The second of our last ‘Hallelujah Psalms’ (Psalm 147) focuses on God’s goodness as seen in His grace and in His greatness over all creation. It is reminiscent of other psalms which focus on God’s creation (talking of God naming and numbering the stars, covering the sky with clouds and sending rain to provide grass and providing food for animals, being in control of the weather and so on), but also homes in on ways in which God demonstrates His loving care for people as well. Probably written after the exile, the psalm reminds us that God builds up Jerusalem and gathers the exiles (see Neh 12:27-43), showing us a picture of a tender-hearted God who heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds. (Ps 147:3, Ps 34:18, Is 42:2-3)
The reasons the psalmist gives to praise God (a call repeated three times in the psalm, not including the opening and closing ‘Hallelujah’) are manifold. These include a robust acknowledgment of His greatness and power (Ps 147:5, Ps 104:1), His limitless understanding (especially compared to our limited understanding!) (Ps 147:5, Job 37:5, Is 55:8-9) and His ability to lift the lowly and reduce the wicked to their rightful place. (Ps 147:6) It’s always good to remind ourselves of who God is and the fact that He is at the centre of the universe, not us!
God is able to bless, sustain, satisfy and bring peace to the earth (Ps 147:13-15). He is able to provide for His creation (Ps 147:9). One of the chief ways He does this is through His word, revealed to us. It is this which set Israel apart from other nations (Ps 147:19-20) and it is this which sets us apart today. God is a living, speaking God whose word ‘runs swiftly’ (Ps 147:15) and who speaks still today. (John 10:3, Heb 1:2) That’s reason enough to praise!