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Psalm 146 (NIV)
1 Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord, my soul.
2 I will praise the Lord all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
3 Do not put your trust in princes,
in human beings, who cannot save.
4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
on that very day their plans come to nothing.
5 Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their God.
6 He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them –
he remains faithful for ever.
7 He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
8 the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the foreigner
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
10 The Lord reigns for ever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord.
Because of the way the Psalter has been assembled we do not necessarily look for continuity between psalms however here, towards the end of the Psalter and beginning with Psalm 146, are grouped five joyous psalms of praise.
Beginning and ending with “Hallelu Yah”, Psalm 146 urges not only the praising of the Lord (as do the psalms which follow) but also the focusing of people’s faith and trust on him rather than on anything or anybody on earth. A clear contrast is presented. Verses 3 and 4 announce what we know instinctively, that even with the best of intentions, human beings will let us down, will disappoint us and ultimately will fail. No human being has the power to deliver totally on a promise. Only God is able do that.
The psalm pronounces a blessing on the one whose hope is in the Lord God. The powerful creator is also the one who upholds the cause of the lowly and provides for those who are oppressed.
The psalmist, in verses 7-8, has used words which remind us of the prophet Isaiah and even more so of the Lord Jesus as he read from the book of the prophet Isaiah in the synagogue at Nazareth (Isaiah 61: 1 as repeated in Luke 4: 18).
Jesus then taught, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4: 21). The psalmist wrote (verse 10): “The Lord reigns for ever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the Lord.”
Despite the disappointments we encounter in this world, particularly when other people fail to meet our expectations or hopes, we are to put our hope in the Lord our God. Only he will reign forever.