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  • Writer's picturePastor Mike

December 15 2023


Friday, December 15

The LORD Lifts Up the Needy

 

Psalm 113:4-9

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!

 

Despite our situation or circumstances, we still have so much to praise the LORD for! Psalm 113 was a such a song that was written by an anonymous writer to encourage the remnant that had returned to the Promise Land after the exile in Babylonian captivity. It was a difficult time for them and they were reminded with this psalm how great and wonderful their LORD is! We need those times or occasions where we are reminded of how the LORD took care of us in the past. First in verses 1-3, they are reminded to praise the name of Jehovah and all that it represents about the attributes and character of God.

 

Next, in verses 4-6 they are encouraged to praise God because there is no other God like Him. Earthly kings are concerned about the splendor and prominence of their thrones (2 Kings 25:27-30), but the Lord's throne is exalted above the nations and even above the heavens (Psalms 57:5, 11; 99:2). Today in the New Testament we need to remember that Jesus Christ is the King of Kings (Rev. 19:16; Ephesians 1:19-23; 4:10; Phil. 2:9-11).

 

The question in verses 5-6 reminds us of Exodus 15:11: "Who is like You, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, Fearful in praises, doing wonders?”  And also in Isaiah 40:25-26: "To whom then will you liken Me, Or to whom shall I be equal?" says the Holy One.” It is not our Lord's transcendence that captivates the psalmist but His willingness to "stoop down" and pay attention to mere mortals who do not always honor Him. Most ancient kings were inaccessible to their people, but our God sees us and knows our every need (138:6; Isa. 57:15). For the believer, God's throne is not only a throne of glory and authority, but it is also a throne of grace, a topic the psalmist explained in the next three verses.

 

The Lord in His grace not only sees us, but He cares for us and helps us. He "stoops down" and condescends to work on our behalf (Psalm 138:6-8). The picture in verses 7-8 comes from verses 7 and 8 of the song of Hannah (1 Samuel 2: 1-10), part of which was borrowed by Mary in her song of praise to God (Luke 1:46-55). Hannah was a barren wife to whom God gave a son, Samuel the judge and prophet. The history of Israel contains the stories of several barren women to whom God gave sons. It begins with Abraham's wife Sarah who gave birth to Isaac (Gen. 17:15-19), and then Isaac's wife Rebekah became the mother of Jacob, who fathered the twelve tribes of Israel (Gen. 25:19-23). Jacob's favorite wife Rachel gave birth to Joseph (Gen. 29:31; 30:22-24), the man who protected the sons of Israel in Egypt. Hannah gave birth to Samuel (1 Sam. 1:1-2:11), and Elizabeth gave birth to John the Baptist (Luke 1:13-15), the forerunner of Jesus Christ.

 

The “ash heap” was the gathering place of the outcasts of the city, the unwanted poor, and the diseased (Job 2:8). The sun would warm the ashes during the day and the ashes would keep the people warm at night. It was the one place that people avoided going near, but our God visits rejected people and changes their lives! If this is a post-exilic psalm, as many believe it is, this truth must have been a great encouragement to the Jewish remnant struggling to rebuild their nation and their lives.

 

The love of God and the grace of God made our God stoop to our level, especially when He sent Jesus Christ to become one of us and die for us on the cross (Phil. 2:1-11). In John 8:6 and 8 and 13:1-11, Jesus stooped to forgive a sinful woman and to wash His disciples' feet. But His greatest demonstration of grace was when He died for us on the cross. He condescended to become like us that we might become like Him (1 Cor. 1:26-29; Eph. 2:1-10). There can be no greater love (John 15:13). Only Jesus Christ can lift sinners out of the ash heap and put them on the throne! (Eph. 2:1-10). One day the Lord will visit "barren Israel" and bless the nation with many children (Isa. 54:1-3; 66:8-11).

 

No matter how dark the day or impossible the circumstances, our God is able to do the impossible (Eph. 3:19-20).

 

God bless!

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