God’s powerful love is a powerful reason for us to praise him.
“Praise the LORD.
How good it is to sing praises to our God,
how pleasant and fitting to praise him!
The LORD builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the exiles of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
his understanding has no limit.
The LORD sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground.
Sing to the LORD with grateful praise;
make music to our God on the harp.
He covers the sky with clouds;
he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills.
He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call.
His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his delight in the legs of the warrior;
the LORD delights in those who fear him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love.
Extol the LORD, Jerusalem;
praise your God, Zion.
He strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your people within you.
He grants peace to your borders and satisfies you with the finest of wheat.
He sends his command to the earth;
his word runs swiftly.
He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes.
He hurls down his hail like pebbles.
Who can withstand his icy blast?
He sends his word and melts them;
he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow.
He has revealed his word to Jacob,
his laws and decrees to Israel.
He has done this for no other nation;
they do not know his laws.
Praise the LORD.” (Psalms 147:1–20)
There are two things that amaze the Psalmist in Psalm 147.
First, God is powerful: ‘Great is our Lord and mighty in power’. The Lord is the one who determines how many stars there are. He wields the clouds, the rain, the hail, the snow; he feeds beasts and people; he strengthens and weakens; he lifts and thwarts. He determines the rise and fall of nations – including the rise and fall of Jerusalem, the place where the Old Testament people of God called home. Everything and everyone is in his hand. He speaks, and things melt.
Secondly, this extraordinarily and amazingly powerful God loves. He loves his people. His love is ‘unfailing’. He uses his power to gather and rescue his people. He heals and binds up. He protects and he provides. He speaks and relates. He uses his power to love.
God’s powerful love is a powerful reason for us to praise him. His powerful love is most clearly seen in the Lord Jesus, who used his power to go to the cross to rescue and gather us into the safety of his kingdom. What a great reason to praise, to sing, to make music, and to fear. Praise the Lord.
Head: Read through Psalm 147 again, and as you read, think about which verses tell of his power, and which verses tell of his love. (A hint: some of them are both!)
Heart: Consider what it would be like if God were only loving (and not powerful), or only powerful (and not loving). How does the fact that he is a powerful lover make you feel?
Hands: Pray through Psalm 147, keeping in mind the fulfilment of God’s powerful love in Christ as you do so.
A song to listen to: Psalm 147b by Sons of Korah
Writer: Peter Yock