Hallelujah to the God of Zion.
A Hallelujah Psalm, setting forth God’s providential care toward all creatures, but especially toward His people, His holy congregation. V. 1. Praise ye the Lord, the entire congregation of believers raising its voice to that end; for it is good to sing praises unto our God, with whom the believers are joined in the most intimate fellowship and proudly declare their possession of Him; for it is pleasant, and praise is comely, it is fitting and appropriate for the faithful to be engaged in singing psalms of praise, a welcome duty. Some of the facts which incite the believers to praise Jehovah are now enumerated. V. 2. The Lord doth build up Jerusalem; as He built the earthly Jerusalem in the time of Nehemiah, so He builds the spiritual Jerusalem, His holy congregation, at all times; He gathereth together the outcasts of Israel, those who are scattered abroad. V. 3. He healeth the broken in heart, those in great distress on account of bitter experiences in their lives, and bindeth up their wounds, literally, “their griefs,” or “pains.” V. 4. He telleth the number of the stars; He calleth them all by their names, bringing them forth, by creative action, in numbers agreeing with His almighty intention. The connection of thought is, of course, that He who is familiar with the last detail of creation, knows all the griefs of His children and is easily able to help. Cp. Is. 40, 26. 27. V. 5. Great is our Lord and of great power, fully able to help and to save, no matter how severe the difficulties may seem; His understanding is infinite, His wisdom can be defined by human beings neither in its depth nor in its fullness, it cannot be figured out by finite minds. V. 6. The Lord lifteth up the meek, those who are suffering in humility He raises up from their lowly position; He casteth the wicked down to the ground, and the higher they exalt themselves, the greater will be their downfall. All this is comfort to the Church and to every believer, no matter how strange the experiences which befall the faithful. The psalm, therefore, changes its tone to one of joyful summons. V. 7. Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving, in giving all honor to His almighty power and mercy; sing praise upon the harp, or “zither,” unto our God; v. 8. who covereth the heaven with clouds, to provide moisture to the earth in due season, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains, far from the cultivated fields of the farmer. V. 9. He giveth, as a result and expression of His providential care, to the beast, to the animals of the wilderness, his food and to the young ravens which cry, which feel their dependence upon His might and care. How much more will the Lord attend to the wants of His children! V. 10. He delighteth not in the strength of the horse, which is often used as a type of powerful agility; He taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man, in man’s physical strength and muscular power. These natural powers will not in themselves save a man nor achieve victory for him. V. 11. The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear Him, who, realizing their own weakness and vanity, feel their full dependence upon Him, reverently trusting in His unmerited favor, in those that hope in His mercy. Such trust meets with the pleasure of Jehovah and is therefore followed by security and blessing in city, house, and country. V. 12. Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion, the summons going out to the entire congregation of Jehovah. V. 13. For He hath strengthened the bars of thy gates, Neh. 7, 1-4, protecting His Church against all invaders and enemies; He hath blessed thy children within thee, for rich spiritual blessings are dispensed by the Lord through the means of grace in the Church. V. 14. He maketh peace in thy borders, enabling His congregation to be built up without the disturbing and distracting influences of steady warfare, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat, with the richest of blessings, Ps. 81, 16. V. 15. He sendeth forth His commandment upon earth, as He did at the time of creation, Gen. 1; Ps. 33, 6-9; His word runneth very swiftly, in order to accomplish His purposes as speedily as possible. The effect of His almighty commands is now shown. V. 16. He giveth snow like wool, the snowflakes coming down like small particles of wool; He scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes, all objects being powdered with the congealed dew or fog. V. 17. He casteth forth His ice like morsels, namely, in the form of hail; who can stand before His cold? All these are small things for the almighty power of Jehovah. V. 18. He sendeth out His word, His command, and melteth them, the ice, snow, and hail; He causeth his wind to blow, as in the case of the foehn of the Alps or the chinook of the northwestern prairies, and the waters flow, the congealed masses dissolving beneath the warmth of the spring breezes. But all these manifestations of His almighty power, great as they are, nevertheless are but secondary to the revelations of God’s kindness and mercy to His people. V. 19. He showeth His Word unto Jacob, the Gospel of His salvation revealed in Law and prophecy, His statutes and His judgments unto Israel, thereby separating and distinguishing this people as a peculiar nation, even as the spiritual Israel is holy to Him through the Gospel. V. 20. He hath not dealt so with any nation, that is, no heathen nation was chosen by Him in this same manner; and as for His judgments, the precepts of His divine justice, as laid down in His written Word, they have not known them. It was Israel’s privilege to possess the historical, written revelation of the one true God, to this people alone were entrusted the oracles of the Lord, whose gist are the Messianic promises. Praise ye the Lord! “The joyful hallelujah is not sounded because these other nations do not possess such a positive knowledge of God’s judgments, but because Israel does possess it. It is declared abundantly in other places that this knowledge of Israel shall be the means of making salvation the common property of the whole world of nations.” (Delitzsch.)