The Majesty of God (Psalm 113-114)

Scripture reading – Psalm 113-114

Today’s Scripture reading continues our study in the Book of Psalms, and the collection of psalms known as the “Hallelujah Psalms.” Like Psalm 111 and Psalm 112, Psalm 113 and Psalm 114 begin with the phrase: “Praise ye the LORD” (112:1, 113:1, 114:1). Psalm 113 and Psalm 114 belong to a group of psalms identified as the “Hallel psalms” (Psalms 113-118). The “Hallel psalms” were worship psalms sung at three feasts: Feast of the Passover, Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles.

Psalm 113 – A “Hallel” Psalm

The author of Psalm 113 is not identified; however, its opening verse sounds a call to worship for the congregation of Israel: “Praise ye the Lord. Praise, O ye servants of the Lord, Praise the name of the Lord” (113:1).

Let all who “serve,” and obey the LORD, sing Hallelujah to His name! Let the LORD’S name be “blessed” [praised]…for evermore” (113:2), and everywhere, from “the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same” (113:3).

Why should the LORD be praised? (113:4-9)

The LORD should be praised for His throne is “high above all nations,” thrones, kings, and authority (113:4). He is higher than the stars of heaven (113:4b), and there is none that compare to Him (113:5). Our God is so high above, that He must humble Himself to look upon heaven and earth (113:6).

The LORD deserves our praise because he lifts up the poor and needy (113:7), and is able to exalt them over rulers (113:8). It is the LORD that blesses the barren” woman, and she embraces the joy of motherhood (113:9). Hallelujah, “Praise ye the LORD!” (113:9b)

Psalm 114 – A Psalm of Reflection on Israel’s Exodus

Psalm 114 is also a “Hallel psalm.” Because it celebrated Israel’s exodus out of Egypt, it would have been a song heard during the Feast of Tabernacles (also known as the “Feast of Booths,” it commemorated Israel’s wandering in the desert; Exodus 23:14-17; Leviticus 23:33-36, 39-43; Deuteronomy 16:13-15).

The psalmist memorialized the works and ways of the LORD in His dealings with Israel. In Psalm 114:1, He brought Israel “out of Egypt, and the house of Jacob [the twelve tribes of Israel], from a people of a strange language” [for Israel had serve Egyptian masters]. The LORD was Priest to Israel, and ordained His house be built in Judah (Jerusalem), for He had chosen “Israel as His dominion” (114:2). He divided the Red Sea when He brought Israel out of Egypt, and drove the Jordan (River) back for the people to cross into Canaan (114:3, 5).

When Israel encamped at Mount Sinai, where the LORD gave Moses His Commandments and Law, His Spirit descended and the mountains and hills trembled at His presence (114:4, 6-7; Exodus 19:18).

The psalmist then called upon all the earth to tremble at the presence of the LORD, saying, “Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, At the presence of the God of Jacob” (114:7). In His presence, even the rocks were cleaved in half, and water gushed forth from its fissures (114:8).

Closing thoughts – If you are a novice to Bible studies, you may wonder what application, if any, a psalm about Israel’s wanderings in the wilderness has for 21st century believers.

Besides reminding us of the majesty and greatness of the LORD, we are also reminded that the record of historical events during Israel’s sojourn are instructive for believers of all ages. For instance, the rock from which water came forth to quench the thirst of the people in the wilderness, was a type or picture of Jesus Christ.

Paul writes, “And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock [literally a massive rock] that followed [came with, or behind] them: and that Rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:4). The cloud that led and shadowed Israel by day, and the pillar of fire that was with them by night, was Jesus Christ!

Truth – As the LORD was ever with Israel, so He is with all believers who come into His family and walk in His ways. He protects, sustains, and meets our needs just as He did in days of old. While all the earth will one day tremble at His presence, believers are comforted knowing they are never beyond His reach, tender love and care.

Deuteronomy 31:6 – “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

Copyright 2021 – Travis D. Smith