Last year our seminary family gathered for worship in the gymnasium; this year, in the chapel. There is a noticeable difference in the acoustics between the two buildings. The songs in the chapel sound beautiful and powerful, and the singing in parts is noticeable.
The Psalms are the beautiful and powerful Word of God, the hymn book of the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit’s little Bible within the Bible. We sing the Psalms as part of a choir that spans the ages.
The original writer encourages others to join him in praising the LORD. “I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.” He shares two good reasons for praising the LORD. First, because all people are mortal—they die, and all their power and plans come to nothing—it would be foolish to put our trust in any of them. Though they be princes, people are dust and to dust they will return. Second, the LORD is the creator of everything, and he always takes care of his people. The LORD is powerful, faithful, and loving. Praise the LORD!
Psalm 146 describes the cared-for people who praise the LORD: the oppressed, the hungry, the prisoner, the blind, the bowed-down, the righteous, the foreigner, the fatherless, the widow. They are nothing in the eyes of the world, but God’s loving eye is on them. And they know him!
We sing with those who lived after the exile in Babylon and before the coming of Christ. Their singing is beautiful and strong: “The LORD reigns forever; your God, O Zion, for all generations.” They sing these words, boldly, in faith, without seeing any Davidic King or any earthly success for Israel.
Our attention is drawn to the director of the chorus. He is a descendant of David—the real David, David’s greater Son. He is the original singer of this Psalm and the fulfillment of the Psalm. His solo voice carries the day! He praises his Father as the Maker of heaven and earth, as an eyewitness of it, more than that, as the One through whom all things were made. He sings about the LORD feeding the hungry and setting prisoners free as he multiplies the loaves, as he declares himself to be the bread of life, and as he casts out demons with a simple command, “Leave him and never come back,” and as he calls his friend Lazarus out of the grave. He sings that the LORD remains faithful forever, as the Risen Savior who makes all God’s promises “Yes” forever. Jesus, who announced in his hometown that Isaiah 61 was being fulfilled in their hearing, is the one who fulfills the words of Psalm 146 in our singing and in our hearing today.
The apostles and the early Christian church and the Church Fathers and all the believers in the New Testament era have joined in the singing of Psalm 146. It is a privilege to sing with them, all eyes focused on Jesus. He is the only Prince who is not mortal. Death could not harm him or hold him. He is the Risen Savior. He lives and rules eternally.
Dear brother, in this season of Epiphany, preach Christ and sing Psalm 146. With the people you serve, join the choir of the ages. At the direction of Jesus Christ, you will sing praise to the LORD as long as you live, even forever! Hallelujah!