The Word Made Fresh
1Praise the LORD!
Lift up the name of the LORD
with praise, you who serve the LORD,
2standing in the temple,
going about your duties in the LORD’s house.
3Praise and sing to the LORD
for the LORD is gracious and good.
4Jacob and Israel were chosen as the LORD’s own possession.
5I know that the LORD is above all other gods.
6The LORD does whatever the LORD pleases
whether in heaven, on the earth or in the seas.
7The LORD makes the clouds form at the earth’s edge,
gives lightning for the rain and brings the winds.
8The LORD struck down the firstborn children of the Egyptians,
and the firstborn offspring of their flocks and herds.
9The LORD did great signs and wonders
against Pharaoh and his entourage
in full view of the people.
10The LORD defeated many nations,
doing away with their kings –
11Sihon of the Amorites, Og of Bashan,
and all the kings in the land of Canaan,
12giving the land to the people of Israel as their heritage.
13Your name endures forever, LORD,
and you will be renowned through the generations.
14The LORD will support the people
and have compassion on them.
15The other nations make idols of gold and silver,
but they are merely the work of human hands.
16They have mouths but cannot speak.
They have eyes but cannot see.
17They have ears but cannot hear.
They have noses but cannot breathe.
18Those who shaped them, and those who trust them,
shall become like them.
19Bless the LORD, Israel!
Bless the LORD, you children of Aaron!
20Bless the LORD, you children of Levi!
Bless the LORD, all of you who revere the LORD’s name!
21Let the LORD be honored from Zion,
for the LORD resides in Jerusalem.
Praise the LORD!
1-4: This hymn of praise begins with a threefold call for those who are gathered in the temple courtyard to praise God. This is followed by three reasons to praise God: God is good; God is gracious; and God has chosen Jacob/Israel.
5-7: In an agrarian culture the power and majesty of nature are accepted as evidence of God’s greatness.
8-12: History is also evidence of God’s greatness. God overcame mighty Egypt, ruled by a Pharaoh who claimed divine status. Sihon and Og are mentioned again as examples of how God is mightier than human armies (see the stories in Numbers 21 and Deuteronomy 3).
13-18: Israel’s God is compared with the non-gods of the nations, artificial gods who have no power at all.
19-21: The call to praise is repeated, summoning first the house of Israel (all the descendants of Jacob), then the house of Aaron (the priesthood), then the Levites (temple servants), and finally “you who fear the LORD” (non-Israelites converted to faith in Israel’s God), so that figuratively speaking at least the whole world is summoned to Jerusalem to worship God.
Remember today the ways and times in which you have felt the presence of God or received guidance when you prayed to God. Praise the LORD with prayers and songs. Praise the LORD with offerings of gifts and service.