It’s easy to say “Praise the Lord!” in times of peace and plenty but more challenging when life is painful and perplexing. Psalm 113 provides us with fertile soil in which fresh praise can flower.
“Praise” is the theme of Psalm 113 (the word occurs five times in nine verses). This psalm expresses when and why to worship God. Verses 1–3 explain when to worship:
Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord!
Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forevermore!
From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised!
In other words, we should praise the Lord each day, all day, in season and out of season.
The rest of the psalm gives reasons why we worship this glorious God, who alone is seated on high and stoops low to save us. The rhetorical question—“Who is like the Lord our God?”—demands a resounding “no one” in response. Throughout history human beings have revered many “gods,” which do not see and cannot save or satisfy their supplicants. Our God is sui generis, in a class by himself. He has no true rivals or competitors, because he alone is high and goes low. Notice verses 6–7:
Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high,
who looks far down on the heavens and the earth?
His lofty location signals his exalted status as the supreme sovereign over all, but from that high place he “looks far down.” What’s he looking for? He looking for his humble people. Consider verses 7–9:
He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people.
He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children.
These verses recap Hannah’s famous song of praise when the Lord blesses a barren woman with a son—Samuel (1 Sam. 2). They also remind us that God is “our Father in heaven”—we confidently praise and petition this one-of-a-kind King because he has limitless power and paternal love for us—he is strong, and he is good.
God has sovereign concern for us, which we see above all in the majesty and meekness of Jesus Christ. The Son of God did not simply look down on the needy from heaven’s heights; he came down, taking on flesh and humbling himself to the point of death on a cross (Phil. 2:6–7). The one who was infinitely rich became poor for our sake (2 Cor. 8:9).
It is good news that this sovereign Savior sees our situation and has even shared in our sufferings (Heb. 2:16–18). Our God is not only compassionately concerned about our troubles but is infinitely capable to truly help us. That’s why we can praise and trust the only God who is high and goes low to save us.
Brian Tabb, PhD
Academic Dean and Professor of Biblical Studies
- Pray that we would consistently praise the Lord in worship and through our lives in all circumstances.
- Pray that God would begin to bring us the right students to join us in the Fall of 2022. We are taking applications for all programs and have waived the application fee through November 15.
- Pray for Serious Joy: The 34th Bethlehem Conference for Pastors, which we will be relaunching in February 2022. Our theme is Gravity and Gladness in a Groaning World. Pray for both our preparation and the pastors who will be joining us.
- Pray for the full funding of the Serious Joy Scholarship for all our resident students.