Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Visit of Mary to Elizabeth- Sharing the Good NewsPsalm 146: 1-10
“Praise the Lord, oh my soul.” (v.2)
Psalm 146 is book-ended by the phrase “Praise the Lord”. But what does praising God really mean? To acknowledge the place God holds in our lives, to give Him glory, or to recognize that He is the source of every blessing and goodness. In Hebrew, the phrase is Hallelu- (praise) Yah (short for Yahweh or “the Lord”). The first verse summons us to praise from our soul. So we shouldn’t utter it in vain or mindlessly, but mean it from the very depth of our beings. We are called to pause and intentionally reflect on God’s goodness.
Verse 2 begs us to praise God unceasingly. But how often do we go the whole day without praising God, and instead, think of all the things that went wrong? I know I am guilty of that. We have to be intentional about turning our complaints into praise. When we train our minds and remember to praise God and give Him thanks, He fills us with His joy. The negative mindset turns into a positive and life-giving one. Giving God praise is not conditional. We don’t just praise God when it’s convenient and when things are going our way. We praise God also in times of trouble. Even when Mary, the mother of Jesus, goes through a challenging time where her reputation is put to question, she humbles herself and gives praise to God as is seen in Mary’s Song (Luke 1:46-55).
The psalmist contrasts God’s timelessness with the limitation and finiteness of earthly rulers and leaders. Human rulers and Kings come and go, but “The Lord reigns forever” (verse 10) so our trust should favor the Lord. There is also another paradox highlighted in this Psalm. The God of the universe takes the time and attention to care for the vulnerable and marginalized in our society. Despite the magnitude of God’s power and greatness, He takes special care of the weak and the vulnerable- the oppressed, the hungry, the prisoner, the disabled (verses 7-8). In order to be elevated in God’s eyes, we must take a posture of humility. “He must increase, I must decrease” (John 3:30). God doesn’t sit at His elevated status. He sends His one and only Son to come down to our level and show us how to love. Now that is praise-worthy indeed.
Father, renew our minds and help us remember that you are the source of every blessing and goodness in our lives. Help us to turn every complaint and negative thought into praising You. Amen.
Thought of the Day
If we praise the Lord in all circumstances- when things are going well, and in times of trouble- it draws us closer to God.
Carmel MTC, Boston, MA