Thursday, December 14
Praise the Name of the LORD
1 Praise the LORD! Praise, O servants of the LORD, Praise the name of the LORD!
2 Blessed be the name of the LORD From this time forth and forevermore!
3 From the rising of the sun to its going down The LORD'S name is to be praised.
4 The LORD is high above all nations, His glory above the heavens.
5 Who is like the LORD our God, Who dwells on high,
6 Who humbles Himself to behold The things that are in the heavens and in the earth?
7 He raises the poor out of the dust, And lifts the needy out of the ash heap,
8 That He may seat him with princes-- With the princes of His people.
9 He grants the barren woman a home, Like a joyful mother of children. Praise the LORD!
Psalm 113 is the first of a group of psalms, Psalms 113-118, that were sung repeatedly throughout the year and in their entirety at the annual feasts of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles and at the time of the new moon. It was traditional for the Jewish people to sing Psalms 113-114 before they ate their Passover meal, and they closed the meal by singing 115-118.
In verses 1-3, we are to praise God because His name is the greatest! I’ll never forget my very first trip to the Holy Land in January 1972 with Jerry Falwell and the first 100 students that had enrolled in Lynchburg Baptist College. The most vivid picture that I still have in my mind was the dancing and singing of the Israeli young people in the streets. Their songs were songs of jubilee and praise to Jehovah for His protection and provision for them in a very difficult time. The music and the songs were very upbeat and happy!
In these first 3 verses we find the word "praise" four times. (vv. 1, 3). The psalmist specifically mentions that it is the “servants of Jehovah” that are to be praising the LORD. These servants might have been the singers in the temple choir in the newly restored temple, for this is a post-exilic psalm. But most likely he is addressing the entire nation of Israel, which is often called "God's servant" (Psalm 34:22; 69:36; 136:22; Isa. 41:8-9; 54:17).
Remember Israel had both the privilege and responsibility of sharing the true and living God with their Gentile neighbors. We read about this in Isaiah 42:6-8: "I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, And will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the Gentiles, To open blind eyes, To bring out prisoners from the prison, Those who sit in darkness from the prison house. I am the LORD, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images.”
The Apostle Paul quoted from Isaiah 42:6 and applied it to his own ministry and the ministry of the church in Acts 13:47 and alluded to it in Acts 26:23. God located the nation of Israel in the “Middle” of the ancient world so that their faith and testimony that Jehovah was the true and living God would be manifest and declared to everyone passing through there.
The word "name" is used three times in these verses and refers to the character of God and the revelation of who He is and what He does. God has a "good name" and that name should be magnified among those who have never trusted Him. To "glorify God" means to make God look good to those who ignore Him, oppose Him, or do not know Him. This kind of praise pays no attention to time ("forevermore") or space (“from east to west”). The prophet Malachi foresaw the day when the Gentiles would honor the name of the Lord (Mal. 1:11). God's name is attached to His covenant with Israel (Deut. 28:1-14), and both His name and His covenant can be trusted.
My friend, as believers it is still our privilege and responsibility to make His name famous to all the earth. And today that name is Jesus!!!!! And “those who know His name will put their trust in Him” (Psalm 9:10).