By Henry Law
Praise is the Psalmist's sweet employ. God's claims to praise are stated. May they attune our hearts to sing the heavenly theme!
1-2. "Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, O my soul. While I live will I praise the Lord; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being."
Gratitude demands that praise should be our untiring exercise. Its performance brings delight. Happy are the hours thus consecrated. Thus earth assimilates to heaven, where Hallelujahs are the constant sound.
3-4. "Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goes forth, he returns to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish."
It is a natural tendency to be influenced by external facade. Hence it is a common fault to court the favor of the rich and great. We are prone to lean on their support, and to look to them for help. But every man in his best estate is empty worthlessness. The Lord speaks, and thrones crumble. The Lord speaks, and the palace is exchanged for the grave. Tibni dies--Omri reigns. The grandest prince is but dust; and to dust he must return.
5-7. "Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God; who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that therein is; who keeps truth forever. Who executes judgment for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry."
While men are emptiness, sufficiency abounds in God. Happy are those who find safe shelter in His covering wings. Think of His boundless power. The heavens, the earth, and all therein are the creation of His will. Precious is His treasury of promises. Not one of them shall ever fail. Their payment may be desired at the mercy-seat, and surely they will be redeemed. Many foes oppress His servants, but their efforts are impotent. The cause of the righteous is vindicated. None prevail against them. All their need, also, is supplied. They lie down in green pastures; beside still waters they repose.
8-10. "The Lord frees the prisoners; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind; the Lord raises those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord preserves the strangers; He relieves the fatherless and widow; but the way of the wicked He turns upside down. The Lord shall reign forever, even your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord."
Precious lessons are learned from contemplating God's gracious dealings. His people are born in the prison-house of Satan. God removes the shackles; they go forth free. They are blind by nature. He opens their eyes to see all the wonders of redeeming love. Heavy burdens often oppress them. He enables them to lay aside every weight so as to run with patience the heavenward road. He delights to cheer them with manifestations of His love. They are strangers and pilgrims in an enemy's land. He is their constant guardian. In family destitution He brings relief. But just wrath burns fiercely against His adversaries forever and forever. God shall reign inhabiting the praises of His people. Bless the Lord, O our souls. Amen.