PRAISE THE LORD! by Trish Reimer
The last five psalms in the Bible begin and end with the words: “Praise the Lord!” and psalm 149 is one of them. Verses 1-4 talk of the praise of God’s people and verses 5-9 talk of the power of God’s people.
Interpretation and Application:
Why do we go to church? Is it to meet with others or is it to worship God? Is it to praise Him? Is it to learn more of Him? Yes, it is all of those things and the psalmist here exhorts us to gather together to sing a new song to the Lord. We are afforded the pleasure of true praise by making music and dancing, although Adam Clarke disagreed with most translations that the Hebrew word here translated dance (mahol) means a flute or musical pipe, not a dance. “I know no place in the Bible where machol and machalath mean dance of any kind; they constantly signify some kind of pipe.” Be that as it may, I still believe the Lord delights in us dancing before Him! Verse 4 states that the Lord delights in His people. I’ve often wondered how God can do that. I can’t really explain how this can be, but Charles Spurgeon summed it up by saying: “What is there in us in which the Lord can take pleasure? Nothing, unless He has put it there. If He sees any beauty in us, it must be the reflection of His own face. Yet still the text says so, and therefore it must be true: ‘The Lord taketh pleasure in His people.’” I don’t know about you, but that really encourages me. I don’t often think of me being the reflection of God’s face!
Now we move to verses 5-6 where God’s people are making ready for conflict. Our praise is not restricted to assembling together. We can praise God anywhere – even when we are in our beds. I know that I have shared before that I often don’t sleep very well. It is in those times when I am awake for hours that I have my most meaningful prayer time. I have spent a lot of that time praising the Lord! We have 2 weapons at our disposal – the high praise of God (indicating our allegiance and surrender to God in every victory) and a two-edged sword. This sword can indicate a practical weapon but also in a spiritual sense a reliance on God’s Word which is described as a two-edged sword in Rev. 19:15. Hebrews 4:12 also tell us that the Word is sharper than a two-edged sword and Ephesians 6:19 refers to the Word as the sword of the Spirit. I’m sure you’ve all heard the phrase: “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!” Well, Psalm 149:6 has something of that idea. As God’s people we should both praise and preach God’s Word (a sharp handling of the sword of the Spirit).
Finally, in verses 7-9 we see the victory of God’s people. The power of praise and the Word of God will ultimately see God’s work accomplished among the nations. Those who disobey will receive punishment whether they are royalty, nobility or the common people. No one will escape judgment. We as His people will have the honour of setting right the wrongs of this present age, even if only as an audience to the righteous judgments of God as long as we continue to praise and obey His Word.
The psalm ends as it began – with praise (or hallelujah). Let us be encouraged that we have victory through obedience to Him and His Word!
Father, we praise Your name! A lifetime of praise would not be adequate to express our love and thanks. Help us to continue to give you praise and share Your Word. Amen.
Psalm 149 (Jason Silver)
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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.