By Henry Law
Exhortations call to praise our God. Let our grateful hearts rejoicingly obey.
1. "Praise the Lord; for it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is lovely."
It cannot be too earnestly enforced that praise is our duty, our joy, and our becoming exercise. Let happy experience testify this truth.
2-3. "The Lord builds up Jerusalem; He gathers together the outcasts of Israel. He heals the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds."
He brought the captive Jews from Babylon. Thus He showed by expressive type that He will not permit the enemy to hold the Church in enduring bondage. Sorrow and mourning may be long their lot, but at His bidding, joy will bud forth, and every wound be healed.
4. "He tells the number of the stars; He calls them all by their names."
We are thus taught that nothing can surpass His knowledge. The starry firmament sparkles with innumerable orbs. All are known to Him. So we, our persons, our matters, are all unmistakable to His omniscient eye.
5-6. "Great is our Lord, and of great power; His understanding is infinite. The Lord lifts up the meek; He casts the wicked down to the ground."
In His wisdom He reads every character. He knows the meek and exalts them. He knows the wicked and debases them.
7-9. "Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praise on the harp to our God; who covers the heaven with clouds, who prepares rain for the earth, who makes grass to grow upon the mountains. He gives to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry."
We cannot too frequently exhort to praise. The merciful dealings in nature are a fruitful topic. Behold the heavens robed in their clothing of clouds, the rain descending to fertilize the earth, the summits of the hills clad in verdure, and praise the hand which thus dispenses plenteousness. Behold the beasts of the forests and the ravens in their lofty nests. His hand provides their food. Let then His hand be praised.
10-11. "He delights not in the strength of the horse; He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man. The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy."
The Lord has no delight in animal or bodily strength of frame. He looks to the inner man, and smiles on faith and fear. May such graces ever appear in us.
12-13. "Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem; praise your God, O Zion. For He has strengthened the bars of your gates; He has blessed your children within you."
The Church cannot be too fervent in praise. The strength of protecting bulwarks, the happiness of the inhabitants within, all call for grateful adoration.
14-20. "He makes peace in your borders, and fills you with the finest of the wheat. He sends forth His commandment upon earth; His word runs very swiftly. He gives snow like wool; He scatters the hoarfrost like ashes. He casts forth His ice like morsels; who can stand before His cold? He sends out His word, and melts them; He causes His wind to blow, and the waters flow. He shows His word to Jacob, His statutes and His judgments to Israel. He has not dealt so with any nation; and as for His judgments, they have not known them. Praise the Lord."
All blessings come from the bountiful hand of God and merit praise. His will pervades the length and breadth of the earth, ordering all things and enforcing obedience. But the blessing of blessings is His revealed Word. This is now circulated in almost all the languages of the world. We are abundantly favored with the inestimable boon. Let us gratefully use it, and adore the gracious Giver. Praise the Lord.