatever comes upon them, can trust in Him. The stranger whose heart may feel sick where he is, the fatherless or widow whose sustaining props are gone, He preserves and relieves. The heart of the righteous has its sure confidence, of the bowed down and those deprived of earthly stay, the sure hand of a God who cares for them, because they are such. It is what God always is.
Psa. 147 The great principle in all these psalms is that the one true God, the Creator, and He who ministers to every creature specially known as the God of His people, and is known by His delivered people to be righteous, full of compassion, and good. His ways and character have become known to the delivered ones; but He is the God of Israel, as we say our Father, or the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. All this is largely brought out in this psalm—the ground for trusting Him in every trial, but for seeking Him and walking in righteousness, for He takes pleasure in those that fear Him. But, besides this, another blessing is spoken of, belonging to His people, and so to us, His word. This is the first of blessings. He gave it to His people. He had not dealt so with any nation. There is a difference between us and Israel here. This in itself is true of both; but the Jew was shut up in his own system. The temple was a place of resort for all nations, but for Jews even there was no access to God Himself, no knowledge of Him by the revelation of Himself. The law told them what man ought to be, God's dealings taught them many a lesson if they would learn it as they do here; but the way into the holiest was not made manifest, and there was no going out with the testimony that God is love. They learned from His ways on earth, but did not know Him in heaven and will, not as we do, even in the millennium, though mercy and redemption will be clearer for them. We do; we know God as light and love. We shall be in the Father's house then. Hence while we have the word which reveals Him who has sanctified himself, a man in heaven apart from the world, we have known God's love issuing and in the power of eternal life. We know the Father in the Son, and then God as love, yea are in Him and He in us. Hence we have a gospel ministry, and every one is a witness of divine love and heavenly righteousness. We have no priesthood here, save as we all are, but go with boldness into the holiest, our great High Priest being ever there. The word is in this respect another thing for us, though still God's word. We have the word for others because it is the true knowledge of God Himself in grace, a heavenly word. Some other elements of goodness are spoken of in this psalm, though the general tenor of it be the same. He heals the broken in heart, He binds up their wounds. There is not only tender compassion in grace, but remedy, and, more and more, He establishes securely, strengthens the bars of the city of God, and blesses His children in her. Thus we have a richer and fuller unfolding of mercy in this psalm. The general principle is the same. God's ways revealing what He is in its effects of goodness and righteous government, a knowledge of God by His statutes and judgments; but not the revelation of Himself and introduction into His presence as He is, nor knowledge of Him as Father. It is indeed in contrast with it. See Eph. 1:3-53Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, (Ephesians 1:3‑5), where we have the Christian's place, as in verses 19-23 our relationship with Christ, to which add chapter 5:25-30.
Psa. 148. With this remark I may merely note the character of this psalm. All creation is called to praise God, but with the additional word, He exalts the horn of His people. It is more than deliverance and mercy. He exalts them in the creation as the people of His favor on earth. He is the praise of His saints, a people near Him—a blessed thought, but how far more blessed to us who will be near Himself, unveiled in His house and in His presence! Israel is near the Creator, as His people on the earth. We with God our Father in heaven like the Lord Jesus His only-begotten Son. In this, as in the following psalm, deliverance is not spoken of, for there is progress in them. First, mercy and deliverance, favor to the tried righteous within her; then the horn of His people exalted, and Israel a people near Him; and now it is joy and triumph.
Psa. 149. He takes pleasure in them, and they are His weapon against His enemies, the high praises of God in their mouths and a two-edged sword in their hands, executing the judgment written. We see at once how we are on the Jewish ground of judgment in this world. There is a delight in the setting aside of evil by power, even for the Christian. “Rejoice over her, ye heavens, and ye holy apostles and prophets;” but this only when the Church gets on prophetic, not on her own, ground. Hence the Father is not more spoken of in the Apocalypse than in the psalms. Where the relationship is with the Father, there it is carried out in love. And this difference, often noted, is as distinct and plain to the spiritual mind as possible, and of all importance to make the psalms intelligible and set Christianity on its own true ground. The Christian is not a Jew; the revealed name of God to him is not Jehovah, but Father, as Christ so markedly states.
Psa. 150 gives the full praise to Jehovah in a double character, the sanctuary and the firmament of His power, for His ways which come from the firmament of His power were always according to the sanctuary in which He governed Israel, and made good the revelation of Himself there. So indeed with us, He makes all things work together for good to them that love Him; but it is according to the heavenly place to which they belong and to which He is bringing them. Christ is in the firmament of His power now. He is praised for His acts, praised for His greatness manifested in them. Jehovah is the theme of praise—Jehovah the God of Israel, but Jehovah the Creator and Sustainer of all—the righteous Judge. But here it is Jehovah, God in His sanctuary as we, after all we have received in a higher way, glory in tribulations and finally in God Himself—not in what we have received. It is not even here, Praise our God, just as that was, but it rises higher. “Praise God in his sanctuary.” The deep sense of what God is goes out beyond the relationship in which we are, though it is relationship with Him in the highest way that we have. Our Father's love, ours and Christ's, is sweet, but we joy in God. Blessed be His name!