One Terrific Little Psalm

Posted on January 2, 2020

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By David Ettinger

The Psalm Universe
In that wonderful universe of the biblical Psalms, we certainly have our “biggies.” For primarily theological reasons, these include Psalms 2, 22, and 110. We also have the “heavies,” those dealing with guilt and sin. Central among these is Psalm 51, with other worthy candidates being Psalms 6, 38, and 130. We also have the dark “imprecatory” Psalms, those in which curses are pronounced on enemies. These include Psalms 35, 83, 109, and 140.

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And, of course, there are just the flat-out long ones. These include Psalms 78, 89, 18, and the longest chapter in the Bible, Psalm 119. There are also a host of small Psalms which fall into various categories, but because they are brief, they hardly get noticed. However, one of these little psalms recently caught my attention. It is Psalm 113, and as far as I’m concerned, it is one terrific, little psalm!

Verses 1-3: Praising the Lord
Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, you his servants; praise the name of the Lord. Let the name of the Lord be praised, both now and forevermore. From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised.

What I love about this brisk start is that the command to praise God issues forth without compromise or explanation. The assumption is that God is who He is, and this alone is cause for praise. Of course, the admonition to praise the Lord is not directed at just anyone, but at “his servants,” those who know Him, love Him, adore Him, and serve Him. Praise and adoration are God’s rights, and He expects those who are His to thankfully and joyfully render it unto Him.

Furthermore, we are told that praising God is to be our occupation for eternity. From the moment He brought us into a relationship with Him, we were to praise and adore Him. And we’re never to stop – in both this life and the next! We are to engage in a lifestyle of praise and worship, with the Lord at all time being at the summit of our thoughts.

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Eternal praise includes daily praise, as we are to do so “From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets” – from sunup to sundown. This does not mean we must spend every moment of every day praising God; this is impossible. However, we are to place God at the center of our existence, acknowledging and remembering him throughout every day, regardless of how busy or stressful it is.

Verses 4-6: The Majesty of the Lord
The Lord is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?

This truly is a majestic passage as we are reminded of God’s glory and power. What are the most powerful entities you can think of? Governments? Nations? Armies? Guess what, God is far mightier than all the nations of the earth combined. In fact, He reigns over them, and even scoffs at them (Psalm 2:4).

God dwarfs the earth by His majesty, but surely He has met His match in Heaven itself. After all, the greatest of human minds cannot make a dent in comprehending the vastness and magnitude of the heavens. Surely even God looks at the heavenlies with awe. Not so! Not only does God not marvel at the vast infinitude of the “great beyond,” but He must “stoop down” to even view them. No, God doesn’t actually stoop; this is an example of hyperbole (exaggerated language to demonstrate a point). The picture, however, is clear: as vast and mighty as the heavens are, they are but as anthills to God, so much mightier is He than are they.

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Verses 7-9: The Blessings of the Lord
He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes, with the princes of his people. He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord.

Despite God’s might and majesty, He is still a lover of men and women, and is not too “big” to care intensely about we “little ones” here on planet Earth. Therefore, He raises us spiritually from the “ash heap” – the eternal death sentence of sin – and gives us eternal life with Him in Heaven, where we will be equal to the “princes” of this life. In blissful eternity – made possible by the shed blood of Jesus Christ – we will take our place among the princes of the faith: Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Isaiah, and Jeremiah, and so many more who have been lifted from the ash heap. We will worship our King side-by-side for eternity.

The “childless woman” – a metaphor for spiritual condemnation – will become the “mother of children.” Before we came to Christ, we were spiritually barren – bereft of God and damned. But after bowing the knee to Christ, we are blessed with the fruit of salvation, our spiritual barrenness banished forever.

Between the recognition of God’s majesty and the gratitude we feel from all He has done for us, how can we not “Praise the Lord”!

Ah, Psalm 113. Now that’s one terrific, little psalm!