Text: Psalm 146
Observe: This week, our daily bloggers are delving deep into 1 Corinthians, and I covered 1st & 2nd Corinthians in my sermon this past Sunday as we explored the application of Paul’s letters to both the early church in Corinth and to ourselves. So for a change of pace, today I will share my thoughts on the Psalm of the day, Psalm 146. For those you who haven’t read it yet, I am including it here for you.
1 Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord, my soul.
2 I will praise the Lord all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
3 Do not put your trust in princes,
in human beings, who cannot save.
4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
on that very day their plans come to nothing.
5 Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their God.
6 He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them--
he remains faithful forever.
7 He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
8 the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the foreigner
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
10 The Lord reigns forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord.
Interpret: Psalm 146 is a song of hope in the Lord God Almighty. It starts and ends with “Praise the Lord”. You can almost hear the “Alleluia!” as you read the words. Like David, our praise to God reaches down to the depths of our soul. This is not just a simple acknowledgment of praise for God, but rather one that encompasses our whole being.
The theme running through it is that only God is worthy of our trust because He is always, and in all ways, faithful. Not even the most powerful and influential people of our time are worthy of our trust, and the reason is simple. All people, regardless of their station in life, are transitory. We exist for a time, and then we die. We all return to the earth from which we were created. Our rulers, like us, are mere mortals; on the day they die, all of their plans die with them. The psalmist reminds us that governments, kings and queens, social activists and influencers, and all the rest exist for only a short while, but God reigns forever. And therein lies our hope.
Let me borrow from Elizabeth Barret Browning’s Sonnet 43.
How do we trust in the Lord? Let me count the ways. He is our help in times of need. He created the heavens and the earth. He created the seas and everything that is in them. He remains faithful forever. He brings justice for the downtrodden. He gives food to the hungry. He sets the captives free. He gives sight to the blind. He lifts up those who are in despair. He loves the righteous. He protects the travellers. He upholds the widow and the orphans. He brings defeat to the wicked. He reigns forever.
It may not rhyme, but you get the idea.
Application: God is an equal opportunity savior, but He can only help those who turn to Him for help. We must acknowledge who He is, and place all our trust in Him, not in ourselves or other people. That is what our prayer time is all about. It acknowledges and demonstrates our need for, and our trust in, Him. We must seek His help for all our needs. But, the psalmist does include a bit of a warning towards the end of the psalm. He says, "The Lord loves the righteous, but frustrates the ways of the wicked." God may be an equal opportunity savior, but not everyone turns to Him for help. There comes a time when our chosen paths clearly show the wisdom of our choices. Do we trust in people, or do we trust in God. Sooner or later our choices reveal their fruit. As the psalmist says, "Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob."
Questions: Are you able to set aside your reliance on people, including yourself, and rely on God? Does that scare you? Or does it bring you peace?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us set aside our unreasonable expectations of others. We are all just frail human beings. There are none so wise, none so compassionate, and none so loving as you. You are our fortress and strong tower against all adversity. On you we rely for all our needs, our comfort, and our salvation. Amen.
Song: Great is Thy Faithfulness – Chris Rice
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In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.