Over the next several days I’m reading in one of my favorite parts of the Bible – Psalms 146-150 – “Hymns of Praise”… they all have a strong vertical orientation focusing on God, His character, His worthiness of praise! (Just a sidelight for those who are involved in leading worship in a local church… My recommendation: Always try to begin your “worship set” with music that points people upward and leads them to focus on the awesome character of God! Reason? It prepares them to respond appropriately to Him later on as the worship experience develops… From the “for what it’s worth” department of an ol’ pastor and prof)
I used to tell my students when they’re studying a passage… “Always start by identifying the central truth of a passage (and as much as is possible, try to identify it in the very words of the Biblical writer!).” Sometimes repetition reveals it (as in this passage – Psalm 146), at other times the logic of the passage points to it, at other times the writer just comes out and says it. So what about Psalm 146 – what’s the “key idea?”…
IT’S “PRAISE THE LORD! PRAISE THE LORD, O MY SOUL!’ (verses 1 and 10 – a bracketed emphasis)
The reasons the Psalmist gives? Check out Verses 6–10
“He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— he remains faithful forever. He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. The Lord reigns forever – your God … for all generations!”
Wow! What a wonderful, awesome God, eh?!!
The resulting exhortation? “Do not put your trust in princes – in human being who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground – on that very day their plans come to nothing!” (verses 3-4)
Back to the key idea! … PRAISE THE LORD! (vs. 10b)
After I wrote this, I thought to myself … This sounds too much like an ol’ prof!! … Aw phooey! Once in a while it’s OK I guess, eh?