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Praise the LORD! During Lent

Psalm 113

1 Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord, you his servants;

praise the name of the Lord.

2 Let the name of the Lord be praised,

both now and forevermore.

3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,

the name of the Lord is to be praised.

4 The Lord is exalted over all the nations,

his glory above the heavens.

5 Who is like the Lord our God,

the One who sits enthroned on high,

6 who stoops down to look

on the heavens and the earth?

7 He raises the poor from the dust

and lifts the needy from the ash heap;

8 he seats them with princes,

with the princes of his people.

9 He settles the childless woman in her home

as a happy mother of children.

Praise the Lord.

We are preparing for a time of Lent. This is a season meant for the Christian person to intentionally find time for self-reflection and consider their true relationship with Father.

Although there is conflicting information on who wrote Psalm 113, it is part of what is called the Hallel, which are the songs the Jews sing before their Passover Meal and after their meal. Psalm 113 and Psalm 114 are sung before and Psalms 115, 116, 117, and 118 are sung after the meal. These Psalms have celebration and praise in the words.

Sometimes we come to Lent in our own personal season of grief, or anxiety, or fear. Sometimes we come to Lent in a personal season of growth and happiness, excitement, and all things going well. Yet, Lent always comes.

Read the words of the Psalms in 113 through 118 and you will hear a people retelling the account of living in Egypt in oppression and being rescued by their Great and Glorious God, the LORD God Almighty. These songs are full of hope and celebration – no matter what else is going on in your life, God is a God of hope and celebration, of grace and mercy, of promise and salvation.

Read through the Gospels and see the progression of Jesus, dropping in on humankind from heaven born of a baby. He grows to a man and lives the same life as you and me – full of celebrations, grief, bullying, mocking, and questioning but it is also full of sharing, healing, teaching, loving, and forgiveness. As the accounts of Jesus progress, he draws closer and closer to Jerusalem where he will be beaten and crucified. He is killed on that Roman cross and buried only to rise from death in victory and declare eternal life for those that believe.

And as Jesus arrives in Jerusalem, the accounts tell of Jesus having a meal in an upper room the night before he was arrested. Mark 14:26 gives a quick insight into that meal, “26 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” It is likely, Jesus, a Jew, sang Psalm 113 with his disciples, that evening. Jesus, completely divine and completely human. Jesus, always in the presence of Father. Jesus thought it was important to sing the words of praise and thanksgiving knowing what was going to happen in a few short hours.

Listen close. Listen for Jesus' voice as He sings to His Father, “Praise the LORD. Let the name of the LORD be praised, both now and forevermore.” Jesus was there in the beginning of creation and He will be there when heaven and earth are remade for all eternity and still He needed to sing these words of praise.

“Who is like the LORD our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?” “Praise the LORD!” Hallelujah.

I would challenge you to print out the words to Psalm 113 and hang it on your mirror and sing those words to Father every morning as you get ready. Use those words to sing grace before every meal and snack throughout your days of Lent. Put the words in your car and sing them as you are driving every day. Don’t just read them. Don’t just repeat them. Sing them. Make them your song of praise and you will come to Resurrection Day with a different stirring in your heart to greet Jesus at the empty tomb as never before!

“Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD, you his servants; praise the name of the LORD.”

Can you say those words without feeling praise and worship in your soul??

*The photo used was sent to me by a friend from the Dubuque area. Look closely and see God’s handiwork in the break of the clouds.

Pastor Steve

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