ARMED WITH PRAISE
Patient One, sometimes the past has a stranglehold on today. Help me to unwrap the past and let your call to the future lead me on.
Read PSALM 149
1 Praise the Lord.[a]
Sing to the Lord a new song,
his praise in the assembly of his faithful people.
2 Let Israel rejoice in their Maker;
let the people of Zion be glad in their King.
3 Let them praise his name with dancing
and make music to him with timbrel and harp.
4 For the Lord takes delight in his people;
he crowns the humble with victory.
5 Let his faithful people rejoice in this honor
and sing for joy on their beds.
6 May the praise of God be in their mouths
and a double-edged sword in their hands,
7 to inflict vengeance on the nations
and punishment on the peoples,
8 to bind their kings with fetters,
their nobles with shackles of iron,
9 to carry out the sentence written against them—
this is the glory of all his faithful people.
Praise the Lord.
- Psalm 149:1 Hebrew Hallelu Yah; also in verse 9
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Reflect‘Come thou Fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace; streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise.’* Spend time praising God from the heart.
The Exodus readings described how the ‘whole Israelite community’ offered their treasures, talents and time for God’s work. Today’s psalm urges God’s people to bring him praise offerings. The psalm is bookended by a call to ‘praise the Lord ’ (vs 1,9) who is both ‘Maker’ and ‘King’ (v 2): he made them his people by delivering them from slavery, and the call to praise ‘with dancing … music … tambourine’ (v 3) echoes the victory song that followed the Red Sea crossing (Exodus 15:1–21). This ‘King’ not only defends his subjects but ‘takes delight’ in them (v 4).
But the invitation to praise is also a call to arms (v 6). ‘Vengeance’, ‘punishment’, ‘bind’, ‘fetters’ and ‘shackles’ (vs 7,8) are military terms. But in this battle ‘the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world’ (1 Corinthians 10:4a). The ‘double-edged sword’ (v 6; see Hebrews 4:12b) is none other than ‘the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God’ (Ephesians 6:17b); and ‘to carry out the sentence written against them’ (v 9a) is but to ‘demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God’ (2 Corinthians 10:5a).
When facing difficulties, putting on ‘a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair’ (Isaiah 61:3) seems counter-intuitive. But this unnatural response unleashes supernatural power.
I thank you Lord, for the Word of God, the true sword of the Spirit. I ask for more diligence in regarding, studying, embracing, and obeying your teaching. Help me Lord.
* ‘Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,’ Robert Robinson, 1758.