Read: Psalm 147:1; Exodus 15:1 – 18, 21; Judges 5:1 – 31
Psalm 147 was probably written during the exile. The Jews had suffered the loss of their city and their Temple and were sorely distressed. The best response they could make to their loss was a “hymn to the Lord,” because praise is beautiful. A 19th century Jewish commentator (Malbim) distinguished between “praise” and “hymn.” Praise is our response to God’s ordinary kindness in maintaining the world. When life proceeds normally and pleasantly, it is fitting for us to praise God. A hymn is an extraordinary song composed when God treats us with extraordinary kindness.
Think About It: For what ordinary kindnesses can I praise the Lord today? How have I experienced the Lord’s extraordinary kindness? What are some practical ways I can engage in praising the Lord?
Prayer: Praise God for His ordinary and His extraordinary kindness.
Read: Psalm 147:2; Jeremiah 29:10; Matthew 16:18; Titus 2:13; Luke 14:21 – 23;
1 Corinthians 1:26 – 31
The Lord encourages His people by building up Jerusalem. Even while the Jews were still in exile, the Lord was already preparing for their return to Jerusalem and its eventual rebuilding. Psalm 147 calls for praise to God for what He promised to do as if it were an accomplished fact.
Think About It: The Jews in exile lived in the hope of return and rebuilding. What is the hope of the Christian? Psalm 147:2 calls God’s people “outcasts.” How are those who are gathered into Christ’s kingdom described in Luke 14:21 – 23 and 1 Corinthians 1:26 -31? Why is it important that we see ourselves in these terms?
Prayer: Praise God that He fulfills His promises.
Read: Psalm 147:3; Ezra 7:10; Psalm 34:18; 51:17; Isaiah 40:26; Genesis 15:5
The Lord encourages His people by healing the broken-hearted and binding up their wounds. Even the Jews who returned from exile were broken–hearted because their city and Temple were in ruins. The Lord encouraged them through the ministry of the Word of God through Ezra. The Lord also encourages His people by condescending in His inconceivably vast knowledge and power to lift up the humble, while casting the wicked down.
Think About It: God’s work in healing the broken-hearted suggests He wants us to have whole hearts. How can this desire be reconciled with Psalm 34:18 and Psalm 51:17? What does it mean to come to God with a broken heart? Given the fact that God numbers and names all the stars, will He ever lose track of me and my problems (Luke 12:6 – 7)?
Prayer: Praise the Lord that He heals my broken heart and binds up my wounds.
Read: Psalm 147:7 – 11; Psalm 104:13 – 14; Psalm 136:25
The exhortation to praise God on the lyre means to praise Him in the most perfect way possible, since the lyre was a costly instrument and required mastery of skill to play. The Lord encourages His people through His providential care. Ravens mate for life, both parents incubate the eggs and strive to feed their young from the moment they hatch. God’s providence for ravens is in His design of faithful parents who instinctively care for their young. God provides for His creatures through His careful design of His creation.
Think About It: What are some of the ways in which I have experienced God’s providential care as one of the creatures of His creation? Do I remember to praise God for His providential care?
Prayer: Praise the Lord for His providence!
Read: Psalm 147:10 – 11; Amos 2:14 – 16; Lamentations 3:22 – 23; Matthew 6:30 – 33
God makes special provision for those people in whom he delights. God does not delight in those who put their trust in horses or their own legs. The mention of “horses” and “men’s legs” are military references. The horse was a weapon of war; the soldier’s legs represented his ability to control a horse while fighting with his arms, and also referred to the “fight or flight” abilities of the foot soldier. Those who trust in their ability to deliver themselves cannot expect God’s special provision.
Think About It: How might Psalm 147:10 be expressed in 21st–century terminology? How have I experienced God’s special provision (spiritually and materially)?
Prayer: Praise God for His special provision!
Read: Psalm 147:13 – 18; Isaiah 60:11; Ephesians 4:1 – 3; Mark 4:39; Hebrews 12:3 – 13
God’s people are to praise Him for His strengthening grace. God strengthens His people with protection, peace and prosperity. Wheat was a symbol of prosperity, and also peace, because an abundance of wheat eliminated conflict over limited resources. The Lord also strengthens His people by using His sovereign power over the forces of nature to both bless and discipline them.
Think About It: How do snow and ice symbolize God’s power to both bless and discipline? How is God’s discipline ultimately a blessing? How might I experience God’s discipline? Why should I be encouraged by God’s discipline? How should I respond to God’s discipline?
Prayer: Praise God for His protection and for His discipline.
Read: Psalm 147:19 – 20; Isaiah 55:8 – 9; Deuteronomy 4:32 – 33; 1 Peter 1:23
The Lord gave His Word to put man’s unstable nature under control. Jewish commentators assert that God’s judgments are the commands of God which appear to men as rational. God’s statutes are His decrees which appear to human logic to be arbitrary, because the ways and thoughts of God are high above our own. God’s gift of His Word to His people makes them unique. Godless men form their laws and judgments based on their needs and desires; God governs His people according to revelation.
Think About It: Why does Psalm 147:19 refer to God declaring His word to Jacob? Why not to Moses, or Abraham, or David? What does the Gospel add to the revelation of God’s statutes and rules (Galatians 5:16 – 25)?
Prayer: Praise God for His Word and the power of His indwelling Holy Spirit!