Today: [Psalm 146-147] The Hallelujah Psalms: The last 5 psalms of the book of Psalms are called the Hallelujah psalms because they begin and end with this praise word. Each of the 5 psalms corresponds with the 5 books of the Pentateuch otherwise referred to as the Torah. Psalm 146 is a psalm that admonishes praise to God and trust in God contrasted by false trust in man. When men fail us God is an everlasting source of fidelity and trust.
[Psa 146:1-10 KJV] 1 Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul. 2 While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being. 3 Put not your trust in princes, [nor] in the son of man, in whom [there is] no help. 4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish. 5 Happy [is he] that [hath] the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope [is] in the LORD his God: 6 Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein [is]: which keepeth truth for ever: 7 Which executeth judgment for the oppressed: which giveth food to the hungry. The LORD looseth the prisoners: 8 The LORD openeth [the eyes of] the blind: the LORD raiseth them that are bowed down: the LORD loveth the righteous: 9 The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down. 10 The LORD shall reign for ever, [even] thy God, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the LORD.
The books of Psalms is divided in antiquity by Jewish editors into 5 separate sections corresponding to the 5 books of the Torah – or Pentateuch. EW Bullinger – who compiled the Companion Bible identifies the last of the 5 sections of Psalms as Psalm 107-150. These are referred to as the Book of Deuteronomy psalms. Psalm 146 is the first of 5 “Hallelujah” psalms that comprise the conclusion of the book. They are believed to have been written at the time of the restoration of the temple and the city under Nehemiah, Ezra and Zerubbabel. The 5 Hallelujah psalms all begin and end in Hebrew with this praise word. Additionally ancient scholars saw each of these final 5 psalms as corresponding to Genesis, Exodus, etc., each of the 5 books of the Torah.
In Psalm 146 you find 4 admonitions according to the great Spirit-filled commentator Finis Dake:
1. Admonition to Praise the Lord
2. Admonition to discipline one’s Soul to Praise
3. Admonition not to put your trust in Princes (human leaders)
4. Admonition not to put your trust in any man.
Admonition to praise the Lord. Many define spirituality by the inclusion of an alarmist, negative viewpoint. In his letter to the Colossians the apostle Paul admonished thus:
[Col 3:1-3 KJV] 1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
The setting of affection Paul speaks of is a unique word referring to your emotional attenuation. Whatever strongly moves you in your emotions becomes a predictor of what happens next in your life. Job learned this when he stated that the thing he feared the most came upon him. When we turn from focus upon the things around us and choose instead to praise the Lord and maintain an attitude of praise then our sense of self-referral becomes anchored in God and not controlled by any other thing or person.
Admonition to discipline one’s soul to praise. The soul is your mind, will and emotions. Throughout the psalms David speaks of and refers to his soul as a child needing discipline and guidance by a posture of spiritual restraint. The mind wanders and worries. The emotions run off on tangents completely ungoverned by God or man. The will asserts its blind demands regardless of consequences. The spirit of man on the inside of you is the house of God and it is there that the government of God reaches out to harness and require yieldedness of your soul to the claims of Christ on your life and the mandates of the kingdom. It is your responsibility to cooperate.
Admonition not to trust in princes. Leaders of nations, peoples and groups maintain their leadership by garnering the trust of those they are over. The writer of this psalm makes a remarkable point for an ancient writer living under Persian rule that rulers – politicians, etc. are a vain resource to put your trust in. When you throw in your lot with a political party or candidate or ruler you are taking fidelity that only belongs to God and giving it to man. That is not a popular sentiment but it is the clear and undeniable sentiment and counsel of Psalm 146 and many, many other verses throughout the scriptures.
Admonition not to trust in any man. Jeremiah declared the following by the Spirit of the Lord:
[Jer 17:5 KJV] 5 Thus saith the LORD; Cursed [be] the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.
When we look to man or the institutions of man for what we ought to look to God for we are committing idolatry as sure as if we passed our children through the fire to Chemosh or bowed down before the altar of Baal. We are to LOVE people and TRUST GOD, knowing that people will disappoint us. People, leaders, etc., are ultimately incapable of fulfilling the expectations they wish us to set on them. How do you measure this kind of idolatry? By the passions that are ignited in you by the issues and concerns that human leaders foment to provoke us to look to them for what we ought to be looking to the Lord for.
[Psa 147:1-20 KJV] 1 Praise ye the LORD: for [it is] good to sing praises unto our God; for [it is] pleasant; [and] praise is comely. 2 The LORD doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel. 3 He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. 4 He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by [their] names. 5 Great [is] our Lord, and of great power: his understanding [is] infinite. 6 The LORD lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground. 7 Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God: 8 Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains. 9 He giveth to the beast his food, [and] to the young ravens which cry. 10 He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. 11 The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy. 12 Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion. 13 For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates; he hath blessed thy children within thee. 14 He maketh peace [in] thy borders, [and] filleth thee with the finest of the wheat. 15 He sendeth forth his commandment [upon] earth: his word runneth very swiftly. 16 He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes. 17 He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold? 18 He sendeth out his word, and melteth them: he causeth his wind to blow, [and] the waters flow. 19 He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. 20 He hath not dealt so with any nation: and [as for his] judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD.
Psalm 147 is the 2nd of the 5 final psalms of the book of Psalms. These final 5 are called the Hallelujah psalms. Psalm 147 begins with an admonition of praise and an encouragement in song. Music is a very unique and powerful influence upon men. It is interesting that it was the lineage of Cain and not the lineage of godly Seth who were the first to craft and use musical instruments. In Psalm 147 we are called upon to sing songs UNTO God with thanksgiving. Every song is directed somewhere. Let your song be directed to God. It doesn’t matter whether you are talented or gifted. Part of the human make up responds to music and God wants us and is pleased when we take the spirit of song in our hearts and direct to toward His throne.
Psalm 147 gives 10 reasons for us to praise God:
1. Praise for it is good to praise Him (v.1)
2. Praise for it is pleasant to God that we praise Him.
3. Praise makes us comely and attractive in spirit to God.
4. Praise Him because of His great works
5. Praise Him because of His infinite knowledge and great power.
6. Praise Him because of His providence extended over our lives to our benefit.
7. Praise Him because of the value that He puts on us regardless of our weakness.
8. Praise Him because He blesses His people Israel and His people the church.
9. Praise Him because He has given us His word.
10. Praise Him because He has chosen us in Him before we could ever earn such a privilege.
Praise is the life and breath of the believer. God inhabits our praise. The presence of God becomes amplified in our midst as we offer up verbal and constant praise in words of adulation and in songs, hymns and spiritual psalms both in our private times and in corporate gatherings. The invitation of the psalms extended to all who love Him who died for us is that we correct our course of life to become characterized by praise.
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