Psalms 141-150
(The Final Psalms)
June 28th


Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

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Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.

- Psalm 147:3 (KJV)

Summary of Chapters

This group represents the last ten Psalms in the entire book of Psalms. The first four are variations on a theme of David requesting rescue from the LORD. The final six are Psalms of praise that follow a sequence building up to a universal call for praise.

Psalm 141 begins with David asking the LORD to come quickly and hear his voice as he asks the LORD to help him avoid falling in with the wrong crowd - or in other words, help him to avoid eating their "dainties," as translated in the King James version. He asks for justice against these wicked folks, but mercy for himself, because he has trusted in the LORD.

In the 142nd through the 144th Psalms David seeks rescue from pursuers and foreigners. In the 142nd he asks to be freed from his hiding place so that he can praise the Lord. In Psalm 143 he again asks God to hurry up, and again asks for justice against the wicked and mercy for himself: "Do what's right for me. But don't, please don't, haul me into court; not a person alive would be acquitted there (143:2 - MSG)." In the 144th, David opens with a sincere statement of humility, acknowledging that we are but puffs of air, or a breath that is barely noticeable. He asks God to rescue him and intervene with mighty acts of power, such as smoking mountains and lightning. After these requests, David describes his vision of life after Godís victory, beginning with musical praise. He also foresees healthy families and an abundance of livestock and provisions.

Psalm 145 is the last one attributed to David. It is an acrostic Psalm in which each verse of the original Hebrew began with a successive letter in the alphabet. The line beginning with the letter nun had been missing, but was rediscovered in the Dead Sea Scrolls found in the caves of Qumran. The second part of verse 13 in the NIV represents this previously missing piece: "The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does." You won't find a corresponding verse in the King James Version or other older texts. In both cases, we can find language describing how David and future generations will spread the word of God: ďone generation will commend your works to another (145:4-NIV).Ē David concludes by reiterating his commitment to speak in praise and extends the theme of universal worship by exclaiming ďlet every creature praise his holy name forever and ever (145:21 - NIV).Ē

The final five Psalms all feature themes of praise and end with Hallelujahs. In the 146th the psalmist revisits the contrast between trusting the limited power of men versus trusting the unlimited and eternal power of God, who created the world and intervenes to free prisoners, heal the blind, or perform any other act he desires. In 147 the psalmist lists many of the deeds of God as a reminder of why itís good to praise him. Then, in 148, the psalmist conducts a roll call in which he tells all of the entities in the universe to praise God. He specifically mentions angels, the sun, the moon, the heavens, sea creatures, forms of precipitation, mountains, trees, land creatures, men, maidens, and children.

    Praise GOD from earth,
      you sea dragons, you fathomless ocean deeps;
    Fire and hail, snow and ice,
       hurricanes obeying his orders;
    Mountains and all hills,
       apple orchards and cedar forests;
    Wild beasts and herds of cattle,
       snakes, and birds in flight;
    Earth's kings and all races,
       leaders and important people,
    Robust men and women in their prime
    ,    and yes, graybeards and little children.

    - Psalm 148:7-12 (MSG)

Psalm 149 begins by asking for the people to sing a new song of praise for the LORD and 150 finishes the book by calling out each musical instrument to do its part to praise the LORD.

Reflection and Application

The final set of Psalms from David is a fitting summary of his life and his work in writing the Psalms. Itís worth noting that David asks for rescue from his enemies and from himself. It would be wise for us to follow this example of asking for Godís help to keep our heart and tongue from wandering away - because these parts of our own body can be our worst enemy.

Itís hard for us to conceive that David offers a good example when he seems to be impatient and attempts to micro-manage God. On the other hand, it may be that God appreciates his honesty. It seems certain that God appreciates Davidís faith in Godís ultimate plan to deliver him and bring peace and prosperity to the people. When we are in distress, it may be good for our soul to also express to God the same faith Ė even if we donít see how it might be accomplished.

While we should be cautious in assuming we can direct God, it should be clear how God wants to direct us. In this group of Psalms there are many references to telling others about God, but Psalm 145, the final one from David, gives the best illustration. In it, David emphasized how one generation will tell the next. This is our assignment. All the generations from David to us have fulfilled his vision. We must keep the chain going.

After reading through 150 Psalms, some of us may be wondering, what is the point of all this praise to God? Certainly God knows how great he is and doesnít need us to tell him. C.S. Lewis addresses this question in one of the chapters in his book, Reflections on the Psalms. In this chapter he points out that only when we praise God are we fully awake in the real world, and when we donít praise him, ďwe have lost the greatest experience, and in the end, have lost it all (1).Ē He adds later that praising God or any other object completes our experience. Consequently, a relationship with God is not complete unless or until we are praising him for all of the attributes that we appreciate (2).

This final sextet of Psalms is a perfect place to seek verses for praising God. The author expects animals and inanimate objects to join the praise because they are creations of God and benefit from his plan. This may seem like a charming figurative expression, but the meaning may be deeper than it appears. By their existence, the creatures, plants, and geological formations represent praise for God as they are the result of his creation and his on-going management.

We often use music to tell stories of our greatest joys and biggest sorrows. The Psalms serve the same purpose. Hence itís appropriate that the book ends with the author noting specific instruments and instructing them to be used to praise God in this final prayer.

    Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.

    Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.

    Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.

    Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.

    Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.

    Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.

    -Psalm 150 (KJV)



What words do you remember from the book of Psalms? Check out the word cloud from the 66 Clouds web site for a graphic accounting of the word usage. The words used most often appear larger: Psalms Word Cloud

"How Great is Our God"


Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. What musical instruments have you played?
    2. What is the message that you want God to hear from you today?
    3. In what manner do you want to praise God today?

    Recommended Prayer
    Father in Heaven all the world praises you. Help us to accept you in our heart when we wake and in every waking hour. Visit us in our dreams and guide us towards your purpose for us.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns
    Musical Directors

    Footnotes

    (1) Lewis, CS, Reflections on the Book of Psalms, Harcourt Brace and Company, New York, NY, 1958, p.92
    (2) IBID, p 95

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: Proverbs 1-3 (The Beginning of Knowledge)

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