Praise the Lord! The One Who Can Be Trusted - Psalm 146
In Matthew 6 Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray by giving them a model prayer. When we pray that prayer that Jesus gave us, we begin by addressing God as our Father who is in Heaven. This is a way of addressing God that is packed full of theological truth and that should help us recognize the incredible privilege we have of coming to God in prayer.
When we pray to God as our Father, we are acknowledging that through Christ we have been brought into the family of God. That through the sacrifice of Christ God has become our Father and we have been adopted as His children. But, with that said, He’s unlike any Father we have ever known, because He is our Father who is in Heaven. When we pray to our Father in Heaven we are acknowledging that He is the sovereign ruler over all things.
When we bring all of this together, we should recognize the privilege of prayer. When we pray, we bring our requests to a Father who loves us and who is also fully capable as the God of the universe to answer our prayers.
As we come to Psalm 146, we are being called to praise God. To praise Him because He is trustworthy. And His trustworthiness is proven in that He is both sovereign and compassionate. He is the creator God and He cares for the weak, the lowly, and the defenseless.
The Final Five Psalms (Psalm 146-150)
In the Book of Psalms we have 150 psalms, and over the course of the book there are psalms that hit every emotion. There are psalms of lament, confession, thanksgiving, suffering and praise. But through all of the psalms our attention is turned toward our faithful God, and so it seems appropriate that this great songbook would end with five psalms of praise. Each of these final five psalms begins and ends the same way – Praise the Lord!
A Call to Praise (146:1-2)
- A personal call to praise – While the psalm begins with a general call to praise, the psalmist quickly begins addressing his own soul. He is exhorting himself to give praise to God.
- A personal commitment to lifelong praise – After exhorting himself to praise, the psalmist makes a commitment – he desires to praise God with all of his life for as long as he lives. This personal commitment serves as a good example and encouragement for us to understand the nature of the God who the psalmist sees as worthy of lifelong praise.
A Warning Against Trusting in Earthly Power (146:3-4) – In this psalm we are being called to praise God for His trustworthiness. But before telling us why God is worthy of our trust, the psalmist warns us against placing our trust in people – particularly those of power and influence. While we may be tempted to have confidence in people with position or power, the psalmist reminds us that every person is limited, because every person’s lifetime is limited (Genesis 3:19; Psalm 118:8-9).
The Blessedness of Trusting in God (146:5-10a) – After warning us about trusting in men, the psalmist spends the rest of the psalm telling us why God can be trusted – and why He is worthy of our praise. In these verses we see that God can be trusted because He is both sovereign (able) and compassionate (willing).
- He is the creator (v. 6) – In contrast to people who are made of dust and who return to dust, God is the creator of dust and of those made of dust and He gives us the breath of life (Genesis 2:7).
- He is the faithful one (v. 6b) – God can also be trusted (and should be praised) because He is faithful – He keeps faith forever (Psalm 100).
- He shows compassion for the weak and defenseless (vv. 7-9) – In these verses the psalmist helps us recognize the heart of God for the weak and the lowly.
- God shows compassion for the physically weak and lowly – As we read the Scriptures, we see that God cares for people who are weak and defenseless. Most often this care is shown as the people of God love those around them in a way that is consistent with the heart of God and His commandments.
- God shows compassion for the spiritually weak and lowly – As we see the connection between the categories of these verses and other passages like Isaiah 61:1-3 and Luke 4:16-21 it becomes clear that the primary reference of theses verses is to our spiritual condition. God sent His Son to come and free us from sin’s slavery and to open our blind eyes to our need for a Savoir. Through Christ we see the fullness of God’s heart and His compassion for sinful man.
- He is the eternal King (v. 10a) – Before the psalm ends, we are reminded again of the sovereignty of God. The One who cares for us and defends us will never be defeated and will reign forever.
A Call to Praise (146:10) – The psalm ends as it began, with a call to praise. God is worthy of our praise because He is fully trustworthy. We can trust Him because He is both sovereign and compassionate.