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Saturday, January 7, 2017

PSALM 146

verses 7-10

Be the glitter, the sparkle in a dark world.


"Who executes justice for the oppressed;
Who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free.
The Lord opens the eyes of the blind;
The Lord raises up those who are bowed down;
The Lord loves the righteous;
The Lord protects the strangers;
He supports the fatherless and the widow,
But He thwarts the way of the wicked.
The Lord will reign forever,
Your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the Lord!"


Herein is a triple blessing:
Justice, bread, liberty
This is a huge chunk to chew,
but here we go!

Charles Spurgeon said that God is "Never the respecter of persons.  He is the friend to the downtrodden, the avenger of the persecuted, the champion of the helpless...Thou dost not only mete out justice, but Thou dost dispense bounty."


I spent some hours this week with a woman I had never met before.  She repeated a story that her father told her of going hungry as a child.  His father was a roofer, however, a roofer in Maine would not have much work during the winter due to the snow.  Besides that, he drank all their money away.  As a last resort, the lad's mother would cut an onion and boil it in water for just a bit, then save it for the next meal.  That was it.  Boiled onion water for supper.  My father existed on cornbread and milk for much of his growing up years, rich in comparison.  How soon we forget our bounty.

These verses remind me of the passage in Isaiah 61, the verses Jesus quoted when He read them aloud in the temple at Nazareth and shocked them all by saying, "'Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.'  And all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips; and they were saying, 'Is this not Joseph's son?'"  Here it is in the Old Testament from which He quoted verses 1 & 2...


"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And freedom to prisoners;
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord"
(Go on and read the rest of Isaiah 61 for it is a beautiful passage.)

So from David's lips, to Isaiah's prophecy to the fulfillment in Christ Jesus, we now see these verses as prophetic of the coming Messiah.


"Jehovah loves not to see men pining in dungeons or fretting in fetters:
Jesus is the Emancipator."
(Spurgeon)

When John the Baptist while in prison heard of all Jesus was doing, he sent some of his disciples to Jesus to ask, "Are you the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else"  "Jesus answered and said to them, 'Go and report to John what you hear and see; the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them.'"



Matthew Henry says, "The name Jehovah is repeated five time in five lines to intimate that it is an almighty power, that of Jehovah, that is engaged and exerted for the relief of the oppressed; and that it is as much to the glory of God to succor them that are in misery, as it is to ride on the heavens by His name."

Spurgeon says, "He who made the eye can open it, and when He does so it is to His glory.  Jehovah consoles the bereaved, cheers the defeated, solaces the despondent, comforts the despairing...so magnify His name with enthusiastic delight.  Loved ones, you must never be absent from the choir!"

"The expression ('opens the eye of the blind') may be used figuratively, as a remedy applied either to physical helplessness (Deut. 28:29, Isaiah 59:9-10, John 12:25) or spiritual want of discernment (Isaiah 29:18, 42:7,  43:8)  J.J. Stewart Perowne

The Arabic version, "Jehovah by His wisdom illumines dark minds.  It is mental blindness which is the common affliction of men."  John Lorinus


How easily we forget that we are the ones who walk in the light while others, though the world may think they are important, walk in darkness.  Yet, too often we are tempted to follow their "leadership" into the darkness as well. The world is in a crazy place right now, unable to discern right from wrong.  This is where we are to shine, not hidden under a bushel.



"He supports the fatherless and the widow"

"When the secondary father is gone, the child falls back upon the primary fatherhood of the Creator; when the husband of earth is removed, the godly widow cast herself upon the care of her Maker." (Spurgeon)  The Jews had laws to protect the most vulnerable like the fatherless and widows.


"The Lord preserveth the strangers. 
God has a peculiar heart for wanderers and pilgrims."
Thomas Le Blanc 

"The truth that His chosen are strangers in this world."  How was the Gospel shared, taken to the ends of the earth as Jesus commanded before He left," "Go and make disciples of all the nations"?  It was the Dispersion, the persecution which drove them out of their country to be foreigners, to shed their light abroad.


Jerusalem

"He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing.  So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt." (Deuteronomy 10:18-19)

Adam Clarke thinks these verses refer to the Jews in captivity who were the aliens, the foreigners.  The Jews were always to allow aliens to join them, those who would embrace their God like Ruth, "Your God will be my God."  It wasn't a wide-open acceptance of those who would be averse to the next verses, "You shall fear the Lord your God; you shall serve Him and cling to Him...He is your praise."  
"But He thwarts the way of the wicked."


Don't you just love the word "thwarts."  You can almost hear it as in a switching, thwart, thwart, thwart!  Johannes Paulus Palanterius says, "Like Satan falling as lightning from heaven, the wicked are shown dashed down the whole way from the summit of pride to the depths of hell."  Edin (1656) said, "...for God, who stands by all the while looks on, will, with one small touch, with the least breath of His wrath, blast and break all to pieces." 


That's what happens to those wicked who  fail to execute justice, who deny food to the hungry, oppress the prisoner, who kick at those already bowed down, who ignore or steal from the blind, who oppress the stranger, the widow and orphan.  Don't mess with God's children or else...


Finally, "The Lord shall reign forever.  Jehovah King, and His kingdom can never come to an end.  Neither does He die, nor abdicate, nor lose His crown by force...so enter His courts with praise....Praise ye the Lord.  Again they said Hallelujah...Are we not prepared for an outburst of holy song?"  (Spurgeon)











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