Praise the Lord . How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him! The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. The Lord sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground. Sing to the Lord with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp. He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call. His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of the warrior; the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.- Psalm 147:1-11
The descriptions of God in this Psalm are beautiful…” He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.” The picture it paints is of a God both awesome in power and abounding in love for His humble followers.
What does it mean to be a humble follower of God? I think the essential attributes of a humble follower of God are the ability to listen, hear, understand, and obey. I am reminded of a powerful scene from the movie adaptation of E.M. Forrester’s Horatio Hornblower books.
The main character Horatio Hornblower, played by Ioan Gruffudd, is in charge of a small band of sailors investigating the grounding of a British frigate on a beach in France. They find the captain of the ship wounded in a cave near the wrecked vessel. They are making their way to their shore boat when they are attacked by French soldiers. Part of the group is trapped by gunfire in the cave and Hornblower is near the launch with a view of the attacking soldiers. He provides covering fire and orders the men to make a break for the launch. Midway through their rush to safety, amid raining shots, Horatio yells out loudly “STOP”. Although puzzled by this order his men immediately obey, just in time to avoid being crushed by a Large cannon falling from the cliff. Their unquestioning and immediate obedience under fire saved their lives.
I think obeying God can feel like this sometimes. We are under enemy fire (in the form of deceptions by the deceiver) and sometimes God (our captain) does the equivalent of yelling “STOP”. We need to do as Hornblower’s sailors did…obey first and ask questions later.
The Psalm continues with some interesting water imagery… “He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills”. Clouds have often been a vehicle and a manifestation of God up to this point in the bible. So to say “He covers the sky with clouds” is to say that God Himself envelopes the earth – separate but pervasive and persistent. He sends rain to help us, tender plants, (grass) grow.
I really like the last part of this Psalm…”His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of the warrior; the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.”. The key to pleasing God is not in strength, speed, or intelligence. The Lord delights in those who fear (obey) Him and are willing to put their hope in His unfailing love.
Prayer: God thank You for loving us. Help us to become good listeners so that we can abide in your unfailing love.