"A Life of Praise."
August 3, 2022, 4:55 PM

“A Life of Praise.”

Psalm 146

If I were to ask people who know you what you were like, what would they answer? How would people describe you? What are you known for? How would people describe your character and your conduct? In other words, how would people describe who you are and how you act? Whether we realize it or not, we have reputations. We may not always be the topic of conversations when we aren’t in the room, but I guarantee that each of us has earned a reputation with our friends, family, and even the clerks at the stores we frequent.

Are you known for being stingy? Are you known for being a grump? Are you known for being happy? Joyful, even when things are going badly? Are you known for being quiet or loud? Are you known for being courteous or rude? If you are Christian, are you known for being Christ-like? That is, are you known to be someone who shows Christ’s love to others?

We are not the first people to be concerned about reputations. The ancient Israelites were concerned about reputations too. Some of the ancient Israelites were, unfortunately, known for being just like their unbelieving neighbors. Instead of staying true to worshiping God alone, they decided to worship other gods like the other nations did. The Lord did not like this at all. Idolatry is an offense to God. In the covenant God made with Israel after the Exodus, God commanded Israel to have no other gods (Exodus 20:3). They were to be God’s unique nation. They were to live according to the Law that God had given them. This would give them a reputation among the nations as blessed, unique, and devoted wholly to the Lord who had delivered them out of Egypt.

Israel reflected God because they were in covenant with Him. Their actions reflected the God they worshipped. If they acted like all the other nations, then it showed that God wasn’t that unique. When the other nations observed Israel acting in a way contrary to God’s Law, they would have gotten the impression that God’s Law wasn’t worth much. After all, God’s own people didn’t follow it. This impression was wrong. God’s Law is perfect because He is perfect. God also keeps His word. Which the author of Psalm 146 reminds us. God had warned Israel that if they broke the covenant then would lose the land that God had given them. Eventually, after hundreds of years of calling His people to repent and return to Him, God let His people go into exile in Babylon and Assyria. God punished His people for not obeying Him.

Eventually, God’s people were allowed to return to the land. You can read more about that in the Book of Nehemiah in the Old Testament. When they returned to Jerusalem, they rebuilt the city walls and began to rebuild their identity as God’s covenant people. This is most likely the setting for Psalm 146. Although we don’t know who wrote or when, it seems like the psalmist is trying to remind people of who God is, and what God has done for them.

Psalm 146 begins with a call to praise God and then the author vows to worship God as long as he lives. This psalm is a praise psalm. It begins and ends with the Hebrew word, Hallelujah, which in English means “praise the Lord!” The author wants the reader to see that God is worth praising and that God alone has the power to save. Princes and other mortals don’t have the power to save us. Only God has that power. Only God can give salvation to His people. The lives of those who love God should be lives marked by praise.

The middle section of Psalm 146, verses 5-9 list reasons that we should trust God and praise Him. Why should we trust God?

  1. Those who trust in the covenant making God are blessed. The title God of Jacob is a title that points out that God is a covenant making God.
  2. God is the Creator. He created heaven, earth, the sea, and all the creatures that exist (including human beings). For God to be the Creator, He must be powerful beyond our wildest dreams! God is the powerful Creator.
  3. God is faithful. Always. Forever. God is true to His Word.
  4. God executes justice for the exploited.
  5. God provides food for the hungry.
  6. God frees prisoners.
  7. God gives sight to the blind.
  8. God raises up those who are victims of oppression. By now you should see that God has a special concern for those who are marginalized and vulnerable in society. That means we should have that same concern. After all, God uses His people to execute justice, provide food, comfort, and sometimes free prisoners, help those who are blind, and raise people out of oppressive situations.
  9. God loves the righteous and watches over them.
  10. God protects the resident aliens (foreigners who live in the land) and helps the orphan and the widow. This is the same theme we saw with numbers 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. God desires His people to care for those who are vulnerable in society because He cares for them.
  11. God frustrates the way of the wicked. God will not let the wicked triumph forever. The way of the wicked will end and they will meet judgement.
  12. The Lord reigns forever. God is the sovereign ruler of the universe.

God is worthy of our praise because of who He is and what He has done. The psalmist lists all these characteristics of God to show that God is worthy of praise. Because this is who God is, I will respond in praise. Will you? If you believe that Jesus is the Messiah, and that He was crucified, dead, buried, and rose again on the third day, are you living a life of praise? Are you known by others to be a follower of Christ? Would those who know you be surprised that you believe in Jesus? Do those in your life have enough evidence to see that you believe in Jesus? Is praise of God a dominant aspect of your life?