I have a friend who often recalls a song or two when he reads scripture. I’m sure an old Christian tune is rattling around in his head as he reads this Psalm. My guess would be that the song is “From the Rising of the Sun” by Ed Gungor, an old tune from the ’70s which connects with verse 3, “From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised!”
This psalm is part of a collection called Hallel, which are hymns of praise. Psalms 113-118 were sung during Passover, the celebration of the deliverance of Israel from Egypt. In the first century, psalm 113-114 were sung before the Passover meal, and 115-118 were sung after the meal.
This psalm is clearly a psalm of praise and blessing for the Lord. The psalmist begins with a threefold call praise the name of the Lord for who He is and all that the Lord has done as it refers to the events of the Exodus and Passover; focusing on the Lord’s enthronement over all the nations but also His presence with the people, especially with those who are helpless and vulnerable, specifically mentioning the poor and needy.
There is a fullness of praise and blessing because the Lord literally stoops down to touch our lives in the lower story of human affairs, and not just to touch human affairs, the Lord intervenes. He lifts humanity out of the mud and mess of our existence. He restores, frees, and gives us a place of high honor at the table with princes, and for the barren woman, the joy of a home and children. The image that comes to my mind is of a parent who picks up their muddy, messy child and holds them in their arms.
We are talking about the grace of the Lord. Remember that grace, at its core, is about the presence of the Lord condescending, (physically lowering Himself) to be with us. Think about it: the greatness of the Lord, the Creator, Maker, and Sustainer of all things miraculously, lovingly, and in a way that we can’t fathom enters the brokenness of our lives and the world to interact and intercede. However, what is astonishing is that the Lord is not acting in just a general sweeping sense encompassing all people, but also in a way that is astoundingly personal.
That’s what the psalmist is recognizing here. The mind-blowing thing that this psalmist doesn’t live to see, but unknowingly foreshadows, is the fullness of God’s love and grace in Jesus entering the mud and mess of our world. Can you imagine the praise that would be in the voice of the psalmist had he known Jesus?
What about you? What response is in your heart and voice, knowing the amazing love and grace of the Lord through the gift of His Son Jesus? It’s a joy that we know which cannot be overcome even by the darkest and deepest hurts of our lives. We know that we are held by our Heavenly Father.
He has condescended to lift you up and hold you. He holds you when things are good and awesome, but I like to think that the Lord holds you even closer in the hurt, the pain, the mess, and the brokenness. The Lord stoops down to hold you, and then He raises and lifts you up.
Ephesians 2:4–7 (ESV)
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
God bless you and know that you are prayed for constantly.