Psalm 113:1 PRAISE the LORD! (Hallelujah!) PRAISE, O servants of the LORD. PRAISE the NAME of the LORD. (Servants: Ps 33:1,2 103:20,21 134:1 135:1-3,20 145:10 Eph 5:19,20 Rev 19:5)
Before you read the notes, pause for a moment of worship of the Most High God. First, confess all known and unknown (unintentional) sin, ask for the Spirit's illuminating teaching, read the first three verses of Psalm 113, and then softly sing praises to the only One to Whom praise is due! Click the song below - it's only about 2 minutes but is well worth the time invested...
I SING PRAISES TO YOUR NAME
I sing praises to Your Name O LORD
praises to Your Name O LORD
For Your Name is great and greatly to be praised.
Alexander Maclaren rightly calls this psalm a "pure burst of praise!" (The Expositor's Bible)
A CONCISE MANUAL
Who should worship (Ps 113:1). “Servants of the Lord” includes all of God’s people, for those who have trusted Him surely would want to live for Him. When we worship (Ps 113:2). Start right now and keep on going! It is always time to praise the Lord. Make every breath a hymn of worship.
Where we worship (Ps 113:3). His name should be praised from east to west, all day long, no matter where we are. If you find yourself in a place where you cannot praise the Lord, maybe you do not belong there.
Why we worship (Ps 113:4–9). Because of who God is (Ps 113:4–6) and what God does (Ps 113:7–9). The better you know God, the more you will worship Him. The more you experience His grace in daily life, the more praise you will bring to Him.
If you have a problem praising the Lord from sunup to sundown, what will you do for all eternity? Mary’s joyful song of praise (Luke 1:46–55) echoes Psalm 113:7–9. God’s grace makes kings out of beggars and joyful mothers out of the barren. Praise the Lord! (With the Word)
Psalm 113 is the first of the “Hallel” psalms which were sung at the three Feasts of the Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. These were the feasts that Jewish males were required to attend annually in Jerusalem (Ex 34:23, Dt 16:16 - note Feast of Unleavened Bread often used as a synonym for Passover = Lk 22:1). At the Passover Feast Psalms 113 and 114 were sung before the meal and Psalms 115-118 after the Passover mean.
John Phillips outlines Psalm 113, which he entitles "Hallelujah!" Notice this psalm divides nicely into 3 stanzas of 3 verses each.
The Lord Demands Praise (Ps 113:1-3)
His Rightful Claim (Ps 113:1a, b)
His Royal Name (Ps 113:1-2)
His Resounding Fame (Ps 113:3)
The Lord Desires Praise (Ps 113:4-6)
His Glory (Ps 113:4)
His Greatness (Ps 113:5)
His Grace (Ps 113:6)
The Lord Deserves Praise (Ps 113:7-9)
A. His Kindness to the Downtrodden (Ps 113:7-8)
He brings them:
1. Up from the Pit (Ps 113:7)
2. Into the Palace (Ps 113:8)
B. His Kindness to the Distressed (Ps 113:9)
William Barrick's outline...
I. The Lord’s Great Name (Ps 113:1-3)
II. The Lord’s Grand Majesty (Ps 113:4-6)
III. The Lord’s Gracious Mercy (Ps 113:7-9)
J J Steward Perowne
The Psalm may be said to be a connecting link between the Song of Hannah and the Magnificat of the Virgin.
It may be viewed as consisting of three strophes,
1. The first exhorts to the praise of Jehovah as the one great object of praise. Ps 113:1–3.
2. The second sets forth His greatness. Ps 113:4–6.
3. The third magnifies His condescension. Ps 113:7–9.
The second and third of these divisions, however, are closely connected, and, in fact, run into one another. (The book of Psalms - a new translation, with explanatory notes)
Joseph Alexander summarizes Psalm 113
THE Psalmist celebrates the majesty of God, Ps 113:1-5, in contrast with his gracious condescension to his suffering creatures, Ps 113: 6-9. (Commentary on Psalms)
The general underlying thought is a noteworthy one. The worshipper is to be like his God. So it is in idolatry; so it should be with us. Worship is, or should be, adoration of and yearning after the highest conceivable good. Such an attitude must necessarily lead to imitation, and be crowned by resemblance. Love makes like, and they who worship God are bound to, and certainly will, in proportion to the ardor and sincerity of their devotion, grow like Him whom they adore. (The Expositor's Bible)
See Also Excursus - Praise His Holy Name
Matthew Henry -
The invitation is very pressing: praise you the LORD, and again and again, Praise Him, praise Him (Ps 113:1); blessed be His Name, for it is to be praised. This intimates, (1.) That it is a necessary and most excellent duty, greatly pleasing to God, and has a large room in religion. (2.) That it is a duty we should much abound in, in which we should be frequently employed and greatly enlarged. (3.) That it is work which we are very backward to, and which we need to be engaged and excited to by precept upon precept and line upon line. (4.) That those who are much in praising God themselves will court others to it, both because they find the weight of the work, and that there is need of all the help they can fetch in (there is employment for all hearts, all hands, and all little enough), and because they find the pleasure of it, which they wish all their friends may share in.
Earnestness and zeal are denoted by the emphatic repetitions (Praise x3)...
Praise in this passage is a command, not a suggestion. In the Septuagint (Lxx) it is in the present imperative calling for a habitual practice. A lifestyle of Praise is our privilege as believers and should be our daily passion. When we practice the discipline of praise (the "uplook"), it is guaranteed to change our "outlook." (as the Spirit transforms us from glory to glory - 2Cor 3:18-note). The command to praise God is found throughout Scripture and provides the opportunity to work out our salvation (by practicing the discipline of praise) in fear and trembling, but realizing that the only way to accomplish this supernatural privilege is because God is in us (His Spirit indwells every believer - Ro 8:9-note, 1Cor 6:19-note), continually giving us the desire (to praise) and the power (to praise) and in so doing to conduct ourselves in a manner which is pleasing to the Father. (Read Phil 2:12-note, Phil 2:13NLT-note)
Ps 33:1 Sing for joy in the LORD, O you righteous ones;
Praise is becoming to the upright
(upright in heart, in right standing with God by grace through faith).
Praise the LORD - Psalm 113 begins and ends with the Hebrew phrase "Hallelujah (word study)!" This great phrase occurs 43x in 40v in NAS - Gen. 29:35; 1 Chr. 16:4; 23:30; 2 Chr. 20:19; Ezra 3:10; Ps. 22:26; 102:18; 104:35; 105:45; 106:1, 48; 111:1; 112:1; 113:1, 9; 115:17f; 116:19; 117:1f; 135:1, 3, 21; 146:1f, 10; 147:1, 12, 20; 148:1, 7, 14; 149:1, 9; 150:1, 6; Isa. 12:5; 62:9; Jer. 20:13; Rom. 15:11
Play this old song Praise the Lord.
Praise the Name of the LORD - 5x in 5v in NAS - Ps 113:1, 135:1, 148:5, 148:13, Joel 2:26.
Hem your blessings with praise,
Lest they unravel!
Praise ye the LORD, or Hallelujah, praise to JAH Jehovah. Praise is an essential offering at all the solemn feasts of the people of God. Prayer is the myrrh, and praise is the frankincense, and both of these must be presented unto the Lord. How can we pray for mercy for the future if we do not bless God for his love in the past? The Lord hath wrought all good things for us, let us therefore adore him. All other praise is to be excluded, the entire devotion of the soul must be poured out unto Jehovah only. (Treasury of David—Psalm 113)
Warren Wiersbe entitles his comments on Psalm 113 "The Responsibility of Praise" writing
God has attached responsibility to your privilege of praising Him.
Ps 113:2-3 tell us that we have some responsibilities. First, we are to praise God. It's tragic when we forget to praise the Lord. Someone has said that he feels sorry for atheists and agnostics because when they want to be thankful, they have no one to talk to. How can a person really enjoy a beautiful sunrise or a sunset, a beautiful spring day or even a beautiful winter day, if he can't thank the One who creates these things? God deserves our praise, for He does so much for us.
The psalmist also tells us to praise God all day long, "from the rising of the sun to its going down" (v. 3). Praise Him when you have to get up in the morning. Praise Him when you're tired at the end of the day. Praise Him during the day for the good things that happen and for the difficult things. Give Him thanks for seeing you through every situation.
We also should praise Him all over the world--as suggested by the psalmist's reference to the daily journey of the sun from the east to the west. What are we doing about those who do not know the Lord, the many who have never heard about Jesus Christ and His salvation? Let's begin by witnessing right where we are. Let's pray and give. Missionaries need our support. Perhaps God wants you to go and carry the Gospel message overseas.
You never run out of reasons to praise the Lord. Your praise to Him should encompass the whole day and the whole world. Is praise part of your daily walk with the Lord? (Back to the Bible)
Andrew Bonar exhorts us...
We should be always wearing the garment of praise (Isa 61:3KJV), not just waving a palm-branch now and then.
Praise (01984)(halal - word study) means to be "sincerely and deeply thankful for and/or satisfied in lauding a superior quality(ies) or great, great act(s) of the object." (TWOT) To praise, celebrate, glory, sing (praise), boast. Extol the excellence and greatness of someone or something. Halal can be used of praise of people (2Chr 23:12, 2Sa 14:25), most of the uses reflect praise to God. Halal is the root verb in the universally known word "Hallelujah" (Praise the LORD). Most uses of halal relate to praise to God and as alluded to in the discussion above most uses are an imperative summons to praise. Indeed, praise to God is not an optional afterthought, but a believer's present, pleasurable duty.
Hallel is the name given by the Talmud to Psalm 113-118 which were to be sung on the great feasts days of Israel, and especially on the Passover celebration, where Ps 113-114 are sung before the meal and Ps 115-118 at the close. When Christ instituted the Lord's Supper in conjunction with the celebration of the Feast of the Passover, Mt 26:30 and Mk 14:26 mention the singing of a hymn at the close of the meal which in all probability was one of the "hallel" psalms.
Halal - 140 verses in KJV. Note that 76 of 140 passages are in the Psalms. - Gen 12:15; Judg 16:24; 1 Sam 21:13; 2 Sam 14:25; 22:4; 1 Kgs 20:11; 1 Chr 16:4, 10, 25, 36; 23:5, 30; 25:3; 29:13; 2 Chr 5:13; 7:6; 8:14; 20:19, 21; 23:12f; 29:30; 30:21; 31:2; Ezra 3:10f; Neh 5:13; 12:24; Job 12:17; 29:3; 31:26; 41:18; Ps 5:5; 10:3; 18:3; 22:22f, 26; 34:2; 35:18; 44:8; 48:1; 49:6; 52:1; 56:4, 10; 63:5, 11; 64:10; 69:30, 34; 73:3; 74:21; 75:4; 78:63; 84:4; 96:4; 97:7; 102:8, 18; 104:35; 105:3, 45; 106:1, 5, 48; 107:32; 109:30; 111:1; 112:1; 113:1, 3, 9; 115:17f; 116:19; 117:1f; 119:164, 175; 135:1, 3, 21; 145:2f; 146:1f, 10; 147:1, 12, 20; 148:1ff, 7, 13f; 149:1, 3, 9; 150:1ff; Prov 12:8; 20:14; 25:14; 27:1f; 28:4; 31:28, 30f; Eccl 2:2; 7:7; Song 6:9; Isa 13:10; 38:18; 41:16; 44:25; 45:25; 62:9; 64:11; Jer 4:2; 9:23f; 20:13; 25:16; 31:7; 46:9; 49:4; 50:38; 51:7; Ezek 26:17; Joel 2:26; Nah 2:4.
The KJV translates Halal - praise 117, glory 14, boast 10, mad 8, shine 3, foolish 3, fools 2, commended 2, rage 2, celebrate 1, give 1, marriage 1, renowned 1; 165
The Name - Not just a title, but that which includes all that He is - character, attributes, reputation, etc. "His name and His character are inseparable; utter His name, and there instantly rise to our thought the attributes which distinguish Him; to sing of His Name is not to praise an imaginary or ideal one, but the very Lord God Himself." (Pulpit Commentary)
D A Carson
(Mention of God's) NAME teaches that praise responds to revelation, and SERVANTS that praise is rooted in commitment of life. (New Bible Commentary)
Jehovah (see study) - The eternal "I Am," the name that emphasizes His covenant keeping character, One Who has a special relationship with His people. Do you know Him as your Jehovah? Jesus said...
And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast sent. (John 17:3)
Servants (05650)('ebed from 'abad = work in any sense) means a slave or bondservant. Slavery in Israel amounted to indentured servitude. A fellow Israelite could not be held indefinitely against his will. In fact, his time of service was limited to 6 yr (Ex 21:2). The master could be punished if evil intent against the slave was proven (Ex 21:14) or if the slave died (Ex 21:20). These types of servants held a position of honor (Ge 24:2ff; 41:12, 15:2).
Most probably the term עבדי, “servants,” refers to the whole cultic assembly rather than to Levitical singers, in view of the amplification of the similar Ps 135:1 in 135:19–20....How can God be praised enough? To worship adequately would take the rest of time and the concerted tongues of all creatures on earth. No less response in time or space is worthy of God. (Word Biblical Commentary)
This word is also a humble way of referring to one’s self when speaking with another of equal or superior rank (Gen. 33:5). The term is also applied to those who worship God (Neh. 1:10); and to those who minister or serve Him (Isa. 49:5, 6). The phrase, the servant of the Lord, is the most outstanding reference to the Messiah in the Old Testament, and its teachings are concentrated at the end of Isaiah (Isa. 42:1, 19; 43:10; 49:3, 5–7; 52:13; 53:11).
'Ebed - 711x in NAS - Gen. 9:25ff; 12:16; 14:15; 18:3, 5; 19:2, 19; 20:8, 14; 21:25; 24:2, 5, 9f, 14, 17, 34f, 52f, 59, 61, 65f; 26:15, 19, 24f, 32; 27:37; 30:43; 32:4f, 10, 16, 18, 20; 33:5, 14; 39:17, 19; 40:20; 41:10, 12, 37f; 42:10f, 13; 43:18, 28; 44:7, 9f, 16ff, 21, 23f, 27, 30ff; 45:16; 46:34; 47:3f, 19, 25; 50:2, 7, 17f; Exod. 4:10; 5:15f, 21; 7:10, 20; 8:3f, 9, 11, 21, 24, 29, 31; 9:14, 20f, 30, 34; 10:1, 6f; 11:3, 8; 12:30, 44; 13:3, 14; 14:5, 31; 20:2, 10, 17; 21:2, 5, 7, 20, 26f, 32; 32:13; Lev. 25:6, 39, 42, 44, 55; 26:13; Num. 11:11; 12:7f; 14:24; 22:18; 31:49; 32:4f, 25, 27, 31; Deut. 3:24; 5:6, 14f, 21; 6:12, 21; 7:8; 8:14; 9:27; 12:12, 18; 13:5, 10; 15:15, 17; 16:11f, 14; 23:15; 24:18, 22; 28:68; 29:2; 32:36, 43; 34:5, 11; Jos. 1:1f, 7, 13, 15; 5:14; 8:31, 33; 9:8f, 11, 23f; 10:6; 11:12, 15; 12:6; 13:8; 14:7; 18:7; 22:2, 4f; 24:17, 29; Jdg. 2:8; 3:24; 6:8, 27; 15:18; 19:19; 1 Sam. 3:9f; 8:14ff; 12:19; 16:15ff; 17:8f, 32, 34, 36, 58; 18:5, 22ff, 26, 30; 19:1, 4; 20:7f; 21:7, 11, 14; 22:6ff, 14f, 17; 23:10f; 25:8, 10, 39ff; 26:18f; 27:5, 12; 28:2, 7, 23, 25; 29:3, 8, 10; 30:13; 2 Sam. 2:12f, 15, 17, 30f; 3:18, 22, 38; 6:20; 7:5, 8, 19ff, 25ff; 8:2, 6f, 14; 9:2, 6, 8, 10ff; 10:2ff, 19; 11:1, 9, 11, 13, 17, 21, 24; 12:18f, 21; 13:24, 31, 35f; 14:19f, 22, 30f; 15:2, 8, 14f, 18, 21, 34; 16:6, 11; 17:20; 18:7, 9, 29; 19:5ff, 14, 17, 19f, 26ff, 35ff; 20:6; 21:15, 22; 24:10, 20f; 1 Ki. 1:2, 9, 19, 26f, 33, 47, 51; 2:38ff; 3:6ff, 15; 5:1, 6, 9; 8:23ff, 28ff, 32, 36, 52f, 56, 59, 66; 9:22, 27; 10:5, 8, 13; 11:11, 13, 17, 26, 32, 34, 36, 38; 12:7; 14:8, 18; 15:18, 29; 16:9; 18:9, 12, 36; 20:6, 9, 12, 23, 31f, 39f; 22:3, 49; 2 Ki. 1:13; 2:16; 3:11; 4:1; 5:6, 13, 15, 17f, 25f; 6:3, 8, 11f; 7:12f; 8:13, 19; 9:7, 11, 28, 36; 10:5, 10, 23; 12:20f; 14:5, 25; 16:7; 17:3, 13, 23; 18:12, 24, 26; 19:5, 34; 20:6; 21:8, 10, 23; 22:9, 12; 23:30; 24:1f, 10ff; 25:8, 24; 1 Chr. 2:34f; 6:49; 16:13; 17:4, 7, 17ff, 23ff; 18:2, 6f, 13; 19:2ff, 19; 20:8; 21:3, 8; 2 Chr. 1:3; 2:8, 10, 15; 6:14ff, 19ff, 23, 27, 42; 8:9, 18; 9:4, 7, 10, 12, 21; 10:7; 12:8; 13:6; 24:6, 9, 25; 25:3; 28:10; 32:9, 16; 33:24; 34:16, 20; 35:23f; 36:20; Ezr. 2:55, 58, 65; 9:9, 11; Neh. 1:6ff, 10f; 2:5, 10, 19f; 5:5; 7:57, 60, 67; 9:10, 14, 36; 10:29; 11:3; Est. 1:3; 2:18; 3:2f; 4:11; 5:11; 7:4; Job 1:8; 2:3; 3:19; 4:18; 7:2; 19:16; 31:13; 41:4; 42:7f; Ps. 19:11, 13; 27:9; 31:16; 34:22; 35:27; 69:17, 36; 78:70; 79:2, 10; 86:2, 4, 16; 89:3, 20, 39, 50; 90:13, 16; 102:14, 28; 105:6, 17, 25f, 42; 109:28; 113:1; 116:16; 119:17, 23, 38, 49, 65, 76, 84, 91, 122, 124f, 135, 140, 176; 123:2; 132:10; 134:1; 135:1, 9, 14; 136:22; 143:2, 12; 144:10; Prov. 11:29; 12:9; 14:35; 17:2; 19:10; 22:7; 29:19, 21; 30:10, 22; Eccl. 2:7; 7:21; 10:7; Isa. 14:2; 20:3; 22:20; 24:2; 36:9, 11; 37:5, 24, 35; 41:8f; 42:1, 19; 43:10; 44:1f, 21, 26; 45:4; 48:20; 49:3, 5ff; 50:10; 52:13; 53:11; 54:17; 56:6; 63:17; 65:8f, 13ff; 66:14; Jer. 2:14; 7:25; 21:7; 22:2, 4; 25:4, 9, 19; 26:5; 27:6; 29:19; 30:10; 33:21f, 26; 34:9ff, 13, 16; 35:15; 36:24, 31; 37:2, 18; 43:10; 44:4; 46:26ff; Lam. 5:8; Ezek. 28:25; 34:23f; 37:24f; 38:17; 46:17; Dan. 1:12f; 9:6, 10f, 17; 10:17; Joel 2:29; Amos 3:7; Mic. 6:4; Hag. 2:23; Zech. 1:6; 3:8; Mal. 1:6; 4:4
'Ebed is rendered in NAS as - attendants(1), bondage(2), male(24), male servant(7), male servants(5), male slaves(1), officers(1), official(2), Servant(6), servant(332), servant's(4), servant*(1), servants(353), servants'(2), servants*(12), slave(25), slave's(1), slave*(4), slavery(11), slaves(19), slaves*(8).
Ebed (עֶבֶד, 5650), “servant.” This noun appears over 750 times in the Old Testament. Ebed first appears in Gen. 9:25: meaning “the lowest of slaves” (niv). A “servant” may be bought with money (Ex. 12:44) or hired (1Ki 5:6). The often repeated statement of God’s redemption of Israel is: “I brought you out of the house of slaves” (Ex. 13:3, Heb 2:15; kjv, rsv, “bondage”; nasb, niv, “slavery”). Ebed was used as a mark of humility and courtesy, as in Ge 18:3: “Pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant” (cf. Ge 42:10). Moses addressed God: “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant …” (Ex 4:10). It is the mark of those called by God, as in Ex. 14:31: “[They] believed the Lord, and his servant Moses.” God claimed: “For unto me the children of Israel are servants …” (Lev. 25:55; cf. Isa. 49:3). “And the Lord spake by his servants the prophets” (2Ki 21:10). The psalmist said: “I am thy servant” (Ps 116:16, cp Ps 119:125 indicating the appropriateness of the title to all believers.) Of prime significance is the use of “my servant” for the Messiah in Isa 42:1-7; 49:1- 7; 50:4-10; 52:13-53:12. Israel was a blind and deaf “servant” (Isa. 42:18-22). So the Lord called “my righteous servant” (Isa 53:11; cf. Isa 42:6) "[to bear] the sin of many” (Isa. 53:12), “that thou may be my salvation unto the end of the earth” (Isa. 49:6).
The “servant” was not a free man. He was subject to the will and command of his master. But one might willingly and lovingly submit to his master (Ex 21:5), remaining in his service when he was not obliged to do so. Hence it is a very fitting description of the relationship of man to God.
The Septuagint translates abad and its nouns by 7 different Greek roots that give more specific meanings to the term. Through these the basic uses of abad come into the New Testament. Notable is Jesus’ fulfillment of the Servant of the Lord in Isaiah: “That signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus (Acts 4:30 “Thy holy servant Jesus”); and another important use is Paul’s personal use of “a servant of Jesus Christ” (Ro 1:1 kjv, rsv, niv; but more precisely, “bond servant” in nasb). (Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words)
SERVANTS OF JEHOVAH; all Israel as a nation consecrated to His service; comp. Ps 69:36, Ps 135:1 (where this same verse is found, but with the clause transposed), Ps 136:22. The rhythm of this verse is that of Ps 29:1.(Ibid)
Praise, O ye servants of the LORD. Ye above all men, for ye are bound to do so by your calling and profession. If God's own servants do not praise him, who will? Ye are a people near unto him, and should be heartiest in your loving gratitude. While they were slaves of Pharaoh, the Israelites uttered groans and sighs by reason of their hard bondage; but now that they had become servants of the Lord, they were to express themselves in songs of joy. His service is perfect freedom, and those who fully enter into it discover in that service a thousand reasons for adoration. They are sure to praise God best who serve him best; indeed, service is praise.
God's servants have most reason to praise him; for those that attend him as his servants know him best and receive most of his favors. And it is their business to praise him; that is the work required of them as his servants: it is easy pleasant work to speak well of their Master, and do him what honor they can; if they do not, who should?
Comment: Who are God's servants today? See doulos where we see that even as Paul described himself as a bondservant of Jehovah, so should we. Indeed, the doulos describes an individual bound to another conveying the idea of the slave's close, binding ties with his master, belonging to him, obligated to and desiring to do his will and in a permanent relation of servitude. In sum, the will of the doulos is consumed in the will of the master. Would you describe yourself as a doulos of Jehovah? Remember what Amos says "Surely the Lord GOD does nothing Unless He reveals His secret counsel To His servants the prophets." (Amos 3:7)
Alexander Maclaren -
The infinite exaltation of Jehovah above all dwellers on this low earth and above the very heavens does not lift Him too high for man’s praise, for it is wedded to condescension as infinite. Incomparable is He; but still adoration can reach Him, and men do not clasp mist, but solid substance, when they grasp His Name. That incomparable uniqueness of Jehovah is celebrated in ver. 5 a in strains borrowed from Ex 15:11, while the striking description of loftiness combined with condescension in Ps 113:5b and Ps 113:6 resembles Isa. 57:15. The literal rendering of Ps 113:5b and Ps 113:6a is, “Who makes high to sit, Who makes low to behold,” which is best understood as above. (The Expositor's Bible)
Three times are you stirred up to this duty of praise. Adore the Sacred Trinity with threefold praise. There is a trinity in you: let spirit, soul, and body praise the Lord. Let the past, the present, and the future make another threefold chord; and for each of these, “Praise ye the Lord. Praise, O ye servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord.”
Alexander Maclaren -
The call to praise is addressed to Israel, whose designation “servants of Jehovah” recalls Isaiah's characteristic use of that name in the singular number for the nation. With strong emphasis, the name of Jehovah is declared as the theme of praise. God’s revelation of His character by deed and word must precede man’s thanksgiving. They, to whom that Name has been entrusted, by their reception of His mercies are bound to ring it out to all the world. And in the Name itself, there lies enshrined the certainty that through all ages it shall be blessed, and in every spot lit by the sun shall shine as a brighter light, and be hailed with praises. The psalmist has learned the world-wide significance of Israel’s position as the depository of the Name, and the fair vision of a universal adoration of it fills his heart. (The Expositor's Bible)
Henry Law -
The servants of the Lord are addressed. They are called to their richest enjoyment. Those who serve the Lord prove how they love His service by ever telling the glories of His name. It is the constellation of His attributes, and each attribute presents a boundless ocean of delight. Praise, also, must be endless. Through endless being those who know and love Him will never cease to revel in this joy. Praise is as eternal as the love which kindles it. (Psalm 113)
THE Psalmist celebrates the majesty of God, Ps 113:1-5, in contrast with his gracious condescension to his suffering creatures, Ps 113: 6-9. As the title, Servant of Jehovah, is applied to eminent leaders of the chosen people (Ps. 18:1, 36:1, 90:1, 105:6), so the plural, Servants of Jehovah, designates his chosen people itself. See above, Ps. 34:23, 69:37, and below, Ps. 136:22, and compare Ezra 5:11, Neh. 1:10, from which last places it appears, that this was a familiar form of speech with the returned exiles. (Commentary on Psalms)
Steven Cole -
Genuine praise of God does not mean that we go around saying, “Praise the Lord” all the time. Rather, it is a response to thinking about who God is and what He has done, as revealed in His Word. While praise by its very nature is somewhat spontaneous, it also can be cultivated as we deliberately meditate on God’s greatness and glory. If (like me) you must admit that you do not adequately praise the Lord (as we saw in Psalm 106:2, “Who can show forth all His praise?”), the place to start is to spend more time meditating on God as revealed in His Word. One other thought: if you admit that you do not praise God often enough or fervently enough, it’s probably true that you are not enjoying Him enough. C. S. Lewis pointed out (Reflections on the Psalms [Harcourt, Brace, and World], p. 95, cited by John Piper, Desiring God [Multnomah Books, 1996] p. 49), “I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.” If we delight in a beautiful sunset, we want to extol its beauty to others. Our enjoyment of it spontaneously overflows into praise. Our enjoyment of who God is and what He has done for us will also erupt in heartfelt praise.
Henry Morris -
The themes of praise and thanksgiving are very prominent throughout Scripture. The word "praise" and its derivatives occur over 330 times, and "thanks," with its derivatives, over 150 times. When applied to our relation to God, "thanks" are given to Him for what He has done for us, and "praise" for who He is and what He has done for the whole creation. If frequency of occurrence were an indicator, we might conclude that thanksgiving is important and praise-giving is twice as important! (Days to Remember- Henry M. Morris)
The final reference to praise in Scripture John writes (the setting is in Heaven) ...And a voice came from the throne, saying, “Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, (cp Ps 113:1) you who fear Him, the small and the great. And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude and as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, “Praise the LORD! (Hallelujah!) For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. (Rev 19:5-6)
VanGemeren comments on Ps 113:1-3
The “servants of the LORD,” his loyal people together with the priests and the Levites, come together for the worship of the Lord (v. 1). The people of God comprise all, that is, “from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,” who know “the name” Yahweh (v. 3; cf. 50:1; Zeph 2:11b; Mal 1:11; see appendix to Ps 7: The Name of Yahweh). The worship of the Lord is not limited to the land of Canaan but is to be universal. Through the witness of faithful Jews, many proselytes joined in the praise of God in the Diaspora. With the coming of our Lord and the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles, the true worship of God has been gradually extended to all parts of the globe.
The worship of the Lord shows reverence for His “name.” The threefold repetition of the “name of the LORD” (Ps 113:1–3) calls attention to the acts and the self-revelation of the Lord, by which he declares the significance of the covenantal relationship to his people, in accordance with his promise (Ex 3:16; 6:7; Ezek 36:28; 37:23). The “name” of the Lord was to be proclaimed so that each generation might remember what he had done and how he had revealed himself (Ex 3:16).
The praise of the Lord was to be a lasting hallel (“praise”). The God who acted and revealed himself in creation and in redemption desired each generation to declare to the next generation the story of redemption so that he might have a loyal people on the earth. The emphasis on the continuity of praise is a corollary of the emphasis on the continuity of God’s loyalty to his people. Thus the psalm begins with praise and focuses on God’s merciful accommodation to the needs of his people (vv. 6–9). Furthermore, he is to be praised “both now and forevermore” (v. 2; cf. 121:8; 125:2; 131:3). (The Expositor's Bible Commentary- Frank E. Gaebelein, Willem A. VanGemeren, Allen P. Ross, J. Stafford Wright, Dennis F. Kinlaw)
Praise the name of the LORD: extol his revealed character, magnify every sacred attribute, exult in all his doings, and reverence the very name by which he is called. The name of Jehovah is thrice used in this verse, and may by us who understand the doctrine of the Trinity in Unity be regarded as a thinly veiled allusion to that holy mystery. Let Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, all be praised as the one, only, living, and true God. The close following of the words, "Hallelujah, Hallelu, Hallelu, "must have had a fine effect in the public services. Dr. Edersheim describes the temple service as responsive, and says, "Every first line of a Psalm was repeated by the people, while to each of the others they responded by a Hallelu Jah or Praise ye the Lord"thus—
The Levites began: Hallelujah (Praise ye the Lord).
The people repeated: Hallelu Jah.
The Levites: Praise (Hallelu), O ye servants of Jehovah.
The people responded: Hallelu Jah.
The Levites: Praise (Hallelu) the name of Jehovah.
The people responded: Hallelu Jah.
These were not vain repetitions, for the theme is one which we ought to dwell upon; it should be deeply impressed upon the soul, and perseveringly kept prominent in the life. (Treasury of David—Psalm 113)
Matthew Henry said that
In thanking God, we fasten upon his favors to us; in praising and adoring God, we fasten upon his perfections in Himself.
Thou art worthy to be
praised with my every breath,
loved with my every faculty of soul,
served with my every act of life.
(Valley of vision)
Teach me to laud, adore, and magnify thee,
with the music of heaven,
And make me a perfume of praiseful gratitude to thee.
(Valley of vision)
When I feel the warmth of the sun may I praise thee who art the Sun of righteousness with healing power. (Valley of vision devotional)
Psalm 113 is a great exercise in Inductive Bible study, especially the use of the 5W/H questions...
Who is to praise God?: Servants of the Lord Ps 113:1.
When is God to be praised?: From this time forth and for evermore Ps 113:2.
Where is He to be praised?: “From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same” Ps 113:3.
Why is God to be praised?: because of His supremacy, Ps 113:4–5, His humility, Ps 113:6; His mercy, Ps 113:7–8; His pity, Ps 113:9.
Psalm 113:2 Blessed be the NAME of the LORD from this time forth and forever. (Ps 41:13 106:48 1Ch 16:36 29:10-13 Da 2:20 Eph 3:21 Rev 5:13 )
JEHOVAH'S PRAISES SHOULD
THE WHOLE DAY &
THE WHOLE WORLD
(David) Now therefore, our God, we thank Thee, and praise Thy glorious Name. (1Chr 29:13)
Blessed (01288)(barak) is a verb which literally can mean to kneel (to go to one's knees - Camel in Ge 24:11, Solomon in 2Chr 6:13) as contrasted with standing position or even a bowing at the waist). And so barak can refer to an act of adoration sometimes on bended knee. To give divine blessings (Ge 1:22, 9:1-7) To esteem greatly or adore God for His blessings (Ge 24:48, Ps 103:1) To invoke blessings upon another (Ge 24:60, 27:4, 27)
Some context actually mean to curse! (Job 1:5, 2:5, 9, 11 contrast use in Job 1:21, 42:12) To speak words invoking divine favor (bless - Ru 2:4, 20, Ru 3:10), or speak of the excellence of someone (praise). The righteous man is blessed (Ps 5:12). Barak includes the idea of to endue with power for success, prosperity, fecundity, longevity, etc. & is frequently contrasted with qalal meaning to curse (Dt 30:1,19). Barak refers to the posture of kneeling in prayer (Da 6:10) Frequently God blesses humans, meaning that they are given benefits (Ps. 115:12, etc). Occasionally God blesses things, such as a Sabbath (Ge 2:3), fields (Gen. 27:27), work (Dt. 28:12) or bread (Ex 23:25). Humans could also bless humans, as when fathers on their deathbed blessed their children (Ge 27).
The Greek (Septuagint) usually translates barak with the verb eulogeo (from eú = good, well + logos = word. English = eulogize, eulogy = commendatory formal statement or set oration; high praise; to extol) means literally to a good word and so to speak a good word of , to speak well or favorably of someone (especially God - Lk 1:64, 1Cor 14:16) or some thing. To say something commendatory, to praise, to extol.
Two common phrases in which barak occurs...
Bless the LORD - 23x in 20 v - Deut. 8:10; Jdg. 5:2, 9; 1 Chr. 29:20; Neh. 9:5; Ps. 16:7; 26:12; 34:1; 103:1f, 20ff; 104:1, 35; 115:18; 134:1f; 135:19f
Blessed be the LORD - 27x in 27v - Gen. 9:26; 24:27; Ex. 18:10; 1Sa 25:32, 39; 1Ki. 1:48; 5:7; 8:15, 56; 10:9; 1Chr 16:36; 2Chr 2:12; 6:4; 9:8; Ezra 7:27; Ps. 28:6; 31:21; 41:13; 68:19; 72:18; Ps 89:52; 106:48; 124:6; 135:21; 144:1; Zech. 11:5; Lk. 1:68
As a preliminary statement, it must be stressed that nothing was more important than securing the blessing of God in one’s life or nation. All religious or superstitious peoples (in other words, virtually the entire ancient world, along with most of the world to this day) have actively sought the blessing of a specific deity or spirit, believing that this blessing will make them fertile, or prosper them, protect them, deliver them, heal them, preserve them, empower them, exalt them, favor them, or, possibly, bring about all the above. The blessing is thought of as tangible, its effects perceivable and, at times, measurable. The more powerful the deity, the more important the blessing. How crucial it was, then, for the people of Israel to secure the blessing of the all-powerful god, the only creator, the ruler of the ends of the earth, their true lord and rightful king, whose blessing no one could reverse and whose curse no one could lift. And where there was a covenantal (or family) blessing passed on through the generations, there was nothing more urgent than being properly positioned so as to receive (or inherit) that blessing (cf. 1Kgs 2:45). A blessed life was the ideal; a life without God’s blessing (a fortiori, a life under God’s curse; cf. Jer 20:14) was the ultimate nightmare (cf. Ps 129:8; Jer 17:5–6; Micah 2:9). Real success was impossible without the much-coveted blessing (cf. G. J. Wenham, Genesis 1–15, WBC, 1987, 24: “Where modern man talks of success, OT man talked of blessing”). Abraham fervently prays in Gen 17:18, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!” Nothing else really mattered. (New international dictionary of Old Testament theology & exegesis)
Stephen Renn on barak
Inherent in the idea of blessing is the invocation of special favor on a person or object that is held in high esteem. The object of blessing in the Old Testament may be either divine or human, or that which belongs to either God or human beings. Where God is the object of human blessing, the context is invariably one of worship and praise. When people bless God, they offer him praise for who he is and what he has done on behalf of those he loves. Barak is used this way about eighty times, with the majority of texts occurring in the Psalms. Elsewhere, the same emphases are observed. In Ge 14:20, for example, Melchizedek blesses the God of Abraham for having delivered him from his enemies. Jethro, the Midianite priest, blesses Yahweh for having delivered the Israelites from Egypt. The women of Bethlehem praise God on Naomi’s behalf for not leaving her without a descendant in the wake of her husband’s death. The birth of Obed evokes this ascription of blessing to God (cf. Ru 4:14). Eze. 3:12 provides a slightly different perspective on ascribing praise to God. Here, the prophet is taken up by the Spirit into the heavenly throne room of God. Ezekiel’s immediate response is to utter a cry of wonder: “May the glory of the Lord be praised (i.e., blessed) in his dwelling place!” This blessing is a response to a revelation of God’s glory, rather than an expression of gratitude for what God has done. However, in making this distinction, it needs to be noted that the character and person of God are never divorced from each other in Scripture. In every instance, praise and blessing are given to God because of who he is and what he has done. God’s character is always evident in his actions, and his actions are always consistent with his character. Blessing is never given to God in any mystical sense that separates his being from his involvement in human affairs, particularly those of his chosen people. In Eze 3:12, for instance, the context makes it clear that the glory of God is intimately linked with the fortunes of God’s people as he communicates his message of judgment and hope to the prophet. The Psalms are very good examples of the way in which blessing is given to God in response to both his character and his actions. Note the following references in this regard: Ps 96: 2; 104:1, 35; 72:15, 18, 19; Ps 106:48; 16:7, 8; 26:12; 63:4, 5; Ps 115:18; 145:1, 2, 10, 21.
Human objects of divine blessing receive a greater amount of attention in the usage of barak. The bestowal of blessing upon the people of Israel, and also upon people and nations beyond the borders of Canaan, is a major theme in the Old Testament. Of primary importance here is the phenomenon of covenant blessing, given first of all to the patriarchs throughout the book of Genesis. Abraham is the most prominent recipient of such blessing. God promises to grant him descendants too numerous to count and a land for them to dwell in. God also promises to enable his descendants to be a blessing to nations all over the world. These blessings, given in the form of promises, are then handed down repeatedly to Abraham’s son Isaac, and to Isaac’s son Jacob (cf. Ge 12: 2, 3; 17:16; 18:18; 22:17; 26:24; 28:14; 30:27; 48:3, 9). The implications of these blessings and promises are laid down for the people of Israel in the detailed legislation of the Mosaic covenant, especially in the books of Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy 28 is particularly significant in this regard, for this chapter repeatedly mentions blessings that will come to Israel, provided the people maintain their obedience and devotion to God (Dt 28: 3-6). The people of Israel are constantly reminded that their obligation to serve their God is grounded in the fact that he has blessed them in a uniquely wonderful way by granting them deliverance from Egypt (Dt 2: 7; 7:13; 8:10; 12:7; 15:6, 15 — this last verse is quite specific on this matter). References to God blessing his people Israel are found throughout the Old Testament (e.g., Nu 6:23; Dt 26:15; 1Sa. 25:14; 2Sa. 6:18; 7:29; 2Ch. 31:10; Ps 29:11; 66:8; 132:15; Isa. 51: 2; Hag. 2:19). The reference in Hag. 2:19 is particularly significant in that the promised blessing anticipates a new era in the relationship between God and his people that is elsewhere taken up as the promise of a new covenant. Not only are the blessings of God granted to Israel, but the Old Testament also makes it clear that divine favor is extended to Gentile people as well. One of the most significant passages in this regard is Isa 19:23-25. In these verses God promises to bless Israel, along with Egypt and Assyria — all three of whom God will draw together to worship him. The intent of the divine blessing is quite clear — God will perform a work of inner spiritual renewal within these two pagan nations, two of Israel’s “classic” enemies. God’s blessing is also poured out on the household of Potiphar, the captain of the Egyptian guard in Gen. 39: 5, because of the kindness he extended to Joseph. While these two passages are the only ones in which barak specifically indicates divine blessing upon the nations, these are not the only places where blessing to the nations is intended in the Old Testament.
Finally, barak also indicates the invocation of blessing between people — whether it be a solemn pronouncement of favor in the name of the Lord or merely an exchange of greetings. It is used in this way about fifty times. The pronouncement, invocation, or pleading for blessing has a tangible as well an intangible element. When one blesses God, it is invariably in the context of an attitude, if not a ritual, of worship and devotion to Yahweh. Such a blessing is wholly intangible, yet nonetheless real. When coming from people who are genuinely devoted to God in their hearts, such praise delights the heart of God. Divine blessing in the old covenant does indeed have a tangible aspect in that all such blessing focuses on the possession and enjoyment of the land. But the intangible, yet very substantial, spiritual blessing is also very much in evidence — the joy of being in an intimate personal relationship of favor with one’s God. (Expository Dictionary of Bible Words-Word Studies for Key English Bible Words Based on the Hebrew and Greek Texts)
Barak - 298x in NAS - It is notable that 88 uses of the verb barak occur in Genesis. See also heavy concentration in Dt 28-30. Gen. 1:22, 28; 2:3; 5:2; 9:1, 26; 12:2f; 14:19f; 17:16, 20; 18:18; 22:17f; 24:1, 11, 27, 31, 35, 48, 60; 25:11; 26:3f, 12, 24, 29; 27:4, 7, 10, 19, 23, 25, 27, 29ff, 33f, 38, 41; 28:1, 3, 6, 14; 30:27, 30; 31:55; 32:26, 29; 35:9; 39:5; 47:7, 10; 48:3, 9, 15f, 20; 49:25, 28; Ex 12:32; 18:10; 20:11, 24; 23:25; 39:43; Lev. 9:22f; Num. 6:23-24, 27; 22:6, 12; 23:11, 20, 25; 24:1, 9f; Deut. 1:11; 2:7; 7:13f; 8:10; 10:8; 12:7; 14:24, 29; 15:4, 6, 10, 14, 18; 16:10, 15; 21:5; 23:20; 24:13, 19; 26:15; 27:12; 28:3ff, 8, 12; 29:19; 30:16; 33:1, 11, 13, 20, 24; Jos. 8:33; 14:13; 17:14; 22:6f, 33; 24:10; Jdg 5:2, 9, 24; 13:24; 17:2; Ruth 2:4, 19f; 3:10; 4:14; 1 Sam. 2:20; 9:13; 13:10; 15:13; 23:21; 25:14, 32f, 39; 26:25; 2 Sam. 2:5; 6:11f, 18, 20; 7:29; 8:10; 13:25; 14:22; 18:28; 19:39; 21:3; 22:47; 1 Ki. 1:47f; 2:45; 5:7; 8:14f, 55f, 66; 10:9; 21:10, 13; 2 Ki. 4:29; 10:15; 1 Chr. 4:10; 13:14; 16:2, 36, 43; 17:27; 18:10; 23:13; 26:5; 29:10, 20; 2 Chr. 2:12; 6:3f, 13; 9:8; 20:26; 30:27; 31:8, 10; Ezr. 7:27; Neh. 8:6; 9:5; 11:2; Job 1:5, 10f, 21; 2:5, 9; 31:20; 42:12; Ps. 5:12; 10:3; 16:7; 18:46; 26:12; 28:6, 9; 29:11; 31:21; 34:1; 37:22; 41:13; 45:2; 49:18; 62:4; 63:4; 65:10; 66:8, 20; 67:1, 6f; 68:19, 26, 35; 72:15, 17ff; 89:52; 95:6; 96:2; 100:4; 103:1f, 20ff; 104:1, 35; 106:48; 107:38; 109:28; 112:2; 113:2; 115:12f, 15, 18; 118:26; 119:12; 124:6; 128:4f; 129:8; 132:15; 134:1ff; 135:19ff; 144:1; 145:1f, 10, 21; 147:13; Prov. 3:33; 5:18; 20:21; 22:9; 27:14; 30:11; Isa. 19:25; 51:2; 61:9; 65:16, 23; 66:3; Jer. 4:2; 17:7; 20:14; 31:23; Ezek. 3:12; Hag. 2:19; Zech. 11:5
Barak is translated in NAS - abundantly bless(1), actually blessed(1), bless(111), bless is blessed(1), bless me indeed(1), bless them at all(1), blessed(167), blessed be those who bless(1), blessed is everyone who blesses(1), blesses(10), blessing(1), boast(1), congratulates(1), curse(3), cursed(3), curses(1), greatly bless(1), greet(2), greeted(1), had to bless(1), kneel(1), kneel down(1), knelt(1), persisted in blessing(1), pronounce blessing(1), salute(1), salutes(1), surely bless(1), thanked(1).
Barnes on barak -
The word bless, as applied to God, means to praise, implying always a strong affection for him as well as a sense of gratitude. As used with reference to men, the word implies a wish that they may be blessed or happy, accompanied often with a prayer that they may be so. Such is the purport of the “blessing” addressed to a congregation of worshippers. Cp. Nu. 6:23–27.
Name - Jehovah's Name reveals His being, attributes, character, reputation, glory, worth. To bless or praise God's Name is our personal acknowledgement of His position, His power and His authority.
Name of the LORD is a Strong Tower: Summary
Name of the LORD is a Strong Tower: Why Should You Study It?
Spurgeon on blessing the Name of Jehovah...
While praising Him aloud (Ps 113:1), the people were also to bless Him in the silence of their hearts, wishing glory to His name, success to His cause, and triumph to His truth. By mentioning the Name, the Psalmist would teach us to bless each of the Attributes of the Most High (See Attributes of God), which are as it were the letters of His name; not quarrelling with His justice or His severity, nor servilely (slavishly) dreading His power, but accepting Him as we find Him revealed in the inspired word and by His own acts, and loving Him and praising Him as such. We must not give the Lord a new name nor invent a new nature, for that would be the setting up of a false god. Every time we think of the God of Scripture we should bless Him, and His august name should never be pronounced without joyful reverence. (Psalm 113 Commentary - The Treasury of David)
Forever (05969)(olam) - Think about what the psalmist is saying - God's praise will endure through all eternity! Sinners made perfectly holy eternally offering up unceasing holy hallelujahs to the thrice Holy God. Glory! Hallelujah! El Olam, the Everlasting God will be praised forever and ever. Amen
Barnes - "Now and for ever. He is worthy of praise now, and he ever will be. What he is now, he will always continue to be; and as praise is proper now, it will be for ever and ever. An eternal God has claims to eternal praise."
Spurgeon on from this time forth
If we have never praised Him before, let us begin now. As the Passover (see Lev 23:5-note) stood at the beginning of the year it was well to commence the new year with blessing him Who wrought deliverance for His people. Every solemn feast had its own happy associations, and might be regarded as a fresh starting place for adoration. Are there not reasons why the reader should make the present day the opening of a year of praise? When the Lord says, "From this time will I bless you, "we ought to reply, "Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth." And for evermore: eternally. The Psalmist could not have intended that the divine praise should cease at a future date however remote. "For evermore" in reference to the praise of God must signify endless duration: are we wrong in believing that it bears the same meaning when it refers to gloomier themes? Can our hearts ever cease to praise the name of the Lord? Can we imagine a period in which the praises of Israel shall no more surround the throne of the Divine Majesty? Impossible. For ever, and more than "for ever, "if more can be, let him be magnified. (Psalm 113 Commentary - The Treasury of David)
Psalm 113:3 From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord's NAME is to be praised. (Ps 72:11,17-19 Ps 86:9 Isa 24:16 42:10-12 49:13 59:19 Hab 2:14 Mal 1:11 Ro 15:9,10 Rev 11:15)
Praise Him, Praise Him, — Jesus My Blessed Redeemer
by Fanny Crosby
Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessèd Redeemer!
Sing, O Earth, His wonderful love proclaim!
Hail Him! hail Him! highest archangels in glory;
Strength and honor give to His holy Name!
Like a shepherd, Jesus will guard His children,
In His arms He carries them all day long:
Praise Him! Praise Him!
Tell of His excellent greatness.
Praise Him! Praise Him!
Ever in joyful song!
Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessèd Redeemer!
For our sins He suffered, and bled, and died.
He our Rock, our hope of eternal salvation,
Hail Him! hail Him! Jesus the Crucified.
Sound His praises! Jesus who bore our sorrows,
Love unbounded, wonderful, deep and strong.
Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessèd Redeemer!
Heav’nly portals loud with hosannas ring!
Jesus, Savior, reigneth forever and ever.
Crown Him! Crown Him! Prophet, and Priest, and King!
Christ is coming! over the world victorious,
Pow’r and glory unto the Lord belong.
Mal 1:11 “For from the rising of the sun, even to its setting, My name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense is going to be offered to My name, and a grain offering that is pure; for My name will be great among the nations,” says the LORD of hosts.
Rising of the sun unto the going down - Most feel the this speaks primarily this speaks of space (see similar phrase in Mal 1:11 which is linked with "every place") but certainly time is not excluded (cp Ps 113:2b). In every place His Name is to be praised. Personal application - Is His praise, especially of His glorious, holy Name, ever on my lips in every place I am? If not, why not? Ignorance (e.g., of my continual need to be filled with His Spirit)? Secret sin not confessed? Bareness of busyness? etc?
From morning to evening be always employed in the work. Or it may be a call on all mankind to praise God for his innumerable mercies to the human race. Praise him from one end of the world unto the other.
This passage reminds me of a line in Matt Redman's song 10,000 Reasons...
The SUN comes up
It's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again.
Whatever man pass
And whatever lies before me
Let me be singing
When the EVENING comes.
Henry Law -
Is there a spot on earth which is not witness of God's goodness? Is there a region of the globe in which this homage should not abound? Is there a living being who is not a partaker of His tender mercies? Is there a mother's son who should not testify thanksgiving? From east to west, from pole to pole, the constant sound should be adoring praise. (Psalm 113)
Alan Carr adds that...
praise is not supposed to be something we do when “the Spirit hits us.” Praise is supposed to be something we are engaged in at all times. 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 and Africa. After we retire tonight, the sun will still find people lifting the praises of God in Asia.
READER, let you and I seek for grace to catch the heavenly flame, and while the HOLY GHOST is thus calling upon the church to bless the LORD, that from the rising of the sun to its going down, his name shalt be great among the Gentiles, oh may we not be silent, morn or even; but with the dawn of day, as well as when the shades of night close in upon the earth, may we bless the LORD, and call upon all that is within us to praise his holy name. (Psalms 113-1 - Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary)
David describes the sun's daily journey in the context of God's natural revelation of His existence, His power, His character...
Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their utterances to the end of the world. In them He has placed a tent for the sun, 5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber; It rejoices as a strong man to run his course. 6 Its rising is from one end of the heavens, And its circuit to the other end of them; And there is nothing hidden from its heat. (Ps 19:4-6)
David's son Solomon says...
May his name endure forever; May his name increase as long as the sun shines; And let men bless themselves by him; Let all nations call him blessed. 18Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, Who alone works wonders. 19 And blessed be His glorious name forever; And may the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen, and Amen. (Ps 72:17-19)
From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same - Our aim should be to see the name of the Lord praised always all over the earth. As John Piper said “Missions exists because worship doesn’t.” Indeed, God's servants live in confidence that one day His Name will be praised from the east to the west! (Phil 2:9-10)
Spurgeon on rising of the sun - In hours of morning light, when the dew is on the grass, and our soul is full of gladness, and in the hours of the setting sun, when the day is weary, and the night seems coming on, still let the Lord have the praise that is his due, for he is always to be praised. There is never an hour in which it would be unseemly to praise God. For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven; but the praising of God is never out of season. All time and all eternity may be dedicated to this blessed work.
John Calvin rightly said "There is not a corner in heaven or on earth where God is not praised." And the same should be said of His earthly Temple, our bodies! In other words, we should praise Him with a whole heart, form tip to toe so to speak.
Spurgeon's Exposition -
From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD'S name is to be praised. From early morn till eve the ceaseless hymn should rise unto Jehovah's throne, and from east to west over the whole round earth pure worship should be rendered unto his glory. So ought it to be; and blessed be God, we are not without faith that so it shall be. We trust that ere the world's dread evening comes, the glorious name of the Lord will be proclaimed among all nations, and all people shall call him blessed. At the first proclamation of the gospel the name of the Lord was glorious throughout the whole earth; shall it not be much more so ere the end shall be? At any rate, this is the desire of our souls. Meanwhile, let us endeavour to sanctify every day with praise to God. At early dawn let us emulate the opening flowers and the singing birds,
Chanting every day their lauds,
While the grove their song applauds;
Wake for shame my sluggish heart,
Wake and gladly sing thy part.
It is a marvel of mercy that the sun should rise on the rebellious sons of men, and prepare for the undeserving fruitful seasons and days of pleasantness; let us for this prodigy of goodness praise the Lord of all. From hour to hour let us renew the strain, for each moment brings its mercy; and when the sun sinks to his rest, let us not cease our music, but lift up the vesper hymn—
Father of heaven and earth!
I bless thee for the night,
The soft still night!
The holy pause of care and mirth,
Of sound and light.
Now far in glade and dell,
Flower cup, and bud, and bell
Have shut around the sleeping woodlark's nest,
The bee's long murmuring toils are done,
And I, the over wearied one,
Bless thee, O God, O Father of the oppressed!
With my last waking thought.
(Treasury of David—Psalm 113)
Psalm 113:4 The LORD is high above all nations; His glory is above the heavens. (high: Ps 97:9 99:2 Isa 40:15,17,22)(glory: Ps 8:1 57:10,11 1Ki 8:27 Isa 66:1)
HE IS WORTHY
OF OUR PRAISE
O LORD, our Lord,
How majestic is Thy name in all the earth,
Who hast displayed Thy splendor above the heavens!
Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
Let Thy glory be above all the earth.
Psalm 57:5, 11
In this next section the psalmist turns to the reasons we should praise God from Whom all blessings flow. Ps 113:4-6 emphasizes the greatness of our God.
He governs all, He provides for all; therefore let all give Him praise.
It is safe to say that many of our troubles in the Christian life stem from the fact that (as J. B. Phillips put it) our God is too small. We need to get the biblical view of God high and exalted." (Steven Cole's exposition of Psalm 113:1-9 God is Great and He is Gracious)
D A Carson
He is exalted over every people and every place, incomparably exalted, so transcendent that he must stoop even to see the heavens. His glory is the highest of all realities, his person is above all dignities, his omniscience embraces all creation.
The shared exaltation. He is Himself exalted (4); He lifts, ‘exalts’ the needy; He Who sits enthroned (5) seats the needy (enthroned)—out of the dust, onto a throne, into personal fulfillment. He takes people in their helplessness (poor … needy), countermands their unworthiness and reverses their hopelessness. How true all this is of the inner realities of the exodus—from the Lord’s control over earthly powers (Ex. 4:22–23; 14:30–31) to his awareness of his people’s needs (Ex. 2:24–25; 3:7) and to the despairing cries of forcibly bereaved mothers (Ex. 1:22)! But its revelation of the Lord is permanent: what he was then, he is now. (New Bible Commentary)
His glory is above the heavens - Ps 99:2; Ps 138:5; Isa 57:15; Eph 3:10.
Ps 99:2 The LORD is great in Zion, And He is exalted above all the peoples.
Ps 138:5 And they will sing of the ways of the LORD. For great is the glory of the LORD.
2Chr 6:18 But will God indeed dwell with mankind on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You; how much less this house which I have built.
Isa 57:15 For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite.
Eph 3:10 in order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.
Glory (03519)(kabod) is derived from a root which means to be heavy or weighty and is only rarely used literally. The figurative use is more common and conveys the idea of a "weighty" person in society, one who is honorable, impressive, worthy of respect, the meaning in more than 50% of the OT uses. Kabod is translated in the Septuagint with the Greek noun doxa.
High above - This reminds us that God is beyond our comprehension (See Incomprehensible and Transcendent)
Above all nations - Signifies His sovereign rule over all nations, yea, over all creation and every creature!
Above the heavens - Ps 57:5, 11; 99:2; 108:5; 138:6; Isa 6:1; 57:15
the construction which regards the totality of created things, represented by the familiar phrase “the heavens and the earth,” as being the objects on which Jehovah looks down from His inconceivable loftiness, accords best with the context and yields an altogether worthy Transcendent elevation, condescension, and omniscience are blended in the poet’s thought. So high is Jehovah that the highest heavens are far beneath Him, and, unless His gaze were all-discerning, would be but a dim speck. That He should enter into relations with creatures, and that there should be creatures for Him to enter into relations with, are due to His stooping graciousness. These far-darting looks are looks of tenderness, and signify care as well as knowledge. Since all things lie in His sight, all receive from His hand. (The Expositor's Bible)
Spurgeon has these notes...
The loftiness, the majesty, the sublimity of God are attributes that are terrible in themselves; yet they minister much joy to those who love the Lord. For, you know, we can never make too much of those whom we love; and if we see them exalted, then is our soul glad. Would you wish to have a little God? Would you wish to have a God who had but little honour, or little power? No; you ascribe to him all conceivable and all inconceivable greatness, and you exult as you think what a high and mighty God he is.
Who is like unto Jehovah our God,
who dwelleth on high?
Spurgeon's Exposition -
The Lord is high above all nations. Though the Gentiles knew him not, yet was Jehovah their ruler: their false gods were no gods, and their kings were puppets in his hands. The Lord is high above all the learning, judgment, and imagination of heathen sages, and far beyond the pomp and might of the monarchs of the nations. Like the great arch of the firmament, the presence of the Lord spans all the lands where dwell the varied tribes of men, for his providence is universal: this may well excite our confidence and praise. And his glory above the heavens: higher than the loftiest part of creation; the clouds are the dust of his feet, and sun, moon, and stars twinkle far below his throne. Even the heaven of heavens cannot contain him. His glory cannot be set forth by the whole visible universe, nor even by the solemn pomp of angelic armies; it is above all conception and imagination, for he is God—infinite. Let us above all adore him who is above all. (Treasury of David—Psalm 113)
Psalm 113:5 Who is like the LORD our God, Who is enthroned on high, (like: Ps 35:10; 71:19; 77:13, 2Sa 7:22)
Ps 89:6 For who in the skies is comparable to the LORD? Who among the sons of the mighty is like the LORD,
Deut 33:26 “There is none like the God of Jeshurun, Who rides the heavens to your help, and through the skies in His majesty.
Isa 40:18 To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare with Him?...25 “To whom then will you liken Me That I should be his equal?” says the Holy One.
Jer 10:6 There is none like Thee, O LORD; Thou art great, and great is Thy name in might.
Who is like the LORD our God - Rhetorical because clearly no one is like Him. He is incomparable! There is not even a "close second!" The effect is to cause one to pause and ponder His uniqueness. He is God and we are not!
Micah 7:18 Who is a God like Thee, Who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love. (Read Isa 40:12-41:4)
Our God - The writer personalizes God. He is the writer's God and Israel's God. He is their God (and they are His "wife" = "I was a husband to them" Jer 31:31, cf Hos 2:19, Isa 54:5 cp Jer 2:2, 3:14) by covenant relationship which is substantiated by use of His covenant name Yahweh or Jehovah. Jehovah is the "possession" of every genuine believer. Better, we belong to Him and are no longer our own (see 1Cor 6:19-note 1Cor 6:20-note, Titus 2:14-note, 1Pe 2:9-note). This begs the question - How am I living? As if I belong to myself or to God. Is He "my God" and am I His possession?
Those who are highly exalted are generally unapproachable; they are proud and overbearing; or so surrounded with magnificence and flatterers, that to them the poor have no access; but God, though infinitely exalted, humbles Himself to behold even heaven itself, and much more does he humble himself when he condescends to behold earth and her inhabitants; (Ps 113:6.) But so does he love his creatures that he rejoices over even the meanest of them to do them good.
Spurgeon in the introduction to his sermon From the Dunghill to the Throne (Ps 113:7-8) writes that...
The greatness and majesty of the Most High God are utterly inconceivable. The most masterly minds, when in the most spiritual state, have felt it impossible for the utmost stretch of their imagination to reach to the grandeur of God. Our loftiest conceptions of the universe probably fall very far short of what it really is; although the researches of astronomy have revealed facts surpassing all the powers of the human mind in the attempt to grasp them. Thought, reason, understanding, and even imagination are bewildered in the vast and illimitable fields of space amidst the marvels of God’s handiwork. Yet all the wonders which the human eye has seen, or mortal spirit guessed at, are but parts of His ways. We have heard no more than one stanza of Creation’s never-ending Psalm. We have viewed but one stone in the vast mosaic of the Maker’s works. An infusorial atom of life in a drop of water may know as much of the great sea as we do of the universe as a whole. An ant creeping over a sand heap by the seaside must not boast of having counted the grains which bound the ocean—nor must the most learned mortal dream that he has a full idea of the vast Creation of God. Above all this, however, is the fact that all these wondrous works bear no more proportion to the unseen, all powerful God, than one line written by the pen of Milton would bear to his masterly mind. When God has made all that He ordains to create, and when we have seen all that He has made, yet there remains in Himself infinite possibilities of creation. The potter is far greater than the vessel which he fashions, and the Lord is infinitely greater than all His works. He fills all things, but all things cannot fill Him. He contains immensity; He grasps eternity; but neither immensity nor eternity can encompass Him—
Great God, how infinite You are!
What worthless worms are we!
Spurgeon comments on the phrase Who is like unto the LORD our God?-
The challenge will never be answered. None can be compared with him for an instant; Israel's God is without parallel; our own God in covenant stands alone, and none can be likened unto him. Even those whom he has made like himself in some respects are not like him in godhead, for his divine attributes are many of them incommunicable and inimitable. None of the metaphors and figures by which the Lord is set forth in the Scriptures can give us a complete idea of him; his full resemblance is borne by nothing in earth or in heaven. Only in Jesus is the Godhead seen, but he unhesitatingly declared "he that hath seen me hath seen the Father."
Enthroned on high (cp Ps 2:4, ) - More literally "the One Who makes high to sit" which flows well into the next verse "makes low to see." This same antithesis occurs in Psalm 138:6
For though the LORD is exalted,
Yet He regards the lowly;
But the haughty He knows from afar.
Who is like Thee among the gods, O LORD? Who is like Thee, majestic in holiness, Awesome in praises, working wonders? (Ex 15:11)
Spurgeon comments on the phrase Who is enthroned on high -
In the height of his abode none can be like him. His throne, his whole character, his person, his being, everything about him, is lofty, and infinitely majestic, so that none can be likened unto him. His serene mind abides in the most elevated condition, he is never dishonoured, nor does he stoop from the pure holiness and absolute perfection of his character. His saints are said to dwell on high, and in this they are the reflection of his glory; but as for himself, the height of his dwelling place surpasses thought, and he rises far above the most exalted of his glorified people.
Eternal Power! whose high abode
Becomes the grandeur of a God:
Infinite lengths beyond the bounds
Where stars revolve their little rounds."
"The lowest step around thy seat
Rises too high for Gabriel's feet;
In vain the tall archangel tries
To reach thine height with wondering eyes."
"Lord, what shall earth and ashes do?
We would adore our Maker too;
From sin and dust to thee we cry,
The Great, the Holy, and the High!
(Treasury of David—Psalm 113)
Spurgeon in another source adds that this passage...
enables us to get some faint idea of the greatness of God when we read that He has to humble Himself even to look at the things in heaven, perfect and spotless though they be. Dr. Watts truly sings, —
The lowest step around Thy seat
Rises too high for Gabriel’s feet;
In vain the tall archangel tries
To reach Thine height with wond’ring eyes.
All the faculties of all the angels cannot comprehend the Infinite. When the Lord looks down to us, how much he must humble himself! If He humbles Himself to see the things in heaven which are clear and pure, what humility is required that He may look upon the things on the earth!
Psalm 113:6 Who humbles Himself to behold the things that are in heaven and in the earth? (Ps 11:4 Job 4:18 Job 15:15 Isa 6:2) (earth: Ps 138:6 Isa 57:15 66:2)
The fact that God is so high and yet stoops so low reminds us of David's question...
What is man, that Thou dost take thought of him?
And the son of man, that Thou dost care for him?
Who humbles Himself - The transcendent Most High God (Read Ps 2:4; 18:16; 104:3) is highly exalted and yet He stoops down for the lowest esteemed among the peoples! Amazing grace indeed. Note the contrast in Ps 113:4-5 which describes His greatness and power and yet here we see "He condescends!" And He is not just concerned with the powerful and mighty, but the helpless and needy! This fact demonstrates His impartial lovingkindness. The Almighty God stoops to the world's level that He might demonstrate to His people His desire to be involved in their lives. Read Phil 2:5-8
Have this attitude (present imperative calls for this attitude to be our lifestyle! Try to accomplish this in your old fleshy strength! Every imperative is a "call" for us to jettison self-reliance and depend on the Spirit's enablement!) in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 Who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Php 2:5-8-note)
He is present with the highest angels, and with the poorest of his creatures, to help them. His providence, benignity, and bounty, being united with so much majesty, appear the more admirable.
The Creator of all lowers Himself from above the cosmos to consider all of His creation. As the psalmist says...
The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From His dwelling place He looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, (Ps 33:13-14 )
Humbles (08213)(shaphel from Semitic root word which means to be low) means literally to be low or become low (to sink down). Most uses in the OT are figurative and mean to be humiliated or to be abased. To make humble, to humiliate; to bring down. Shaphel is used literally/figuratively of bringing down trees representing the powerful, influential people of a society (Isa 10:33); of humbling persons (Isa 2:9; 5:15); even a city (Isa 32:19). Shaphel describes being humiliated or placed lower (Pr 25:7; 29:23; Jer. 13:18). Shaphel describes a sound as being low in Eccl 12:4. In its causative sense, shaphel means to bring down (Ezek 17:24), to lay something low (Isa 25:12); to put lower (Pr 25:7); to humiliate (1Sa 2:7). God lowers or humbles Himself to observe the things of earth (Ps. 113:6).
In the Septuagint (Lxx) shaphel is represented by the word group of tapeinos (see word study) or tapeinoo (see word study).
Shaphel - 27x - 1 Sam. 2:7; 2 Sam. 22:28; Job 22:29; 40:11; Ps. 18:27; 75:7; 113:6; 147:6; Pr. 25:7; 29:23; Isa. 2:9, 11f, 17; 5:15; 10:33; 13:11; 25:11f; 26:5; 29:4; 32:19; 40:4; 57:9; Jer. 13:18; Ezek. 17:24; 21:26
Shaphel is translated in NAS as - abase(4), abased(6), been abased(1), bring him low(1), bring down(1), brings down(1), brings low(1), brought low(1), cast down(1), go down(1), humbles(1), laid low(1), lay low(2), lays it low(2), lowly(1), made low(1), make him low(1), placed lower(1), puts down(1).
Vine adds that ...
Shaphel rarely denotes a literal lowness. Even in passages where the meaning may be taken literally, the prophet communicates a spiritual truth: “the high [trees] of stature shall be hewn down, and the haughty shall be humbled” (Isa. 10:33), or “Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low …” (Isa 40:4). Isaiah particularly presented Judah’s sin as one of rebellion, self-exaltation, and pride (Isa 2:17; 3:16-17). (Isaiah) repeated God’s indictment on human pride. When the Lord comes in judgment, He will not tolerate pride (Isa. 2:11) then "he shall be brought low” (Isa 2:12). Isaiah applied to Judah the principle found in Proverbs (Pr. 29:23). Pride and self-exaltation have no place in the life of the godly, as the Lord “brings low” a person, a city, and a nation (1Sa 2:7). The prophets called the people to repent and to demonstrate their return to God by lowliness but were generally unheeded. Ultimately the (Babylonian) Exile came, and the people were humbled by the Babylonians. Nevertheless, the promise came that, regardless of the obstacles, God would initiate the redemption of His people. Isaiah expressed the greatness of the redemption in this way: “Prepare ye the way of the Lord....Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low....and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed.…” (Isa. 40:3-5) (Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words)
Behold (07200) (ra'ah) is found 1198x in NAS and means to see, to see intellectually (Job 3:16; Ps 34:12, Jdg 2:7), to look at, to inspect, to regard, to perceive (Dt 4:28, Ge 6:2), to look with favor on (Ps 66:18), to show (Ge 12:1). The Lxx translates ra'ah with ephorao (only in NT in Acts 4:29 = "take note") which means to fix one’s glance upon, to look at, to concern oneself with, to gaze upon. Ephorao is in the present tense which pictures the high and lofty one continually gazing upon and concerning Himself with His creation! The Most High God is not asleep or out of touch! That could be good news or bad news, depending on how we are living our lives -- for His eternal glory or our passing "glory."
Henry Law - The more we wonder that He thus should stoop, the more we should exalt Him with extolling lips. (Psalm 113)
God's "condescension is taken into account; and His condescension never sufficiently wondered at, unless His loftiness is felt."...The singer did not know how far it would be transcended by a more wonderful, more heart-touching manifestation of stooping love, when “The Word became flesh.” (Compare John 1:1 and John 1:14) How much more exultant and world-filling should be the praises from the lips of those who do know how low that Word has stooped, and how high He has risen, and how surely all who hold His hand will be lifted from any ash-heap and set on His throne, sharers in the royalty of Him who has been partaker of their weakness! (The Expositor's Bible)
Robert Hawker writes these prayerful comments...
Think, Reader, of the condescension of GOD the FATHER, in sending his SON to be the Saviour of the world! Think of the grace of GOD the SPIRIT, in making the bodies of the saints his temple. And think of that grace and love in GOD the SON, who so loved us as to give himself for us! Reader, a whole eternity will not be long enough for praising, blessing, and adoring JEHOVAH, FATHER, SON, and HOLY GHOST, for these things. Oh! reader, let each of us say, What hath GOD wrought, in remembering us in our low estate; for his mercy endures for ever! Help us, LORD, to praise Thee, to love Thee, to live to Thee; that every day we may increase, with all the household of faith, in praising the GOD of our salvation, upon earth, until we come to the everlasting enjoyment of the LORD, and the view of Him in glory, to praise FATHER, SON, and HOLY GHOST, to all eternity. Amen. (Psalms 113-1 - Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary)
Spurgeon comments on the fact that God "humbles Himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth"...
He dwells so far on high that even to observe heavenly things he must humble himself. He must stoop to view the skies, and bow to see what angels do. What, then, must be his condescension, seeing that he observes the humblest of his servants upon earth, and makes them sing for joy like Mary when she said, "Thou hast regarded the low estate of thine handmaiden." How wonderful are those words of Isaiah, "For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones."
Heathen philosophers could not believe that the great God was observant of the small events of human history; they pictured him as abiding in serene indifference to all the wants and woes of his creatures. "Our Rock is not as their rock" (Dt 32:31). We have a God Who is high above all gods, and yet Who is our Father, knowing what we have need of before we ask Him; our Shepherd, Who supplies our needs; our Guardian, Who counts the hairs of our heads; our tender and considerate Friend, who sympathizes in all our griefs. Truly the name of our condescending God should be praised wherever it is known. (Treasury of David—Psalm 113)
Psalm 113:7 He raises the poor from the dust And lifts the needy from the ash heap, (Raises: Ps 75:6,7 107:41 Job 5:11,15,16 Eze 17:24 21:26,27 Lk 1:52,53 Jas 2:5) (from: Ps 22:15 Isa 26:19 Da 12:2,3 Ac 2:31-33 Eph 1:20,21 1Pe 3:21,22)(needy: 1Sa 2:7,8 24:14 2Sa 7:8,9 Job 2:8 36:6,7)
See Spurgeon's sermon - From the Dunghill to the Throne
He raises the poor from the dust,
He lifts the needy from the ash heap
To make them sit with nobles,
And inherit a seat of honor;
For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S,
And He set the world on them.
(1 Sa 2:8)
(See also Mary’s Song, Lk 1:46-55)
Play Robin Mark's song "All Is Well" in which he quotes these words. A very powerful song.
He raises - He Who is high and highly exalted, stoops down in order to raise up! O the wonders of His lovingkindness and grace! As someone has said - Christ was lifted up on the cross that we might be lifted out of our sin.
In loving kindness Jesus came
My soul in mercy to reclaim,
And from the depths of sin and shame
Through grace He lifted me.
Maclaren - "The effect of the descent of One so high must be to raise the lowliness to which He bends."
Ps 113:7-9 illustrate the ways God helps the poor and needy. Notice also that Ps 113:7-8 is almost word for word from the Song of Hannah, 1Sa 2:8.
God does not do this with every poor person, but when He does it for some His gracious dealings are evident. In the New Testament the truth takes on a spiritual significance, for those who trust in the Lord are given an inheritance in the heavenlies, through the grace of God.
Poor (01800)(dal) is an adjective (often used as a noun) meaning “one who is low, poor, reduced, helpless, weak.” Dal designates the poor and oppressed of low status for whom the Lord has a special concern (Ex 23:3). Dal contrasts with the rich (Ex 30:15, 1Sa 2:8, Pr 10:15, Pr 22:16). Dal describes those who are powerless, weak and helpless.
The dallim constituted the middle class of Israel—those who were physically deprived (in the ancient world the majority of people were poor). For example, the dallim may be viewed as the opposite of the rich (Ex. 30:15; cf. Ru 3:10; Pr 10:15). In addition, the word may connote social poverty or lowliness. As such, dal describes those who are the counterparts of the great: (Lev. 19:15; cf. Amos 2:7). When Gideon challenged the Lord’s summoning him to deliver Israel, he emphasized that his clan was too weak to do the job: “And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh …” (Jdg 6:15; cf. 2Sa 3:1). God commands that society protect the poor, the lowly, and the weak (Ex 23:2-3; cf. Lev. 14:21; Isa. 10:2). He also warns that if men fail to provide justice, He will do so (Isa 11:4). A fourth emphasis appears in Ge 41:19 (the first biblical appearance of the word), where dal is contrasted to “healthy” or “fat”: “And behold, seven other kine came up after them, poor and very ill-favored and lean fleshed.…” Thus, dal indicates a physical condition and appearance of sickliness. It is used in this sense to describe Amnon’s appearance as he longed for Tamar (2Sa 13:4). Dal is used (very infrequently) of spiritual poverty (in such cases it is sometimes paralleled to ebyon) (Jer. 5:4). Some scholars argue that here the word means “ignorance,” and as the context shows, this is ignorance in the knowledge of God’s word.
Dal - 46x - Ex. 23:3; 30:15; Lev. 14:21; 19:15; Jdg. 6:15; Ruth 3:10; 1 Sam. 2:8; 2 Sam. 3:1; 13:4; Job 5:16; 20:10, 19; 31:16; 34:19, 28; Ps. 41:1; 72:13; 82:3f; 113:7; Prov. 10:15; 14:31; 19:4, 17; 21:13; 22:9, 16, 22; 28:3, 8, 11, 15; 29:7, 14; Isa. 10:2; 11:4; 14:30; 25:4; 26:6; Jer. 5:4; 39:10; Amos 2:7; 4:1; 5:11; 8:6; Zeph. 3:12
NAS translates dal as - depressed(1), helpless(7), least(1), lowly(2), needy(1), poor(29), poor man(3), poorest(1), weak(2), weaker(1).
Poor...needy - "Such terminology in the Old Testament can refer to the penniless, but it also refers to the oppressed and humiliated." (William Barrick)
Derek Kidner - “Nothing too great for Him, no one too small.”
Ash heap (KJV = dunghill)(0830)(aspot) means refuse heap, dump, dung hill (cp 1Sa 2:8). "It depicts, most likely, a dump or dung hill during the time of Jeremiah (Lam. 4:5). It describes the Refuse or Dung Gate during the time of Nehemiah (2:13; 3:13, 14)." (Baker) In Ps 113 and 1Sa 2:8 Alexander says aspot pictures those of "degraded social state."
Aspot - 7x - 1Sa 2:8; Neh. 2:13; 3:13f; 12:31; Ps. 113:7; Lam 4:5. NAS translates aspot as - ash(2), ash pits(1), refuse(4).
Aspot can mean “heaps of garbage and manure” -- an unsanitary place symbolic of every sin sick sad man and woman who are without the sin healing touch of God! It could also be a symbol of mourning. God's fame exceeds that of any great celebrity or ruler and yet He still desires to help us, even to lift us up “from the ash heap.” This truth alone should astound us. And how does He accomplish this task? He cares for us so much for the poor and needy sinner (a description of even the richest man in the world!) that He sent His only His only Son to die on the Cross so that we could be restored to fellowship with Him (See Spurgeon's note below). This is a love that knows no bounds! Appreciation of this profound love should stimulate a deep love and desire to obey.
He raises the poor from the dust - Though He is the infinite, transcendent One, His lovingkindness for His creatures causes Him to be intimately involved in caring for those broken by the wages of sin! We see God's care for the poor and needy supremely manifested in the incarnation for it was Jesus Who said "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God."
Spurgeon in his sermon Every Man's Necessity has this note regarding men (who originate from the dust - Ge 2:7, Ps 103:14) to be raised from the dust (cp Ps 119:25) writing...
The change would be extraordinary, and men would wonder at it; for the passages in history which have been thought most noteworthy have been those wherein paupers have mounted from the dunghill to the throne, and fishermen have cast aside their rough garments to put on the imperial purple. But these strides from nothingness to greatness are inconsiderable and trifling compared with rising from being a slave of Satan to become a son of God. To be elevated by God himself from the darkness and degradation and bondage under which we are brought by the fall and by actual sin to the liberty, to the glory, to the eternal blessedness of the children of God — this surpasses all conception. This can only be ours through our being born again. Our first birth makes us sons of Adam, our second birth makes us sons of God. Born of the flesh, we inherit corruption; we must be born of the Spirit to inherit incorruption. We come into this world heirs of sorrow because we are sons of the fallen man: our new life comes into the new world an heir of glory, because it is descended from the second man, the Lord from heaven. Thus I have spoken upon the wonderful character of this work, as well as upon the thoroughness of it. (Every Man's Necessity - John 3:7)
ESV Study Bible - God’s majesty never implies his remoteness from those who look to him; it implies instead his exhaustive attention to detail, and his inexhaustible ability to care for his faithful.
Have you never noticed that, in all these joyous songs to God, there is almost always one of these notes, that God abases the proud, and exalts the humble? This was the basis of Hannah’s song; and it was the pith and marrow of Mary’s Magnificat: “He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.” This wonderful turning of things upside down; this withering of the green tree, and making the dry tree to flourish; this killing that which liveth, and quickening that which is dead; this emptying of the full, and filling of the empty; this casting down the mighty from their thrones, and lifting the poor out of the dust; this is always one of the highest reasons for exulting joy. What a truth there is for you and for me tonight, if we feel ourselves to be spiritually so poor that the dunghill is no offense to us, because we feel ourselves to be even more offensive than the filthy things that are cast away by men! What a mercy it is that the Lord “lifteth the needy out of the dunghill; that he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people”!
Spurgeon's Exposition -
He raiseth up the poor out of the dust. This is an instance of his gracious stoop of love: he frequently lifts the lowest of mankind out of their poverty and degradation and places them in positions of power and honour. His good Spirit is continually visiting the down trodden, giving beauty for ashes to those who are cast down, and elevating the hearts of his mourners till they shout for joy. These up liftings of grace are here ascribed directly to the divine hand, and truly those who have experienced them will not doubt the fact that it is the Lord alone who brings his people up from the dust of sorrow and death. When no hand but his can help he interposes, and the work is done. It is worth while to be cast down to be so divinely raised from the dust. And lifteth the needy out of the dunghill, whereon they lay like worthless refuse, cast off and cast out, left as they thought to rot into destruction, and to be everlastingly forgotten. How great a stoop from the height of his throne to a dunghill! How wonderful that power which occupies itself in lifting up beggars, all befouled with the filthiness in which they lay! For he lifts them out of the dunghill, not disdaining to search them out from amidst the base things of the earth that he may by their means bring to nought the great ones, and pour contempt upon all human glorying. What a dunghill was that upon which we lay by nature! What a mass of corruption is our original estate! What a heap of loathsomeness we have accumulated by our sinful lives! What reeking abominations surround us in the society of our fellow men! We could never have risen out of all this by our own efforts, it was a sepulchre in which we saw corruption, and were as dead men. Almighty were the arms which lifted us, which are still lifting us, and will lift us into the perfection of heaven itself. Praise ye the Lord. (Treasury of David—Psalm 113)
Psalm 113:8 To make them sit with princes, With the princes of His people. (Ps 45:16 68:13 Ge 41:41 Php 2:8-11 Rev 5:9,10)
Sit with princes - Note the dramatic contrast with ones who were just described as in dust and an ash heap! Now they are recipients of royal status! Note he says not just to dwell with them but to sit with them, a picture emphasizing their equality.
Princes - The "nobility," the so-called ruling class. God's help to poor and needy is able to transcend the socio-economic barriers which fallen men value so highly. This passage clearly affirms the equal value of every human soul in the eyes of their Creator. This truth if received would go a long way toward breaking down racial barriers!
We see this same truth in the New Testament where God gives grace to the lowly (1Cor 1:26-29) and raises they up to be seated in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph 2:7).
This is one aspect of the ideal that Yahweh’s own characteristics be reflected among his chosen people. Divine grace is the impartation of divine glory; it bestows a measure of divine power and honor.
Henry Law -
God's gracious eye regards even the lowliest of men with providential care. Joseph rises from the dungeon to sit beside the King. David is exalted from the sheepfold to the throne of Israel. Sarah rejoices as the mother of him in whom the promised seed should come. Rachel and Hannah are filled with maternal joy. There is nothing too hard for our Lord to do. No gift is too good for His bounty to impart. (Psalm 113)
Spurgeon's notes -
Does your soul feel barren? May the Lord grant unto it an abundant fruitfulness! Looking back upon the past year, perhaps you have had many barren times, or times that you have thought to be barren. If you are a minister of the gospel, I should not wonder if those have been your most fruitful seasons. When you have been most empty, God has been pleased to feed the people through you. O dear brothers and sisters, those very times of spiritual experience which are most humiliating and most painful are often the most soul-enriching to us, and they also bring the greatest glory to God! Now we will read a New Testament story, in order that we may see how some men did not praise the Lord as they should have done. You will find the narrative in Luke 17:11.
Spurgeon's Exposition -
That he may set him with princes. The Lord does nothing by halves: when he raises men from the dust he is not content till he places them among the peers of his kingdom. We are made kings and priests unto God, and we shall reign for ever and ever. Instead of poverty, he gives us the wealth of princes; and instead of dishonor, he gives us a more exalted rank than that of the great ones of the earth. Even with the princes of his people. All his people are princes, and so the text teaches us that God places needy souls whom he favors among the princes of princes. He often enables those who have been most despairing to rise to the greatest heights of spirituality and gracious attainment, for those who once were last shall be first. Paul, though less than the least of all saints was, nevertheless, made to be not a whit behind the very chief of the apostles; and in our own times, Bunyan, the blaspheming tinker, was raised into another John, whose dream almost rivals the visions of the Apocalypse.
Wonders of grace to God belong,
Repeat his mercies in your song.
Such verses as these should give great encouragement to those who are lowest in their own esteem. The Lord poureth contempt upon princes; but as for those who are in the dust and on the dunghill, he looks upon them with compassion, acts towards them in grace, and in their case displays the riches of his glory by Christ Jesus. Those who have experienced such amazing favour should sing continual hallelujahs to the God of their salvation. (Treasury of David—Psalm 113)
Spurgeon Morning and Evening
Our spiritual privileges are of the highest order. “Among princes” is the place of select society. “Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” Speak of select society, there is none like this! “We are a chosen generation, a peculiar people, a royal priesthood.” “We are come unto the general assembly and church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven.” The saints have courtly audience: princes have admittance to royalty when common people must stand afar off. The child of God has free access to the inner courts of heaven. “For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” “Let us come boldly,” says the apostle, “to the throne of the heavenly grace.” Among princes there is abundant wealth, but what is the abundance of princes compared with the riches of believers? for “all things are yours, and ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Princes have peculiar power. A prince of heaven’s empire has great influence: he wields a sceptre in his own domain; he sits upon Jesus’ throne, for “He hath made us kings and priests unto God, and we shall reign for ever and ever.” We reign over the united kingdom of time and eternity. Princes, again, have special honour. We may look down upon all earth-born dignity from the eminence upon which grace has placed us. For what is human grandeur to this, “He hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus”? We share the honour of Christ, and compared with this, earthly splendours are not worth a thought. Communion with Jesus is a richer gem than ever glittered in imperial diadem. Union with the Lord is a coronet of beauty outshining all the blaze of imperial pomp.
Praise God, Ye Servants of the Lord
by William B Bradbury
Praise God, ye servants of the Lord,
O praise His Name with one accord;
Bless ye the Lord, His Name adore
From this time forth forevermore,
From this time forth forevermore.
From rising unto setting sun
Praised be the Lord, the Mighty One;
He reigns o’er all, supreme in might,
Above the heavens in glory bright,
Above the heavens in glory bright.
On whom but God can we rely,
The Lord our God Who reigns on high,
Who condescends to see and know
The things of heaven and earth below,
The things of heaven and earth below?
He lifts the poor and makes them great,
With joy He fills the desolate;
Praise ye the Lord and bless His Name,
His mercy and His might proclaim,
His mercy and His might proclaim.
The barren woman feels His power
And comes to sacred motherhood,
Adorns with grace the home of man.
Sing hallelujah! God is good.
Psalm 113:9 He makes the barren woman abide in the house As a joyful mother of children. Praise the LORD! (makes: Ps 68:6 Ge 21:5-7 25:21 30:22,23 1Sa 2:5 Isa 54:1 Lk 1:13-15 Gal 4:27)
Barren (06135)('aqar) means childless, infertile, sterile, barren and pertains to being sexually infertile. For a male it means not to be able to inseminate a female. For a woman it means not able to bear children.
'Aqar - 11x - Ge 11:30; 25:21; 29:31; Ex 23:26; Dt 7:14; Jdg. 13:2f; 1Sa 2:5; Job 24:21; Ps. 113:9; Isa 54:1. NAS translates 'aqar as - barren(8), barren one(1), barren woman(1), barren woman(1).
The curse of barrenness was so bitter a thing in Jewish eyes, that its removal was hailed as a special mark of Divine favor. The allusion to it here was suggested, doubtless, by Hannah’s history, and by the strain of Hannah’s song already quoted: see 1Sa 2:5. “maketh her who is the barren of the house to dwell,” i.e. maketh her who through barrenness has no family to have a family, and so a fixed, settled habitation in the land. A barren woman might be divorced, or another taken besides her; but, having children, her position in the house is sure. (Ibid)
As a joyful mother of children - As He did in the lives of a number of "barren" women (see Barrick's comment below).
Praise the LORD - The writer ends at the beginning so to speak. Indeed, is not the Alpha and the Omega, worthy of our first and last laudations!
Henry Law - "Praise the Lord" was the first note. "Praise the Lord" is now the last. "Praise the Lord" should be our utterance first, midst, and last in time and throughout eternity. (Psalm 113)
Here is the most individual and personal setting. God cares for the barren woman.
Sarah (Ge 11:30; 18:10)
Rebekkah (Ge 25:21)
Rachel (Ge 29:31; 30:22-23)
Samson’s mother (Jdg 13:2-3)
Hannah (1Sa 1:6, 19-20)
Elizabeth (Lk 1:7, 13, 36) ()
Alexander Maclaren notes that
"the definite article is irregularly prefixed to “sons,” as if the poet “points with his finger to the children with whom God blesses her” (Delitzsch, u. s.) Thus Israel, with her restored children about her, is secure in her home. That restoration was the signal instance of Jehovah’s condescension and delight in raising the lowly. It was therefore the great occasion for world-wide and age-long praise. (The Expositor's Bible)
Spurgeon's Exposition -
He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. The strong desire of the easterns to have children caused the birth of offspring to be hailed as the choicest of favours, while barrenness was regarded as a curse; hence this verse is placed last as if to crown the whole, and to serve as a climax to the story of God's mercy. The glorious Lord displays his condescending grace in regarding those who are despised on account of their barrenness, whether it be of body or of soul. Sarah, Rachel, the wife of Manoah, Hannah, Elizabeth, and others were all instances of the miraculous power of God in literally fulfilling the statement of the psalmist. Women were not supposed to have a house till they had children; but in certain cases where childless women pined in secret the Lord visited them in mercy, and made them not only to have a house, but to keep it. The Gentile church is a spiritual example upon a large scale of the gift of fruitfulness after long years of hopeless barrenness; and the Jewish church in the latter days will be another amazing display of the same quickening power: long forsaken for her spiritual adultery, Israel shall be forgiven, and restored, and joyously shall she keep that house which now is left unto her desolate. Nor is this all, each believer in the Lord Jesus must at times have mourned his lamentable barrenness; he has appeared to be a dry tree yielding no fruit to the Lord, and yet when visited by the Holy Ghost, he has found himself suddenly to be like Aaron's rod, which budded, and blossomed, and brought forth almonds. Or ever we have been aware, our barren heart has kept house, and entertained the Saviour, our graces have been multiplied as if many children had come to us at a single birth, and we have exceedingly rejoiced before the Lord. Then have we marvelled greatly at the Lord who dwelleth on high, that he has deigned to visit such poor worthless things. Like Mary, we have lifted up our Magnificat, and like Hannah, we have said, "There is none holy as the Lord; for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God." Praise ye the LORD.
(Praise the LORD) The music concludes upon its key note. The Psalm is a circle, ending where it began, praising the Lord from its first syllable to its last. May our life psalm partake of the same character, and never know a break or a conclusion. In an endless circle let us bless the Lord, whose mercies never cease. Let us praise him in youth, and all along our years of strength; and when we bow in the ripeness of abundant age, let us still praise the Lord, who doth not cast off his old servants.
Let us not only praise God ourselves, but exhort others to do it; and if we meet with any of the needy who have been enriched, and with the barren who have been made fruitful, let us join with them in extolling the name of him whose mercy endureth for ever. Having been ourselves lifted from spiritual beggary and barrenness, let us never forget our former estate or the grace which has visited us, but world without end let us praise the Lord. Hallelujah (Treasury of David—Psalm 113)
F B Meyer
This is an evident reference to Hannah’s psalm of thanksgiving, when she had born Samuel, and God had taken away her reproach. Her story, and these words, should be a great comfort to those who have never been used in soul-winning. Remember, too, how Sarah received strength by faith to bear a child, because she counted Him faithful that promised. God can make barren souls authors of life to thousands. These are the conditions:—
Be content, like Hannah, to cherish a sorrowful spirit. Weep before the Lord. Let your request be poured out before God at Shiloh, with the moving lips, though the voice be inaudible. Ask of God with strong crying and tears, that He would still the taunts of your adversary. Souls are only born to those who cannot live without them.
Next, look away from all creature help to God’s faithful promise, and believe that He can make you to become spiritually productive. Claim this of Him. Believe that of stones He can raise up children. Hold Him to his own word. Remind Him of his promise, “I will make thee exceeding fruitful.”
Hannah promised that her child should be given to the Lord; and Samuel, when old enough, was brought to the Temple in pursuance of her vow. We are too apt to take the glory and credit of soul-winning, instead of acknowledging that, as we could not bear them apart from God, so we may not keep them when they are given. Those who, like Hannah, give their Samuels to God, like her can also break forth and sing, “My heart exulteth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord; because I rejoice in thy salvation.” (Our Daily Homily)
G Campbell Morgan
This is the first of six Psalms (Ps 113-118) constituting the Hallel, or the Great Hallel. This song was sung at Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. It is impossible for me to read it without remembering that it was almost certainly the song which Jesus sang with His disciples in the upper room ere He passed out to Gethsemane and Calvary. The first two (Ps 113 and Ps 114) were sung before the meal; and the last four (115-118) at the close. This first song is one in praise of Jehovah for the condescending grace which characterizes Him. Here, as so constantly, poetry, in its daring, utters a truth which prose would fear to speak. The singer says that the Seat of God is so high that in order to behold the things in heaven and on the earth He has to humble Himself; that is to stoop. Then the purpose of that stooping is revealed; it is that He may raise the poor, and lift the needy. The final note is this we have emphasized, in which God acts so as to crown womanhood with motherhood. Rotherham says: "Only to think it possible that a King wrote this Psalm while waiting in patience for the birth of his first-born, is to catch a glimpse of Sacred Romance." That is true; but when we think of it as sung by the First-born under the Shadow of the Cross, we find ourselves in the full glory of that Romance. In Him the God Who dwells in the heights, above the heavens, had stooped through Motherhood, He being "God-only-born" (John 1.18), in order that He might lift the needy. As He approached the ultimate depths in this stooping, He sang the song which offers praise to God for this condescending grace, which through motherhood reached men, that they might be reborn and thus raised to sit amid the royalties.
C H Spurgeon
This Psalm is one of pure praise, and contains but little which requires exposition; a warm heart full of admiring adoration of the Most High will best of all comprehend this sacred hymn. Its subject is the greatness and condescending goodness of the God of Israel, as exhibited in lifting up the needy from their low estate. It may fitly be sung by the church during a period of revival after it has long been minished and brought low. With this Psalm begins the Hallel, or Hallelujah of the Jews, which was sung at their solemn feasts: we will therefore call it THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE HALLEL. Dr. Edersheim tells us that the Talmud dwells upon the peculiar suitableness of the Hallel to the Passover, "since it not only recorded the goodness of God towards Israel, but especially their deliverance from Egypt, and therefore appropriately opened with Praise ye Jehovah, ye servants of Jehovah, —and no longer servants of Pharaoh.
If God's own servants do not praise him, who will? Ye are a people near unto him, and should be heartiest in your loving gratitude.
While they were slaves of Pharaoh, the Israelites uttered groans and sighs by reason of their hard bondage; but now that they had become servants of the Lord, they were to express themselves in songs of joy. His service is perfect freedom, and those who fully enter into it discover in that service a thousand reasons for adoration. They are sure to praise God best who serve him best; indeed, service is praise. Praise the name of the LORD: extol his revealed character, magnify every sacred attribute, exult in all his doings, and reverence the very name by which he is called. The name of Jehovah is thrice used in this verse, and may by us who understand the doctrine of the Trinity in Unity be regarded as a thinly veiled allusion to that holy mystery. Let Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, all be praised as the one, only, living, and true God. The close following of the words, "Hallelujah, Hallelu, Hallelu, "must have had a fine effect in the public services. Dr. Edersheim describes the temple service as responsive, and says, "Every first line of a Psalm was repeated by the people, while to each of the others they responded by a Hallelu Jah or Praise ye the Lord"thus—
The Levites began: Hallelujah (Praise ye the Lord).
The people repeated: Hallelu Jah.
The Levites: Praise (Hallelu), O ye servants of Jehovah.
The people responded: Hallelu Jah.
The Levites: Praise (Hallelu) the name of Jehovah.
The people responded: Hallelu Jah.
These were not vain repetitions, for the theme is one which we ought to dwell upon; it should be deeply impressed upon the soul, and perseveringly kept prominent in the life.
While praising him aloud, the people were also to bless him in the silence of their hearts, wishing glory to his name, success to his cause, and triumph to his truth. By mentioning the name, the Psalmist would teach us to bless each of the attributes of the Most High, which are as it were the letters of his name; not quarrelling with his justice or his severity, nor servilely dreading his power, but accepting him as we find him revealed in the inspired word and by his own acts, and loving him and praising him as such. We must not give the Lord a new name nor invent a new nature, for that would be the setting up of a false god. Every time we think of the God of Scripture we should bless him, and his august name should never be pronounced without joyful reverence. From this time forth. If we have never praised him before, let us begin now. As the Passover stood at the beginning of the year it was well to commence the new year with blessing him who wrought deliverance for his people. Every solemn feast had its own happy associations, and might be regarded as a fresh starting place for adoration. Are there not reasons why the reader should make the present day the opening of a year of praise? When the Lord says, "From this time will I bless you, "we ought to reply, "Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth." And for evermore: eternally. The Psalmist could not have intended that the divine praise should cease at a future date however remote. "For evermore" in reference to the praise of God must signify endless duration: are we wrong in believing that it bears the same meaning when it refers to gloomier themes? Can our hearts ever cease to praise the name of the Lord? Can we imagine a period in which the praises of Israel shall no more surround the throne of the Divine Majesty? Impossible. For ever, and more than "for ever, "if more can be, let him be magnified.
PRAISE HIS HOLY NAME
Praise permeates Psalm 113:1.. Indeed in verse 1 the psalmist immediately issues a command in triplicate for a resounding chorus of PRAISE to the majestic Triune God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit! Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him! As Matthew Henry wisely observes the psalmist's "invitation is very pressing!" Indeed, "Praise is becoming (befitting, suited, appropriate) to the upright (in heart)." (Ps 33:1-note) We should always be ready to "Praise the LORD" doing so not out of drudgery but delight "because the LORD is good." We should frequently "Sing praises to His NAME, for it is lovely." (Ps 135:3-note) "O may Your glorious NAME be blessed and exalted above all blessing and PRAISE! You Alone are the LORD." (Neh 9:5-6) Let (all creation - Ps 148:7-12-note) PRAISE the NAME of the LORD, for His NAME alone is exalted. His glory is above earth and heaven. (Ps 148:13-note) And so "Te Deum Laudamus" - "We praise Thee, O God."
Beloved, in the sphere of spiritual disciplines, one of our loftiest pursuits is to offer praise to the Most High God! In fact Paul says the supreme purpose of Christ's gift of redemption is for the redeemed to "bring praise and glory to God." (Eph 1:12NLT-note) Indeed, the delightful duty and precious privilege of praise is one of the chief lessons of the entire book of Psalms (Hebrew title = "the book of praises"). A W Pink wrote that "Praising and adoring God is the noblest part of the saint's work on earth, as it will be his chief employ in heaven." Remember that all men praise what they value highly! If Christ is our heart's highest prize, His praise will be our greatest joy. This begs the question -- Am I living a lifestyle of praise like David who declared "I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart." (Ps 9:1-note) Do my lips and life sing "PRAISE the LORD! (Hallelujah)" knowing that "it is good to sing PRAISE to our God, for it is pleasant and His PRAISE is fitting (appropriate)?" (Ps 147:1-note) Recall that Paul commands us to continually (not rarely) "let our mind dwell (meditate, take inventory)" on "anything worthy of praise!" (Phil 4:8-note) How fitting that David, a man after God's own heart (which we all desire to be), meditated frequently on the supremacy of His God, Who Alone is "worthy of praise" and this stirred David to "call upon the LORD, Who is worthy to be praised." (Ps 18:3-note) And to declare "Because Thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips will praise Thee." (Ps 63:3-note) Spurgeon asks "Does not all nature around me praise God? (cf Ps 98:7, 8-note) If I were silent, I should be an exception to the universe. Does not the thunder praise Him as it rolls like drums in the march of the God of armies? (cp Ps 68:33NLT-note) Do not the mountains praise Him when the woods upon their summits wave in adoration? (cp Isa 55:12) Does not the lightning write His name in letters of fire? Has not the whole earth a voice? (cp Ps 96:11-12NLT-note) And shall I, can I, silent be?" (cp Lk 19:40) Pithy, convicting questions indeed!
Katherine Mansfield was a brilliant writer but she did not believe in a personal God. When she moved to Switzerland for health reasons, she found herself rejoicing in the beauty of God's creation, the refreshing mountain air and the majesty of the Alps filling her with a desire to praise, prompting her to write “If only one could make some small grasshoppery sound of praise to someone--thanks to someone. BUT WHO?" After finishing a new novel she wrote "Laid down the pen after writing 'Thanks be to God.' I wish there was a God. I am longing to (1) praise him (2) thank him." Matthew Henry wrote "What a pity it is that this earth, which is so full of God’s goodness, should be so empty of His praises, and that of the multitudes that live upon His bounty there are so few that live to His glory!” How sad for someone created in the image of God to feel a need to offer praise for the beauty of creation and yet not know their Creator and not be able to "Praise His glorious Name forever...Amen, and Amen." (Ps 72:19-note) How privileged are those who know Him as Abba! How our love for Him as our dear Abba should stir in our soul a passion for praise to His Holy Name! A Puritan prayerfully expressed his soul's desire this way "May my lips be well-tuned cymbals sounding Thy praise. Help me, defend me, until from praying ground I pass to the realm of unceasing praise." (Valley of Vision) Charles Wesley cried "O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer’s praise!"
Spurgeon says that "PRAISE is an essential offering at all the solemn feasts of the people of God. Prayer is the myrrh, and praise is the frankincense, and both of these must be presented unto the Lord. How can we pray for mercy for the future if we do not bless God for His love in the past? The Lord hath wrought all good things for us, let us therefore adore Him. All other praise is to be excluded, the entire devotion of the soul must be poured out unto Jehovah only." As an old Puritan wrote how blessed we are when "prayer turns wholly into praise (and our supplications are swallowed up in praise), and all we can do is to adore and love Thee." (Valley of Vision)
Note that in Ps 113:1-note the psalmist says it is God's "servants" (believers) who praise Him. Indeed, "You who fear the LORD, praise Him!" (Ps 22:23-note) As Spurgeon says "If God's own servants do not PRAISE His Name, who will? We are the people near unto Him, and should be heartiest in our loving gratitude. Prayer is now a privilege, and PRAISE is a holiday. To obey (the command to praise Him) is heaven; to give to the cause of God (praise) is a banquet." And so the psalmist asks us to ponder the question -- "Who can ever praise Him enough?" (Ps 106:2NLT-note) Praise is promoted by pondering His majestic character, especially as revealed in His many glorious Names. If you are not regularly praising His Name, perhaps you are not enjoying His presence enough. C S Lewis said “I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because praise does not not merely express but completes the enjoyment. It is its appointed consummation. It is not simply to complement that lovers keep telling one another how beautiful they are. The delight itself is incomplete until it is expressed." As Steven Cole says “If we delight in a beautiful sunset, we want to extol its beauty to others. Our enjoyment of it spontaneously overflows into praise. Our enjoyment of Who God is and what He has done for us will also erupt in heartfelt praise.” "Praise flows out of a heart that delights in God, a heart that knows God, a heart that is familiar with His goodness and character." (Padrick)
Note also that each call to Praise the LORD in Ps 113:1-note is in the form of an imperative (and in the Greek praise is present tense calling for a "lifestyle of praise!"). And so praise to Yahweh should not be an occasional afterthought, but our Spirit filled (enabled) ever present, pleasurable practice! Indeed it is fitting then that "Praise the LORD!" like "divine bookends" begins and ends Psalm 113 (Ps 113:1 and Ps 113:9), providing us a pattern for a daily practice of praising Him "from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same." John Calvin said that "Praise is the best of all sacrifices and the true evidence of godliness." However, Erwin Lutzer cautions us to be aware that "You don’t learn to praise in a day, especially since you may have been complaining for years! New habits take time to develop. But you can begin today, and practice tomorrow, and the next day, until it becomes part of your inmost being." As the psalmist says "Seven times a day I praise Thee, because of Thy righteous ordinances." (Ps 119:164-note) What effect might such a Spirit enabled lifestyle ("filled with the Spirit" speaking forth psalms. Eph 5:18-19-note), daily robed in "the garment of praise" (Isa 61:3KJV), have on the state of our soul? Surely a frequent heavenly uplook will radically impact our daily earthly outlook! J I Packer adds that "Praising energizes and renews praying." Paul Bilheimer writes that "Praise decentralizes self." Indeed, praise is looking up which fosters a life of worship (bowing down)! Praise deepens intimacy with God, for Ps 22:3KJV-note says He inhabits the praises of His people. Josh McDowell says "The more you praise God for being Who He is—a loving God Who judges righteously—the more you can act upon your belief of what He is—eternal love." Finally, it is notable that the word PRAISE occurs over 300 times in the Bible, and the word PRAYER occurs about 135 times. While we can't truly compare the value of praise versus prayer (or even say there is always a significant difference), it is impossible to overestimate the uplifting power of praise in our lives!
In light of the command to praise and the precious value of praise, could I challenge you (and myself) to "discipline yourself for godliness" (1Ti 4:7-note) by (at the very least) beginning and ending each new day with a "Holy Hallel" in your heart and on your lips? Paul encourages us with the truth that godly disciplines such as this are profitable "since they hold promise for the present life and also for the life to come!" (1Ti 4:8-note). Praise Him with your lips. Praise Him with your life. Praise Him with your substance. Praise Him with every faculty and capacity.
Lord give us a heart like David who declared "Every day I will bless Thee, and I will PRAISE Thy NAME forever and ever. I will extol the LORD at all times. His PRAISE will always be on my lips." Amen (Ps 145:2-note, Ps 34:1-note) Commenting on Ps 145:2 John Phillips writes that "David determined never to let a day go by without discovering some way to freight it down with praise. What a noble ambition for us to emulate--and all because David was looking forward to praising God forever and ever in yonder bright regions of joy. He wanted to be in practice." Warren Wiersbe concurs writing "We will spend all eternity praising the greatness of our God, greatness (which) is unsearchable." And so it follows that our praise shall be unending! To be sure, praise in this brief passing life is simply preparation for perpetual praise in eternity future. As Puritan John Boys put it "The servants of the Lord are to sing His praises in this life to the world's end; and in the next life world without end." Hallelujah!
PRAISE HIS HOLY NAME - "Praise the LORD, O my soul, all my inmost being, praise His holy NAME. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and never forget the good things He does for me." (Ps 103:1-note) "I will give thanks to the LORD according to His righteousness and will sing praise to the NAME of the LORD Most High." (Ps 7:17-note) "I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to Your NAME, O Most High." (Ps 9:2-note) I will tell of Your NAME to my brethren; In the midst of the congregation I will praise You. (Ps 22:22-note) Sing praise to the LORD, you His godly ones, and give thanks to His holy NAME. (Ps 30:4-note) "Like your NAME, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth...." (Ps 48:10-note) "I will sing praise to Your NAME forever" (Ps 61:8a-note) "Sing the glory of His NAME; Make His praise glorious." (Ps 66:2-note) "I will praise the NAME of God with song and magnify Him with thanksgiving." (Ps 69:30-note) "Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace; may the poor and needy praise your NAME." (Ps 74:21-note) "Let them praise Your great and awesome NAME; Holy is He." (Ps 99:3-note) "Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His NAME." (Ps 100:4-note) "Praise the LORD! Praise the NAME of the LORD; Praise Him, O servants of the LORD" (Ps 135:1-note) "My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD, and all flesh will bless His holy NAME forever and ever." (Ps 145:21-note) Let them praise His NAME with dancing; Let them sing praises to Him with timbrel and lyre. (Ps 149:3-note) Let them praise the NAME of the LORD, for He commanded and they were created. (Ps 148:5-note)
"Through Him (Jesus our Great High Priest) let us continually (as our lifestyle) offer up a SACRIFICE OF PRAISE to God (the essence of real worship), that is, the fruit of lips (real, heartfelt, verbal praise out of our mouth as the fruit and overflow of our heart) that give thanks to His NAME. (Heb 13:15-note) Joni Eareckson Tada reminds us that "A SACRIFICE OF PRAISE will always cost you something. It will be a difficult thing to do. It requires trading in our pride, our anger, and most valued of all, our human logic. We will be compelled to voice our words of praise firmly and precisely, even as our logic screams that God has no idea what He’s doing. Most of the verses written about praise in God’s Word were penned by men and women who faced crushing heartaches, injustice, treachery, slander, and scores of other intolerable situations." John Piper agrees calling us to "praise God continually through good times and bad times—wherever our pilgrim journey takes us. There are not praise-God times and criticize-God times. There are only praise-God times. That doesn’t mean there are no tears. And it doesn’t mean there are no perplexities about the way God works. But it does mean that through tears and unanswered questions we praise the Lord. We speak well of Him. We don’t call Him into question. We submit to Him as wise and powerful and good."
Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow, Praise Him, all creatures here below, Praise Him above, ye heavenly host, Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. AMEN.
P - Personal - Praise nurtures intimacy with Abba
R - Read - Praise Him as you read the songs of Psalms
A - Always - Praise Him at all times, in all ways
I - In the Spirit - Praise Him filled with His Spirit
S - Sing - Praise Him with hymns, psalms, spiritual songs
E - Everywhere - Praise the Creator for His creation
INDEED - "Let everything that has breath PRAISE THE LORD. PRAISE THE LORD!" (Ps 150:6-note)
Play Paul Wilbur's beautiful rendition of PRAISE ADONAI