Psalm 134 – “A Song of Degrees”
The title of Psalm 134 is “A Song of Degrees,” and should be a familiar one to the followers of www.HeartofAShepherd.com. We have noted the same title on numerous occasions, and you may recall the psalms which bear that heading are believed to have been sung by pilgrims approaching Jerusalem for festivals, and by Levite singers when the priests ascended the steps of the Temple.
Psalm 134:1–3 – 1Behold, bless [praise] ye the Lord, all ye servants [slaves; ministers] of the Lord, Which by night stand [remain] in the house of the Lord [Yahweh.
2Lift up [raise up] your hands in the sanctuary [holy place], and bless [praise] the Lord.
3The Lord that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion [i.e., Jerusalem].
What is the duty of man? It is to “bless” and praise the LORD! All who serve the LORD, not only His ministers, but all His servants are to praise Him; especially those who minister in His house.
Before sunrise, the priests and Levites were busy preparing for the day; preparing not only the Temple and its courts, but themselves. For, the character of those who served the LORD, and who were charged with leading His people in worship, was to be holy. The hands to be lifted up in His sanctuary, were to be holy hands.
In his first epistle to Timothy, Paul expressed his longing that “men pray every where, lifting up holy hands” (1 Timothy 2:7-8). Such should be the desire of those who lead in worship, and for all the congregation itself.
Remembering our God is Creator of heaven and earth, may all who worship the LORD Who chose Zion, the place of His Temple, be blessed!
Copyright © 2021 – Travis D. Smith
The author of Psalm 146 is not identified; however, his purpose in writing the psalm is obvious, for it is a song of praise to the LORD. Notice the psalmist employed in Psalm 146, numerous names for God that describe His divine nature, personality, and character. [The text in brackets is the amplification of this author.]
Directing his worship and adoration to the One worthy of praise, the psalmist begins:
Psalm 146:1-2 – 1 Praise [Hallelujah; Glory; Boast; Celebrate] ye the LORD [Yahweh; the sacred name of the LORD]. Praise the LORD [Jehovah; Eternal, Self-Existent God], O my soul.
2 While I live [have life] will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises [sing psalms] unto my God [Elohim; mighty God] while I have any being.
Exhorting and admonishing the people to not put their trust or confidence in man (146:3-4), we read:
Psalm 146:3-4 – 3 Put not your trust [confidence] in princes [rulers], nor in the son [children] of man, in whom there is no help [salvation; deliverance].
4 His breath [man’s breath] goeth forth, he returneth to his earth [dies]; in that very day [time] his thoughts [plans, plots] perish.
Whether a prince among men or the common man, all live under the sentence of death (Romans 6:23). When their breath disappears as a vapor (James 4:14), their bodies return to dust (Genesis 3:19), and their plans and designs perish with them (146:4).
Such was the spiritual lesson from the parable of the rich man (Luke 12).
The rich man had experienced an overflow from the fruits of his labor at the time of harvest, and determined to hoard the abundance of God’s blessings (Luke 12:17-18). The LORD, however, judged the man a fool (Luke 12:19-20); his affections had been on earthly riches, and he, though rich, died a spiritual pauper. Such a man plots and plans for this temporal life, but fails to give thought of eternity. He is a fool, for he “layeth up treasure for himself and is not rich towards God” (Luke 12:21).
While the rich man’s affections and treasures perished with him, the psalmist described a man who looks to the LORD as “Happy” (146:5).
Psalm 146:5 – 5 Happy [Blessed; prosperous] is he that hath the God [Almighty God] of Jacob for his help [aid], whose hope [expectation] is in the LORD his God:
The psalmist gave four divine attributes that give us cause to trust the LORD. (146:6-9)
The first, we should trust the LORD because He is Creator of heaven, earth, the sea and “all that therein is” (146:6).
Psalm 146:6 – 6 Which [The LORD] made [fashioned; i.e. created] heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth [preserves; guards] truth for ever [i.e. for God is forever faithful; trustworthy]:
We should trust the LORD because He is faithful and true, and “keepeth truth for ever” (146:6b).
We should also trust the LORD because He is just and compassionate. (146:7-9)
Psalm 146:7-9 – 7 Which executeth [lit. to make or prepare] judgment for the oppressed: which giveth food to the hungry. The LORD looseth [sets at liberty] the prisoners:
8 The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind: the LORD raiseth [lifts up; comforts] them that are bowed down: the LORD loveth the righteous [just]:
9 The LORD preserveth [keeps watch; regards; saves] the strangers [sojourners]; he relieveth [bear witness; admonish; protects] the fatherless and widow: but the way [journey; path] of the wicked [ungodly; guilty] he turneth upside down [subverts; thwarts; overthrows].
Finally, we should trust the LORD because He is King Eternal, the God of Zion of whose kingdom there is no end (146:10). We read:
Psalm 146:10 10 The LORD shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the LORD.
How foolish to trust man, or place your confidence in earthly possessions! The LORD is eternal, just, compassionate, faithful, true, and He is your Creator!
Why trust any other?
Copyright © 2021 – Travis D. Smith