Follow Through

5 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    for at his command they were created,
6 and he established them for ever and ever—
    he issued a decree that will never pass away. Psalm 148:5-6

The psalmist was still referring to the heavenly bodies in these verses. They’re not going away because God made it that way. In fact, there will be other stars and galaxies that will be discovered in the coming years, and they will never go away.

I heard about a movie director who made sure that some of the set that no one would ever see was authentic and would fit into the scene if necessary. Why would someone go to that much trouble even though no one would ever see those items? It’s a type of follow through. It completes the design.

It’s similar with God.

I’m convinced He creates things no one will ever see. Why?

He’s a creator. He creates things. That’s what He does. It’s His version of a follow through.

On that line of thinking, let me share this. Not only does God create never-before-seen sunrises and sunsets, but He creates them so that we all have a unique view of them. None of us see the sun setting from the same vantage point.

It just gets more amazing every day, doesn’t it?

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Look Up!

Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord from the heavens;
    praise him in the heights above.
2 Praise him, all his angels;
    praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
3 Praise him, sun and moon;
    praise him, all you shining stars.
4 Praise him, you highest heavens
    and you waters above the skies. Psalm 148:1-4

Look up.

Everything you see up there praises the Lord.

Everything you can’t see with the naked eye also praises the Lord.

As I mentioned a few days ago, there are planets and stars yet to be discovered that praise His name. How? Just by existing and shining. They are a marvel of his Creation.

Throughout this psalm, the writer will make a strong case for us to join all of creation to praise the Lord. He starts with the inanimate and very distant objects, and the angels.

Praise the Lord!

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A Chosen Land

19 He has revealed his word to Jacob,
    his laws and decrees to Israel.
20 He has done this for no other nation;
    they do not know his laws.

Praise the Lord. Psalm 147:19-20

Israel is certainly unique on the world stage. No other nation is so reviled and hated. We can only speculate why it was that tiny piece of land and relatively small number of people in the Middle East He chose. The nation of Israel was obnoxious, disobedient, wayward, unfaithful, and arrogant. They turned away from God countless times and for countless reasons. There really was nothing to like about them.

And that was the point, wasn’t it?

Despite all her flaws and bad behavior, God loved them and saw to it that the Messiah, the Chosen One, would come out of Israel. We of course know the ending to this part of the story because of what the Messiah did for us.

God still has His hand on modern day Israel. Pray that those who have been called to evangelize this great land will have wisdom and grace in the midst of often turbulent situations.

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One Little Word

15 He sends his command to the earth;
    his word runs swiftly.
16 He spreads the snow like wool
    and scatters the frost like ashes.
17 He hurls down his hail like pebbles.
    Who can withstand his icy blast?
18 He sends his word and melts them;
    he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow. Psalm 147:15-18

We know from the New Testament that the elements obey Jesus. When He commanded the winds and the waves to stop, they did. Just like that. He causes Alaska to experience -33 degree and snowing weather, Texas 65 degrees and raining, and Florida 90 degrees and sunny all in the same hour. Amazing.

One little word of God melts ice and causes flooding.

Recall in Martin Luther’s hymn “A Might Fortress” these words:

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

What was that “one little word”?

Jesus. No matter what language it’s in, Jesus is the most powerful word in the language.

Let that sink in through the rest of today.

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Extol the Lord, Jerusalem!

12 Extol the Lord, Jerusalem;
    praise your God, Zion.
13 He strengthens the bars of your gates
    and blesses your people within you.
14 He grants peace to your borders
    and satisfies you with the finest of wheat. Psalm 147:12-14

For such a tiny country, Israel provides a disproportionate number of products and services. They figured out how to grow crops in a rough terrain and political environment. Look at Israel’s neighbors, who happen to be her enemies. They are not nearly as productive and are hostile towards Israel.

God has blessed Israel, and she has endured despite her neighbors.

Continue to pray for Israel, that the light of the Gospel would continue to penetrate hard hearts.

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The Lord Delights

10 His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his delight in the legs of the warrior;
11 the Lord delights in those who fear him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love. Psalm 147:10-11

As Americans we tend to put a lot of stock into our military might around the world. But we all know that the history books are filled with very powerful military regimes that were completely decimated. They trusted that their power would save them.

For example, at the turn of the 20th century, Great Britain had shown its military prowess around the world. “The sun never sets on the British Empire” was a very common phrase. It’s a very different story for Great Britain and its military might today.

It’s hard to imagine, but the same thing could happen to the American military power today.

From verses like these we understand that the strength of a nation is not in her military might, but in her allegiance to God.

Here is a glimpse of military personnel who are actively worshiping God.

Here’s one of my favorite videos about that.

We can only hope that our politicians who lead them could be as passionate in their devotion to the Lord.

Continue to pray for the military and their civilian leaders as a new administration takes over.

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The Details

8 He covers the sky with clouds;
    he supplies the earth with rain
    and makes grass grow on the hills.
9 He provides food for the cattle
    and for the young ravens when they call. Psalm 147:8-9

Consider a few of the possible ecosystems in the world and how they survive. Take the ocean. There are critters and creatures in the oceans that we have never seen or heard about but they are part of a vast underwater ecosystem. We don’t know how some of those critters ever grow as old as they do when there are so many predators lurking nearby. Even the little fish have to eat something, and they do. The Lord provided a means for them to survive as long as was necessary for the larger fish. But along the way, those smaller fish laid their eggs to start the cycle all over again. This occurs millions of times each hour in the oceans with each species of fish or critter.

So what does all that mean to us today? The Lord tends to the details of our lives, just as He knows every little detail about the fishes and the birds of the air.

So, no prayer is too small for Him. No prayer is too large.

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Can Anyone Spare an Extra Harp?

7 Sing to the Lord with grateful praise;
    make music to our God on the harp. Psalm 147:7

If you think this verse is about harps, you’re missing a major point. A harp is but one instrument designed to make something beautiful out of nothing but strings and wood. It’s the passions and desires of the instrumentalist that can transform the cold, lifeless instrument into musical beauty.

If you have a voice, use it. If you plan an instrument, use it. If you can’t sing a tune “in a barrel,” sing anyhow. It’s the heart that matters.

I was singing in a combined choral and orchestra performance one time, and during rehearsal at the end of a clarinetist’s shaky solo, the director noted that she had better not make those kinds of mistakes during the concert.

Say what?

The perfectionist director was missing the point of the musical event completely. Could this clarinetist bring glory and honor to God with her nervous solo? Absolutely. Could the director bring dishonor to God by his words toward this girl in front of 100 of her peers? Absolutely.

It’s the heart that matters. It’s always about the heart.

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On Our Knees

6 The Lord sustains the humble
    but casts the wicked to the ground. Psalm 147:6

Throughout the Bible, the Lord put a lot of importance on the concept of humility and against its opposite trait pride. In fact, Lucifer himself – the most beautiful of angels – fell from grace because of his pride.

In this verse, the Lord is indirectly encouraging us to be humble. He knows what pride will do to people if it is not reined in. Pride has claimed many victims through the years.

Definitions

Pride is thinking you are more than you are, or that you’re better than someone else.

Humility is an honest view of yourself. There is no pretense.

James 4:10 states “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

Humility begins on our knees. Because pride creeps into our thoughts and minds at unexpected times, we should be on our guard against the sin of pride. Being able to recognize pride is important.

It all goes back to where we started this journey, on our knees before God. We ask for discernment in our actions. We also recognize that we are flawed human beings who just happen to love the Lord Jesus Christ.

He will honor us when we come to Him early and often.

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