First Glance: Psalm 113

"He raises the poor from the dust"

“He raises the poor from the dust”

Who is like the Lord our God,

who sits on high,

who looks far down on the heavens and the earth?

He raises the poor from the dust

and lifts the needy from the ash heap. (Ps 113:5-7)

Sometimes a prayer comes at just the right time. God takes all our feeble plans and hopes, turns them right-side up and blesses us. Olga and I are planners when it comes to worship. We decided last November to do a summer sermon series through the psalms this year and had laid out the rough outline then. It was november when we picked Psalm 113 to be the sermon text this week. At the time, I liked the psalm, but in many ways, it was just another psalm.

Fast forward eight months to this morning. My wife and I have been praying for friends of ours for almost a year. The situation has been painful, frustrating, and a cause for a lot of time before God in prayer. It felt like no answer for months. I arose this morning and began working on Psalm 113, ruminating on the opening lines, “Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord! Praise the name of the Lord! Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time on and forevermore.” But I was tired and unmotivated, the words coming off my lips, but my heart struggled to find my place before God. How do I pray this psalm when my heart was tired?

Then a text message came in. Two words, but it gave me enough hope and enough sense of God at work that Psalm 113 came alive on my lips. Two minutes earlier, I didn’t feel like praising the Lord, but I was. Now, my gratitude was so great, I almost didn’t have words. But I did – Psalm 113. It was the psalm at the right time for me. It was the right psalm to help me praise the Lord when my heart was tired and heavy and I could not praise on my own. And it was the right psalm when my heart was lifted before the Lord and I had no words to express it.

Who is like the Lord our God,

who sits on high,

who looks far down on the heavens and the earth?

He raises the poor from the dust

and lifts the needy from the ash heap.

When it feels like all the poor and needy in your world still sit in the ashes, we pray Psalm 113, knowing God can do again what is celebrated here. And when you’ve seen it happen, this psalm sings.

 

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