Praise the Lord, all nations;
Laud Him, all peoples!
For His lovingkindness is great toward us,
And the truth of the Lord is everlasting.
Praise the Lord!
– Psalm 117:1-2
We’ve been reading the parables of Jesus the last few days, but let’s return to the book of Psalms which was written and compiled around a thousand years before Jesus’ time. David was the human instrument God most used to create this book. David had a heart for God, was skillful with the lyre, and thus was useful to God for creating a book of worship.
It’s obvious from reading the Psalms that they are akin to songs or poems. They are useful for reading, pondering, reciting, chanting, and more. As I may have said to you before, while English poetry is noted for rhyming sounds at the end of a line, Hebrew poetry is noted for “rhyming” the ideas across two or three lines. Thus you will see a lot of repetition and emphasis in Hebrew poetry – that is, a line will paraphrase or intensify the preceding line. You can see this in the first verse of Psalm 117. To say in the second line “Laud Him, all peoples,” is to repeat, and therefore emphasize what was said in the first line: “Praise the Lord, all nations.” Such repetitions tend to reduce ambiguity and thus clarify the thoughts expressed. If you’re not sure of what a line means, the very next line may clarify it for you.
The book of Psalms is one of the Old Testament books quoted most often in the New Testament. Because David had a heart for God, and the psalms he wrote and oversaw reflected that heart, the book of Psalms is quite useful for developing a thought life for God. It’s clear from the Gospels in the New Testament that Jesus used the Psalms in this way. That is, they helped Him shape His thoughts and allowed Him to love God as much with His mind as He did with His behavior.
Psalm 117 was used to the Jews in the centuries before Christ (Messiah), but it took on a much richer meaning with the resurrection of Christ. This is because the Lord to be “praised” and “lauded” is the one who told parables…and gave Himself up for us!
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, help me know how to praise and laud You without being trite…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.
(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)