PRAISE YE THE LORD, AND HERE’S WHY
Psalm 113 (NKJV)
The Majesty and Condescension of God
1 Praise the Lord!
Praise, O servants of the Lord,
Praise the name of the Lord!
2 Blessed be the name of the Lord
From this time forth and forevermore!
3 From the rising of the sun to its going down
The Lord’s name is to be praised.
4 The Lord is high above all nations,
His glory above the heavens.
5 Who is like the Lord our God,
Who dwells on high,
6 Who humbles Himself to behold
The things that are in the heavens and in the earth?
7 He raises the poor out of the dust,
And lifts the needy out of the ash heap,
8 That He may seat him with princes—
With the princes of His people.
9 He grants the barren woman a home,
Like a joyful mother of children.
Praise the Lord!
Psalms 113-118 comprise the first of what are known as the “Hallel Psalms”. The word “Hallel” simply means “To Praise.” This group of Psalms were sung throughout the year as part of the Jewish worship ritual. However, they took on special significance at Passover, since they reflected back to the Lord’s deliverance of the children of Israel from bandage in Egypt.
I think we can correctly assume that Jesus and His disciples sang these Psalms when they celebrated Passover just before Jesus Christ went to the cross.
The first three verses of this Psalm stand as a call and a challenge for the people of the Lord to be involved in His praise.
1. V. 1 The Plea to Praise God – We are called upon to lift our hearts and our voices in praise because of Who He is. By the way, this is not the only place in the Bible where we are commended to be a praising people, Heb. 13:15; Psa. 47:1; Psa. 135:1-3; Psalms 146-150.
2. V. 2a The Process Of Praise To God – The Psalmist gives us an example of praise offered to the Lord.
3. V. 2b-3 The Practice Of Praise To The Lord – The Psalmist tells us that God is to be praised “from this time forth and for evermore.” This is a hint of what we will be doing in Heaven, Rev. 4-5; 7. That refers to the duration of praise. It is to be eternally unceasing. Then, verse 3 tells us that every waking moment is to be spent in the praise of the Lord. In other words, praise is not supposed to be something we do when “the Spirit hits us.”
Praise is supposed to be something that we are engaged in at all times.
(Note: God’s praise is constant as the sun arcs its way across the heavens. As its course brings light to the world, praise is to be heaped on the Lord! Before we ever awoke this morning, God was being exalted in Europe, Africa and all over the world. After we retire tonight, the sun will still find people lifting the praises of Almighty God.)
In the remaining verses of this Psalm, we are given some reasons why we are to be involved in this matter of praise.
It is those reasons that I want to focus in on this evening as I preach on the subject Praise Ye The Lord, And Here’s Why.
Before I get into these verses, just let me encourage you a little in this matter of praising the Lord. Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to “do it” like anyone else “does it”. Certainly, praise is a matter of personality, and whether it involves shouting, crying, laughing, hand raising, dancing etc. It is pleasing to the Lord! Now, notice the reasons why we are to praise the Lord.
I. V. 4-6 BECAUSE OF HIS GLORY
A. V. 4 He Is Exalted – God is greater than all the glory of the nations. He is greater than all the glories of Heaven. When the nations are gone and the saints fill Heaven, that lofty place will ring with His praises, Rev. 4.
B. V. 5 He Is Exceptional – There is none like Him! Where is the Ball this evening? Where are the dead and forgotten gods of Egypt, Greece and Rome? Where are the deities of ancient Europe, that our ancestors bowed before? They are all gone away to ash heap of forgetfulness and history. One day it will be asked, where is Buddha? Where is Krishna? Where is Mohammed? They too, along with all other false deities and exalted persons will fade from memory. If all the greats of humanity were paraded across the stage of time, none of them could hold a candle to our great God.
(Note: It was said of Desiderius Erasmus, who gave us the Greek text from which we get our English Bible, that he was the “last man who knew everything.” Yet, Erasmus knew nothing of open heart surgery, of electricity, of computers, of ten thousands of things that we know well and even take for granted.) No, there is none like the Lord! He is beyond our comprehension!
C. V. 6 He Is Extraordinary – It is amazing that a God like ours would even condescend to look into the things that take place upon the earth. Yet, His eyes is on the sparrow and the very hairs of your heads are numbered! Surely, His glory is a constant theme for praise!
II. V. 7 BECAUSE OF HIS GRACE
A. The Grace Of His Reaching Down – It is unspoken but implied in this verse that God reaches down to us. If it is amazing that He should “look” upon the earth, how much more amazing that He would reach into the mess of this world to lift us out! But, even more amazing is the fact that He would move into this world to rescue us from our sins. Yet, this is just what He did, Phil. 2:5-8. Why? There was just one reason, Luke 19:10; Mark 10:45.
B. The Grace Of His Raising Up – The reference here is to those people who are forced to grovel in the dust of the earth to try and scratch a bare living. This reference to the “dust” is a biblical metaphor for poverty. Truly, the inhabitants of the earth are poor and needy. They cannot lift themselves out of their natural condition. That is why He came and died! He paid our price and will lift all who will believe in Him out of the dust of the earth and will set them in high places, 1 Pet. 1:18-19; Eph.. 2:6.
C. The Grace Of His Removing Out – The reference to the “dunghill” brings to mind the great trash dumps that burned continually outside cities in Biblical times. These were places where trash was burned, along with the bodies of criminals. Packs of wild dogs roamed these places looking for food. A trip to the “dunghill” would bring you into contact with all the social outcasts of the day. The lepers, the diseased, and the beggars would congregate there trying to stay warm in the fires that burned, hoping to find a morsel of food to prolong their wretched lives another day.
(Note: it is fitting that when our Lord spoke of Hell in the New Testament, that He often called it “gehenna”, Matt 5:29-30; 10:28. Gehenna was a reference to the “Valley of Hinnom” just outside that walls of Jerusalem. There, in ancient years, it had been a site where the Canaanite god “Chemosh” had been worshiped. His worship involved the sacrifice of children. The Israelites had destroyed the idols and desecrated the valley by turning it into a garbage dump, where fires burned continually and the most wretched of humans lived. It was a fitting picture of Hell.)
Just as He removes the “needy from the dunghill”, so He removes the saint of God from the scrapheap of life and from the future torment of Hell.
(Ill. Many of us were found in “the junkyard of humanity”, but we have been salvaged by a gracious and merciful God!)
(Note: He changed our Description – Eph. 2:1-10; and He changed our Destiny – Heaven and not Hell!)
(His Glory and His Grace make His worthy of praise!)
III. V. 8-9 BECAUSE OF HIS GREATNESS
A. V. 8 He Cancels Our Pasts – He takes the worst of humanity and uses them greatly. He took Gideon from the threshing floor; Saul from following the donkeys; David from leading he sheep; the Apostles from the fish; us from our deadness in sin. He takes us like He finds us and then He transforms us into a trophy of His grace, Eph. 2:10.
(Note: He doesn’t lift us out half way and then leave us to finish the job. He changes us all the way, 2 Cor 5:17. Amen!)
B. V. 9 He Conquers Our Problems – Here, the image of a childless woman is used to illustrate despair and distress. Certainly, the Bible is filled with this image. But, we are also shown in the Word of God how the Lord took some ladies who were barren, opened their wombs and blessed them with children, Sarah, Rachel, Hannah, etc.
(Note: He can take the barrenness of our lives, that has been caused by sin and He can cause us to bring forth fruit for His glory. John 15:5. A wicked life is barren, but a life touched by the Lord is fruitful and glorious!)
(Note: The fact that He would lift us up out of our wretched condition and then use us for His glory is a wonderful thing!)
(His Glory, His Grace and His Goodness make Him worthy of our praise!)
Would you agree with the Psalmist that the Lord is worthy of our praise? I think we all would.
Now, is He getting the praise He deserves from your life?
May we all determine in our hearts that we will praise Him with our lips, our lives and with the labor of our hands.
He is worthy and He deserves all the praise we can give Him! Let’s get busy and praise His Holy name!
Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!