Monday, December 10, 2012

Psalm 146 & 147 - Praise Practice for Heaven

LINK: Psalm 146 & 147

BACKGROUND 


The last five psalms (146-150) are called the "Hallelujah Psalms" because they focus on pure praise of the LORD. The beginning phrase of all of them is "Praise the Lord"! This is the English transliteration of the Hebrew word, halelû-yāh, which is derived from the Hebrew words, hālal, meaning "shine/praise," and yāh, which is a contracted form of Yahweh, the personal (covenant) name of God and most frequent designation for Him in the Hebrew Scripture (5321 times). 

Psalm 146


The psalmist vows to praise God for his whole life. He is the only one we can trust in 100% for everything. God's help is contrasted with man's help which is not 100% trustworthy! The psalm mentions many things for which God should be praised: His creation, truth, judgment, provision, healing, protection, and eternal reign! 


Psalm 147 


This psalm is considered a "post-exilic" psalm because of the phrase "He gathers the 'banished/outcast/expelled/exiles" of Israel (147:2; Nehemiah 1:9). 


Many commentators believe this was the psalm Nehemiah read during the celebration and dedication when the people finished rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem (compare 147:2, 12-14 with Nehemiah 12:27-43). 


It starts and finishes with an exhortation to praise God who cares for all creation, creatures, and His people! 


REFLECTION 

Love this acrostic for praise:

Publicly 
Recounting the 
Acts of the 
Incomparable
Sovereign of 
Eternity 
Praising and adoring God 
is the noblest part
of the saint's work on earth,
as it will be his chief employ 
in heaven
(Daily Walk, June 30, 2008, p.35)

So why do we not do it constantly? What hinders us from pure praise every day of our lives? As I sit here in prayer this morning, I hear "lack of focus."  So, I will go with that. 

I must go with that! Since writing that last line, my family has all gotten up, and it has been a flurry of packing for our annual camping trip with two other families. In addition, my computer shock wave player keeps crashing because of unresolved problems between Google and Norton, a barrage of emails have come in begging to be responded to, and I was distracted by business. 


Everything clamors for our attention and keeps our focus off of the God who made it all (including the people who made Google and Norton and invented email and computers). 

What is a person to do? 


Focus on an ancient God in a 21st century world takes intentionality.  Just like those Olympic athletes that I have been watching this summer (yes I am completing the December posts in August due to a busy fall coming up). They achieved greatness through constant training and practice. We are in training and practice for heaven, and we need to learn to focus on the God we will be with into eternity! 


APPLICATION 


How intentional are you to make praise a daily part of your life? Why don't you set some clear and specific "praise" goals for the coming year? You may not win a gold, but you will certainly be blessed beyond measure!  


My application for today is to go outside RIGHT now and praise God in the beautiful sunshine (remember I am writing this in August, but we can praise Him on a cold December day by a warm fire too!). 


PRAYER

Draw us into focused praise of You, Lord. Amen. 
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