Scripture reading – Psalm 113; Psalm 114

Today’s Scripture reading continues our study of the Book of Psalms and the collection known as the “Hallelujah Psalms.” Like Psalm 111 and Psalm 112, Psalm 113 and Psalm 114 begin with the phrase: “Praise ye the LORD” (Psalm 112:1; Psalm 113:1; Psalm 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 sung at three feasts: the Feast of the Passover, the Feast of Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles.

Psalm 113 – A “Hallel” Psalm

A Call to Praise the LORD (Psalm 113:1-3)

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

Indeed, let all who “serve” and obey the LORD sing Hallelujah and “Praise the name of the LORD” (Psalm 113:1b). Let the LORD’s name be “blessed [praised]…for evermore” (Psalm 113:2). From “the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same” may all the earth praise His name (Psalm 113:3).

A Call to Praise the LORD in the Heavens (Psalm 113:4-6)


The LORD should be praised in heaven for His throne is “high above all nations,” thrones, kings, and all in authority (Psalm 113:4). He is higher than the stars of heaven (113:4b), and none compares to Him (Psalm113:5). Our God is so high above, that He must humble Himself to look upon “the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!” (Psalm 113:6)


A Cause to Praise the LORD (Psalm 113:7-9)


The LORD deserves our praise because he lifts the poor and needy (Psalm 113:7) and can exalt them over rulers (Psalm 113:8; 1 Samuel 2:8). In other words, it is the LORD that raises a man from humble means to give him authority to rule over men, even Israel. The LORD blesses the “barren woman,” and she is fortunate to embrace the joy of motherhood (Psalm 113:9; 1 Samuel 2:5). Hallelujah, “Praise ye the LORD!” (Psalm 113:9b)

Psalm 114 – A 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 sung during the Feast of Tabernacles (also known as the “Feast of Booths,” which commemorated Israel’s wandering in the desert; Exodus 23:14-17; Leviticus 23:33-36, 39-43; Deuteronomy 16:13-15).

The Children of Israel Were Brought Out of Slavery (Psalm 114:1)

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” [Israel had served Egyptian masters].

The LORD Dwelt In the Midst of Israel, and He Divided the Sea and the Jordan (Psalm 114:2-3, 5)

The LORD was Priest to Israel and ordained that His house (the Tabernacle) be built in Judah (Jerusalem). He chose “Israel as His dominion” (Psalm 114:2). He divided the Red Sea when He brought Israel out of Egypt. He drove the Jordan (River) back for His people to cross into Canaan (Psalm 114:3, 5).

The LORD Gave Israel His Law, and the Earth Trembled (Psalm 114:4, 6-7)

When Israel encamped at Mount Sinai, the LORD gave Moses His Commandments and Law. His Spirit descended, and the mountains and hills trembled at His presence (Psalm 114:4, 6-7; Exodus 19:18). The psalmist called upon the earth to tremble at the presence of the LORD: “Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, At the presence of the God of Jacob” (Psalm 114:7).


The LORD Gave Israel Water Out of a Rock (Psalm 114:8)


Even the rock was cleaved in half in God’s presence, and water gushed forth from its fissures (Psalm 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, the record of historical events during Israel’s sojourn is 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 identified in the New Testament as a type or picture of Jesus Christ (John 4:7-14).

Paul wrote concerning Israel’s thirst and wanderings in the wilderness, “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!

Application – 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. One day all the earth will tremble at His presence, but believers are comforted knowing they are never beyond His reach, tender love, and care.

I close with Moses’ challenge to Israel when he exhorted the people and said, “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” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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