Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 147. (MsgB)
Hallelujah! It’s a good thing to sing praise to our God; praise is beautiful, praise is fitting.
Sing to God a thanksgiving hymn, play music on your instruments to God.
Jerusalem, worship God! Zion, praise your God! Hallelujah!
The Concluding Hallel (the last five Psalms in our Bibles) all begin and end with the unique Hebrew word hallelujah.
High praise to our High God.
So as we close out this blog session contemplating the Psalms, I’m struck with the multiple reasons God’s people are encouraged to hallelujah.To get out of our seats, raise a toast, and sing a hearty praise song to our Creator/King.
Last time, in Psalm 146, we find this:
Hallelujah Reason #1: God is large and in charge.
Today, we find the composer of Psalm 147 singing out at least three more specific reasons why you and I should always be ready to shout a hearty hallelujah to God:
First and foremost, it’s simply a good thing to do.
Did you realize that the experts out there who analyze such stuff say that those of us who believe in God and act accordingly on that belief, generally live happier and longer lives than those who don’t? In reality, the human existence is built in such a way that worshipping a higher power outside of ourselves is actually healthy for us! So when the psalmist says that it’s agoodthing to sing praise to our God, scientists today are actually proving these ancient words as being accurate!
Secondly, Psalm 147 states that lifting a hallelujah to God is beautiful.
For those who might question that thought, I offer Handel’s Messiah as just one piece of evidence that should convince us all that, indeed, high praise to the King can actually be so beautiful that it moves a person to tears. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how beautiful our human existence can become when we surround ourselves with some of the classic hymns of the faith composed over the last 2,000 years of church history.
Thirdly, the psalmist suggests that giving our hallelujahs to God is a fitting thing to do. As I see it, the psalmist is right. Who else in the cosmos, for example, is more worthy of praise? Seems to me that anybody who can create the moon, the stars, the earth, the sun, and the universe with one little word (see Genesis 1) is certainly worthy of a high hallelujah every now and then, don’t you?
So there you have it:
Hallelujah Reason #1 (Psalm 146): God is large and in charge.
Hallelujah Reason #2 (Psalm 147): It’s a good, beautiful, and fitting thing to do.
Now we’re starting to build a pretty good argument for people to freely praise the High King of Heaven.
Hmm. Kinda reminds me of Paul’s suggestion to the early church, reminding followers of Jesus when life gets tough to keep on keepin’ on, believing in and focusing exclusively on the good things in this life…
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4: 8)
I’m not sure about you, but I think it’s about time for me to get my eyes off of my troubles, turn my heart and eyes toward God, and let out a big, beautiful hallelujah to my King! Why? Because it’s, quite simply, a good, beautiful and fitting thing for me to do!
My prayer: Hallelujah, God, my Father. My high praise of You is indeed a very good thing. A beautiful thing. A fitting thing for me to do. What better action can I take in this lifetime than to stop what I’m doing, lift my arms to heaven, and give you all the honor, praise and glory, simply for who You are and all You do on my behalf? Hallelujah, Father. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: So when was the last time I stopped all my worry and anxiety about my problems and fixed my eyes and soul on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy? What might change in my perspective on life, if I chose to focus on such good, beautiful and fitting things instead of consistently looking at life through my doom and gloom glasses?
So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?
Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Contemplative Activist network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.
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