The Lord Rules

Psalm 146

Last 5 psalms, one of several series of Hallel’s in the psalter. Each of these begins and ends with “Hallelujah!”

The praise of this psalm confines itself to life on earth. In Psalm 147, YHWH is praised for His help; in Psalm 148 the rejoicing takes on a cosmic (all the cosmos) character; in Psalm 149 the church does the singing, and the doxology of Psalm 150 is for “everything that has breath.”” Schultz

Taken together, serve as powerful reminder of what character of our lives should be. How many times have you heard or said: “I just want them to be happy”? Happiness is fleeting and elusive goal when pursued as a goal. Doesn’t mean we can’t be happy, does mean Declaration of Independence sets up wrong ideal: “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. When we pursue holiness and the One who makes us holy, happiness will be result. True happiness apart from God is impossible; with God at center, joy and happiness should/will be regular aspect of life.

Is right that consideration of worldview begins with theology: answering question “is there a God and what is God like?”. One answer (David Noebel): yes there is a God characterized by 3 R’s – relational, righteous, ruler. All three are essential… would not be happy place if any one were missing.

A. exhortation to praise v.1

directed to all (1a)

Heb. 10:24-25 “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

what better way to stir up and encourage one another than by exhorting to praise God – natural bent to focus on seen, not unseen

requires effort to maintain proper focus, often helped significantly by “outside” perspective – brother or sister who sees more clearly, in a better place themselves

get discouraged easily if you’re only one cheering at ball game; entirely different level of enthusiasm when whole stadium involved, mutually encouraging

directed to self (1b)

sometimes it’s ok to talk to self, especially when encouraging self to do what is pleasing to God

can intervene in area of personal need sooner than Christian brother – may be aware of need before someone else

you are often first to know that attitude starting to shift, zeal for God beginning to slacken, praise less than fully sincere

B. commitment to praise v.2

apparently talking to self had desired effect – quickly followed by strong commitment, could even be taken as a vow to praise

while I have life (2a)

since God is source of all life, is only right that his creatures should use that life to praise him; applies to all people w/o exception

Rom. 1:20 “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”

failure to praise God is sin against him; so also is praise that is insincere, not coming from heart filled with love

requires thought and attention to maintain attitude of purposeful praise – spontaneous praise perfectly acceptable but…

between bursts of praise, need to keep up continuous praise at some level w/o vain repetition – cannot do it mindlessly

while I have existence (2b)

certainly primary time in view is this life; don’t forget, our existence does not end at death… nature of it changes

same is true of our praise – will not end at death, but it will change: no longer hindered by anything associated with sin-tainted life

Isaac Watts: “I’ll praise my Maker with my breath. And when my voice is lost in death. Praise shall employ my nobler powers: My days of praise shall ne’er be past While life and thought and being last, And immortality endures.”

C. focus of praise v.3-5

not in government (3a)

increasingly difficult when government grows in influence, assumes authority rightly belonging to other institutions

not talking about emperor worship like ancient Rome, modern N Korea; where do you look for security, who do you trust to meet your needs

princes cannot be trusted to do what is right, cannot even be trusted to do what they promise – sadly, plenty of that in recent experience

should not be trusted to manage our money well, teach our children well, plan our future well, steward our planet well

not in neighbors (3b-4)

may be blessed to have good neighbors, family members, friends (even Christian brothers and sisters) who have been granted good helping of wisdom

no matter how great their understanding, noble their motives, they have finite perspective and resources

are limits to what they know, what they can do – life is short, when their life ends, so do their plans… and maybe our security

big picture: best human resource available is still human resource, dependent on God for all things just like we are

but in the God of Jacob (5)

must keep firmly in mind: is God who uses means like government and neighbors to provide for his people

when government does get it mostly right, remember is God still who deserves the praise

Prov. 21:1 “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.”

poster child: Cyrus, king of Persia – Ezra 1:1 “In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing:”

also the case with individuals we might receive help from: are tools God uses to meet our needs, God deserves praise

child of God must ultimately have confidence in Lord God – to do what is right using best means to deliver what is best at best time in best way

D. basis for praise v.6-10

God could, has exclusive right to, require obedience by fiat – because he says so, period; didn’t choose that way

gives ample evidence (not proof) of who he is, what he’s done, why he deserves obedience/worship/praise

creator (6a, 7a)

does it matter how we got here? isn’t it enough that we are here? not according to psalmist – significance begins with origins, doesn’t end there

“who made” = “who executes” = ‛âśâh: the One who brought about created order brings about justice for the oppressed

there is purpose and meaning because Creator has given it – blind forces of matter and evolution supply no significance

second, equally important: God the Creator appears hundreds of times in virtually every book of Bible; if no creation, then no part of Bible has credibility, authority

those who speak and write in Bible take as given that God created: no creation, they have no credibility

sustainer (6b, 9)

whatever God purposed at beginning, holds to that purpose forever – means he is attentive to needs of all his dependent creation

is ongoing work of Second Person of Trinity to “uphold all things by the word of his power” (Heb. 1:3) – comprehensively includes all creation, specifically directed to good of mankind and especially his people

provider (7b)

graciously uses circumstances of everyday life to remind of need to praise: “gives food to the hungry“, not the well-fed

liberator (7c)

God can and does at times free those unjustly imprisoned; is always work of God to free those imprisoned in sin – Isa. 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.”

healer (8a)

give lots of credit to physicians, procedures, prescriptions… rightly so; don’t forget real intelligence and power makes all possible

restorer (8b)

God doesn’t expect us to just suffer through this life; he lifts up discouraged, disheartened, overwhelmed, restoring their joy

lover (8c)

the kind of affection not merely declared, it is demonstrated – loves because he is love and it “colors” all he does

love sacrifices self in order to do what is necessary and best for other person – greatest demonstration in the incarnation

ruler (10)

by God’s design, there is supreme ruler over all – over rulers of this world as well as all creation; imagine chaos if that were not so

Is easy to get all exercised about the stuff of everyday life: on the news, appointment calendar, individual / family / church circumstances. Some of it we should get upset about – if it bothers God, it should bother us. All of it we need to view thru lens of Bible… that tells us who really is in charge, who it is we should / can safely trust. God rules wisely and well, gives us material with each breath to praise him.

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