Scripture reading – Psalm 134; Psalm 146

Click on this link for translations of this Bible study. 

Psalm 134 – “A Song of Degrees”

The title of Psalm 134 is “A Song of Degrees.” If you have followed www.HeartofAShepherd.com for several weeks, you are aware it was one of several songs sung by pilgrims approaching Jerusalem for festivals and by Levite singers when the priests ascended the steps of the Temple.

 

An Exhortation for the Guards of the Night to Worship the LORD (Psalm 134:1-2)  

Psalm 134:1–21Behold, 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] your hands in the sanctuary [holy place], and bless [praise] the Lord.

What is the duty of man? It is to “bless” and praise the LORD! In the first two verses of Psalm 134, it was not the priests but the Temple guards who were encouraged to use the nighttime hours to worship and praise the LORD.

What a great challenge for all who attend to the buildings and labor in their congregations. Even before the people arrive to worship, let those who open the buildings and turn on the lights and sound serve with gratitude and praise the LORD.

The Guards’ Blessing for The Minister That Exhorted Them (Psalm 134:3)

Psalm 134:33The Lord that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion [i.e., Jerusalem].

Before sunrise, the priests and Levites were busy preparing themselves, the Temple, and its courts for the day. The character of those who served the LORD and were charged with leading the people in worship was to be holy. Even the hands of those whose ministries might seem mundane were to be holy when they served in the sanctuary.

Closing thought for Psalm 134 –

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 the congregation itself. Remembering God is Creator of heaven and earth, may all who minister and worship the LORD be blessed!

Psalm 146

The author of Psalm 146 was not identified; however, his purpose in writing is evident, for it is a song of praise to the LORD.  You will notice the psalmist employed various names for the LORD to describe His divine nature, personality, and character. [The text in brackets is the amplification of this author.]

 

The Psalmist Directed His Worship and Adoration to the One Worthy of Praise (Psalm 146:1-2)

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.

 

The Psalmist Exhorted and Admonished the People (Psalm 146:3-4)

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.

The psalm shifted from worshipping the LORD to admonishing the people not to put their trust or confidence in men. Whether a prince among men or an ordinary man, all live under the sentence of death (Romans 6:23). Though they promise much, their breath vanishes as a vapor (James 4:14), their bodies return to dust (Genesis 3:19), and their plans and promises perish with them (Psalm 146:4).

 

An Illustration: The Parable of the Rich Man (Luke 12)

Christ told the story of a rich man who experienced an overflow from the fruits of his labor at harvest time. Rather than be the conduit of God’s blessings, he planned and determined to hoard the abundance of the fruits of his labor (Luke 12:17-18). The LORD, however, judged the man a fool (Luke 12:19-20), for he set his affections on earthly riches. He died with his barns overflowing, but he was a spiritual pauper in the balance of God’s judgment. Tragically, men and women plot and plan for this earthly life but give little thought to eternity (Luke 12:21).

A Joyful, Living Hope (Psalm 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:

A fool’s affections, treasures, and promises perish with him, but the believer who looks to the LORD is “Happy,” for he finds his help and hope in Him (Psalm 146:5).

 

Four Divine Attributes that Give Cause to Trust the LORD (Psalm 146:6-9)

 

First, we should trust the LORD because He is the Creator of all things (Psalm 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] 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” (Psalm 146:6b).

 

We should also trust the LORD because He is just and compassionate. (Psalm 146:7-9)

 

Psalm 146:7-9 7 Which executeth [lit. 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; saves] the strangers [sojourners]; he relieveth [bear witness; protects] the fatherless and widow: but the way [journey; path] of the wicked [ungodly; guilty] he turneth upside down [subverts; overthrows].

 

Finally, we should trust the LORD because He is King Eternal, the God of Zion, and His kingdom shall not end (Psalm 146:10).

 

Psalm 146:10 – 10 The LORD shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the LORD.

 

Closing thoughts –

Men are not worthy of our trust, and we should not place our confidence in earthly possessions! The LORD alone is worthy of our faith, for He is eternal, just, compassionate, faithful, and true. He is our Creator and is entirely trustworthy!

Why would you trust any other?

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith 

* You can subscribe to the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals by entering your name and email address at the bottom of today’s devotion.

The Internal Revenue Service recognizes Heart of A Shepherd Inc as a 501c3 public charitable organization. Your donation is welcome and supports the worldwide ministry outreach of www.HeartofAShepherd.com.