by Ellen Ceely
“Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting. The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure. The Lord lifts up the humble; he casts the wicked to the ground. Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre! He covers the heavens with clouds; he prepares rain for the earth; he makes grass grow on the hills. He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry. His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.” - Psalm 147:1-11
Whenever I read Psalm 147, I’m reminded of how powerful God truly is. Of all the promises God makes to his people throughout Scripture, these are some of the most comforting. What will God do for those who love and follow him? So many things!
God will gather the exiles and heal the brokenhearted. He lifts the lowly but casts down the wicked. God takes care of the earth; he sends the rain and causes plants to grow for us to eat and thrive. God even takes care of the animals of the world, feeding them and providing for them. The strength of the created has no impact on the Creator.
What are we to do in exchange? Worship him, love him, and serve him. The Psalmist calls us to worship God in this Psalm, to sing to him with thanksgiving for all he has done and all he will do. Do we want to please the Lord? Our response is simple: fear God and await his gracious favor.
What does it mean to you to fear the Lord? How do you live this out in your life? I find it hard to “await his gracious favor.” I want so badly to be in control of what happens in my life, to force something good to happen. Is it easy or difficult for you to await God’s gracious favor? What does this look like practically for you? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Let's face it, the Christian life is hard. Relationships take work. Christians forget. Sometimes it is tempting to go back to the days when God was not the center of our lives - to backslide. We are all faced with tremendous pressures to drift away from intimacy with Jesus and the community of the Church. However, the Lord invites us to pay attention, to move forward, to draw near, and to live lives of worship. Draw Near: Hebrews on Christian Worship is a small group Bible study on the Book of Hebrews intended to lead participants into a deeper intimacy with the living God in the context of New Testament worship. Draw nearer to God in authentic worship today!
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