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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Psalm 147:7-11 - Why should we praise God? Because he is faithful

In this second section of the psalm, the unknown psalmist mentions the methodical way the Lord provides for his lower creatures. So we can imagine a sheep thinking to itself, ‘My Creator covered the heavens with clouds, sent rain, and made the grass grow in order for me to be able to eat it. I don’t know how many sheep he does this for, but I know he does it for all of them.’ If that sheep could speak, and if it could really understand the process, do you think it would be thankful? But it cannot. Yet the psalmist says that a higher creature should give thanks to God for that process, and those higher creatures are his redeemed people (v. 7). It looks as if the psalmist here is saying that Christians should take account in their thanksgiving of the good that the Lord does for the lower creatures. That is very fitting for his higher creatures to do.

Although God does a great deal continually for the lower creatures, they are not his greatest delight. It looks as if the psalmist is referring to persistence in verse 10, be it in the ability of a strong horse to keep going or in the capability of a fit man to keep on running. Such persistence is not the kind that God finds great delight in. Instead, the form of persistence that pleases him occurs when his people continue to reverence him whatever the circumstances and continue to hope in his covenant commitments regarding the future. We can understand why those who returned from the exile would have to exercise persistence as they waited for God to fulfil his promises. And so do we, as we wait for him to respond to our prayers as well as to fulfill his many other promises.

It is important to know that our perseverance in trusting the Lord pleases him greatly. Sometimes we wonder whether it is more beneficial for us to live in spiritually prosperous times or in times like today. While the former has its own benefits, it is important to remind ourselves that on the Great Day we may discover that the Lord thought more of his people’s faithfulness in dark times than when the going was easier. Our faithfulness reveals what we think of his faithfulness.

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