Praise is comely it becomes us as reasonable creatures on account of God’s manifest greatness and goodness in all nature and much more as a people in special covenant relations with Him.
1 Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.
2 The LORD doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.
3 He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.
4 He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.
5 Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.
6 The LORD lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground.
7 Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God:
8 Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains.
9 He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry.
10 He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man.
11 The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.
12 Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion.
13 For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates; he hath blessed thy children within thee.
14 He maketh peace in thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat.
15 He sendeth forth his commandment upon earth: his word runneth very swiftly.
16 He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes.
17 He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold?
18 He sendeth out his word, and melteth them: he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow.
19 He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel.
20 He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD.
Psalm 147 – J. Vernon McGee
Psalm 147:1-11 – Why We Praise the Lord
It has been supposed that this psalm was prepared for use when the new walls of the city were completed in the days of Nehemiah. It contains a further enumeration of God’s present tenses. The psalmist never tires of celebrating the immediateness of God. He will not tolerate the intervention of second causes, which are the artifice of scientific explanation. Laws are, after all, only the convenient statement of the regularity of God’s methods. The couplets of this psalm are amazingly suggestive. By contrast they complete each other. God builds up the great city of Jerusalem, but His heart goes out to the individual prodigal. He is equally at home in the hospital where broken hearts congregate, and among the stars, which He names and counts as a shepherd His flock. He upholds the meek and overthrows the proud. Spring, with its clouds and rain and sprouting grass, is His work; but so also the wild life of the forest, with its beasts and birds. He has no such delight in athletic strength or speed as He has in the reverent worship of His people. There is a perfect balance and rhythm in God’s nature. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Psalm 147:3-4—He healeth the broken in heart…. He telleth the number of the stars.
How wonderful that these two qualities should blend in one Being! That God tells the number of the stars is only what we should expect of Him. They are his flock, lying down on the fields of the heavens; and as a shepherd has a name for each of his charge, so has God for the stars. But that He should be able to bend over one broken heart and bind it with his sympathy and heal its flowing wounds, this is wonderful, amazing, divine.
It is said that in a healthy man the clenched fist is about the size of the heart. So in God, his might is the gauge of his mercy: his hand of his heart. The mountains of his strength show the valleys of his tenderness.
Yet surely it must be so. The stars are after all only things, great masses of matter; hearts are those of living, sentient beings which He made, redeemed, and loves. They are the adornments of his House, broken hearts are his children. Shall He have names for the one and no care for the other! This text is exquisitely illustrated in Jesus. Through Him God made the worlds; and by his pierced hands tears have been wiped and stifling sobs silenced all through the ages. Is your heart bleeding? He knows, He cares, He loves, He bends over and heals with exquisite sensitiveness and skill. Yea, the stars may fall from heaven as untimely figs; the sun burn out as an extinct volcano; but He will never cease to tend and comfort his own.
“There is no sorrow, Lord, too light
To bring to prayer to Thee;
There is no anxious care too slight
To wake thy sympathy!” —Our Daily Homily
Psalm 147:12-20 – Peace and Prosperity
From Psalm 147:12 on there is a more personal address to Jerusalem and Zion. The thee and thy justify the application of the psalm to the spiritual condition of the Church and the individual. God’s work in nature illustrates His dealings with His children. Are we strengthened against temptation, as a city with bars and bolts, blessed with peace, and filled with the fine flour of gospel truth? It is because He hath so appointed it by His commandment and swiftly-running word. Is it winter, the air full of blinding snowflakes; rime everywhere, as if the frost-king had powdered the earth and bound the waters with His chain? Be of good cheer; God is in it all. Winter is needed to pulverize the soil; but as soon as it has done its necessary work, the warm breath of His manifested love will breathe over desolations, and all the frost and snow will hasten to be gone. Will God give so much thought to garnishing the home in which His children live and neglect them? Besides, He has shown us so many wonderful judgments and such discoveries of His character, that He is pledged to us. Hallelujah! —Through the Bible Day by Day