Wednesday, January 11, 2017


Backtracking a wee bit..

We're about to go praise-zee again.

"Praise the Lord!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
For it is pleasant and praise is becoming.
The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
He gather the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted
And bind up their wounds.
He counts the number of the stars;
He gives names to all of them."
(verses 1-4)

Praise is
good, pleasant, becoming, comely.
or as Spurgeon said,
"Praise is pleasant and proper,
sweet and suitable.
It is refreshing to the taste of the refined mind,
and it is agreeable to the eye of the pure in heart;
it is when duty and delight, benefit and beauty unite,
we ought not be backward."

"To praise God is comely for there is no greater stain than ingratitude. 
There is, then, all decency in the world in praise."
(William Nicholason)

"There is no heaven, either  in the world, or the world to come,
for people who do not praise God. 
If you do not enter into the spirit and worship of heaven,
how should the spirit and joy of heaven enter into you?"
(John Pulsford, 1857)

"The Lord builds up Jerusalem"

Some say that this Psalm refers to building up Jerusalem under David, but others after the Captivity.  Our city is built up with levees to keep from being flooding.  Back in the gold rush days, when coming down the mountain from Grass Valley and Nevada City, sometimes it looked like it was an ocean, so vast was the flooding.  All of Sacramento would go under water even.  Building up the city by way of the levees is a way to keep the city safe. 

Not only this, God builds up his people, from the weakest, from the most broken-hearted and wounded.  It makes me think of what my son-in-law was doing last night as a firefighter, rescuing ten homeless and handicapped people from the floodwaters as it took over their camps, not counting the forty or so dogs.  This is after the past couple of weeks sitting by his grandmother's bedside as she was dying, getting up in the night to see to her needs, remodeling his house so he can move his family back into a home of their own.  Yep, he was out rounding up the weak and wounded, the broken-hearted and just plain broken in this city that is built up to keep the floodwaters out.  These people do not have much, but boy do they cling to it, as they found themselves literally up to their necks in the river.  So instead of listening to the warnings to move to higher ground, they endanger the first responders and themselves as they are in the deeps with snakes and mice floating by in the dark.  Fun stuff, huh. 

And yet, in our Teen Challenge service Sunday, the Spirit was so sweet from the worship, to the testimonies of those whose lives have been changed to the breaking of the Word about the Bride-price.  We sang the song, "Emanuel God with Us," with a verse that spoke of our tiny offering, compared to Calvary.  I was so blessed to observe one of our congregants from the Mission put in two dimes into the offering.  This is the equivalent of the widow's mite, and I know how God honored that.  Then this man sang praise unto the Lord as if with the angels.  These are the ones spoken of in this Psalm, the ones who God heals and binds up.  We don't dare put them in a basket of "deplorables" and expect God to bless us.

"There are none so despicable in the eye of man,
but they are known and regarded by God."

"David might well have written about the outcasts for he himself had been one."
(Barton Boudier)

"The Lord Most High
has to do with the sick and the sorry,
with the wretched and the wounded!

From the bottom of the bone pile, we raise our eyes to the stars.

"Abraham could not comprehend the multitude of the children,
either of his faith or his flesh, more than he could count the number of stars;
yet the Lord knoweth every believer by name,
as he knoweth every star and can call it by name."
David Dickson

So if God can call each star by a name,
He knows the name of each homeless one
afraid to give up their muddy turf
even when the river rises.

And someday, I want to hear some of those names he gave to the stars!
Perhaps when you see a star twinkle, God has just called its name.

No comments:

Post a Comment