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Psalm 147

posted Feb 4, 2018, 11:03 AM by Steven Vaughan   [ updated Feb 4, 2018, 11:14 AM ]
Hallelujah!

How good to sing praise to our God; how pleasant to give fitting praise.
The LORD rebuilds Jerusalem, and gathers the dispersed of Israel, Healing the brokenhearted, and binding up their wounds.
He numbers the stars, and gives to all of them their names.
Great is our Lord, vast in power, with wisdom beyond measure.
The LORD gives aid to the poor, but casts the wicked to the ground.

Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; with the lyre make music to our God, Who covers the heavens with clouds, provides rain for the earth, makes grass sprout on the mountains,
Who gives animals their food and young ravens what they cry for.
He takes no delight in the strength of horses, no pleasure in the runner’s stride.
Rather the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, those who put their hope in his mercy.

Glorify the LORD, Jerusalem; Zion, offer praise to your God, For he has strengthened the bars of your gates, blessed your children within you.
He brings peace to your borders, and satisfies you with finest wheat.
He sends his command to earth; his word runs swiftly!
Thus he makes the snow like wool, and spreads the frost like ash; He disperses hail like crumbs. Who can withstand his cold?
Yet when again he issues his command, it melts them; he raises his winds and the waters flow.
He proclaims his word to Jacob, his statutes and laws to Israel.
He has not done this for any other nation; of such laws they know nothing.
Hallelujah!
This psalm conforms to the standard pattern of the hymn of praise, divided into three stanzas or sections each opening with a “call to praise” and then continuing by recounting "reasons for praise." The first section praises the powerful creator who restores exiled Judah; the second section praises the creator who provides food to animals and human beings; while the third urges the holy city to recognize it has been re-created and made the place of disclosure for God’s word. The audience is called to open our mouths, lift up our voices, and join in the psalmist's joyous song.

In Psalms 146-150, the word "praise" is found 40 times, and many know this group as the "praise collection." Each of these last five psalms starts and ends with "Praise the Lord!" (Hebrew, halelu; Greek, alleluia). Together, these psalms put a final exclamation point on the book of Psalms.

The author is unknown. Most scholars believe it was penned after the return of the Jews from their Babylonian captivity (beginning 535 B.C.); though a few think it's so similar in style to the psalms of David, it may have been written by him, though they admit probably not.

It’s the inspiration for many hymns, including “All Creatures of Our God and King”; “God of Our Fathers” and “Let All Things Now Living”.

The liturgical music journal GIA Quarterly advises liturgical ministers that “this responsorial psalm reminds us that the brokenhearted are especially precious to God, who binds up our wounds, numbers every star, and calls each one by name. If the day comes that heartache fills you and takes away your joy in ministry, today’s psalm can be a healing balm. It is a reminder that God watches over every thought and heeds our every tear.”