Psalm 147 is full of poetic imagery, especially concerning creation. Aside from the mind-boggling fact that God ‘determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.’ (Ps 147:4, see also Is 40:26) – something scientists have not yet managed to do, despite modern technology estimating there are at least 1022 stars (that’s 10 with 22 noughts after it!) – the psalm talks about God as controller of the weather (a relief to know in these days of fears over climate change) and spreading snow like wool and scattering frost like ashes, hurling down hail like pebbles (Ps 147:16-17). Such poetic imagery, a common feature of the Psalms, helps us to see God’s awesome power in new ways.

At the end of this description, we read ‘he sends his word and melts them.’ (Ps 147:18) The Message version of Psalm 19 – another great creation psalm which goes on to talk of God’s word – says ‘That’s how God’s Word vaults across the skies from sunrise to sunset, melting ice, scorching deserts, warming hearts to faith.’ So often, we face implacable situations: circumstances which are like rock or iron or ice, completely impervious to anything we can do. In those situations, we need to bring the mighty hammer of God’s word (Jer 23:29); we need to allow God’s word to melt our enemies and turn situations around. We cannot do it. But God can. The methods that He chooses are up to Him, but the psalm reminds us that God is able to work sovereignly in all situations.