Saturday, August 4, 2012

Executing Justice

Today we will begin Unit III, “Justice Promised”. The four lessons examine some of the Old Testament prophesies concerning God’s coming judgment. In the future lessons we shall study Major Prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. Today’s lesson is from Psalm 146.

‘Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul. While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.’ Ps 146:1-2 The authorship of this Psalm is attributed to David. The Hebrew word halal is translated into our English word Hallelujah. To halal or praise the Lord means to celebrate, boast, and give honor to God because He is worthy of our unconditional praise. David announced to the world that he would praise the Lord with his entire soul, his entire heart, as long as he lived, and despite the thinking of anyone else. See 2 Sam 6:16-23 for his shameless praise dance before God and his wife Michal’s, Saul’s daughter, reaction. David believed it was a requirement to bless His holy name within all His dominion with his whole soul. Ps 103:1, 22

‘Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.’ Ps 146:3-4 The writer then warns the readers not to put their trust in man for help. The best of men are still men at best. ‘It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.’ Ps 118:8 There is a work of protection and salvation that God will provide you that no man can ever provide. God is the everlasting Creator, but as the created, ‘…dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return…’ (Gen 3:19), and every man shall find a home in a grave, along with his ideas and dreams, whether good or bad. ‘Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD…Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.’ Jer 17:5, 7

Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God: Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever: Ps 146:5-6 The writer recognizes that he is blessed because he has the God of his forefather, Jacob for his help. Jacob’s name was later changed to Israel and he was the father of the twelve tribes. The writer acknowledges that Jacob/Israel sought God’s assistance for help and this is the only One who gave them hope. With the Lord God on their side, they had happiness and hope in whatever circumstances they found themselves. He was able to deliver them and they believed. The Lord God created everything and everyone. They were able to trust Him in time of need because truth would be His forever. False witness and lies was never to be found in His Kingdom.

‘Which executeth judgment for the oppressed: which giveth food to the hungry. The LORD looseth the prisoners: The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind: the LORD raiseth them that are bowed down: the LORD loveth the righteous: The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.’ Ps 146:7-9 In verse 6 above, the readers were introduced to two attributes of God: He is the Almighty Creator and He keeps truth forever. In other words, God created the heavens, earth, man, and everything in it. Also, it is impossible for God to lie or to go back on His Word. In verses 7-9, the readers are introduced to nine additional attributes of God, giving cause to praise His holy name. God is an advocator for the oppressed, the needy, the helpless and executes judgment on their behalf. He gives food to the hungry, both spiritually and physically. He sets the captives free from whatever prison they need to be released (drugs, bondage, etc.). He gives sight to the blind, no matter the origin or time of their blindness. He lifts up the bowed down heads due to the weight of burdens, depression, sorrow, and troubles. God loves the righteous because they obey Him and do right. He protects the strangers, fatherless, and widows. Wicked men will not find Him to be their friend for their ungodly ways. He will frustrate all of their ways.

‘The LORD shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the LORD.’ Ps 146:10 The Lord shall reign forever and ever. He has created and assisted you, Zion, a/k/a Jerusalem, throughout all generations. He can never fail. His dynasty won’t change, but the heathen will fade away. Give Him all the glory and praise for all the things He has done as God the Creator, Savior, present and eternal King. Praise the Lord.

Today’s lesson was from Psalm 146, which is the first of the five “Hallelujah Psalms” (146-150). Each of the five psalms has the same introductory and concluding formula “Praise the Lord!” The main purpose of these psalms is to highlight the importance of giving God the praise that He is due.

Written by Deborah C Davis

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