The Bible – Old Testament
Hallelujah! 1 How good to celebrate our God in song; how sweet to give fitting praise.
The LORD rebuilds Jerusalem, gathers the dispersed of Israel,
Heals the brokenhearted, binds up their wounds,
Numbers all the stars, calls each of them by name.
Great is our Lord, vast in power, with wisdom beyond measure.
The LORD sustains the poor, but casts the wicked to the ground.
Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; with the lyre celebrate our God,
2 Who covers the heavens with clouds, provides rain for the earth, makes grass sprout on the mountains,
Who gives animals their food and ravens what they cry for.
3 God takes no delight in the strength of horses, no pleasure in the runner’s stride.
Rather the LORD takes pleasure in the devout, those who await his faithful care.
Glorify the LORD, Jerusalem; Zion, offer praise to your God,
Who has strengthened the bars of your gates, blessed your children within you,
Brought peace to your borders, and filled you with finest wheat.
4 The LORD sends a command to earth; his word runs swiftly!
Thus snow is spread like wool, frost is scattered like ash,
Hail is dispersed like crumbs; before such cold the waters freeze.
Again he sends his word and they melt; the wind is unleashed and the waters flow.
The LORD also proclaims his word to Jacob, decrees and laws to Israel.
God has not done this for other nations; of such laws they know nothing. Hallelujah!
1 [Psalm 147] The hymn is divided into three sections by the calls to praise in ⇒ Psalm 147:1; 7,12. The first section praises the powerful creator who restores exiled Judah (⇒ Psalm 147:1-6); the second section, the creator who provides food to animals and humans; the third and climactic section exhorts the holy city to recognize it has been re-created and made the place of disclosure for God’s word, a word as life-giving as water.
2 [8-9] God clothes the fields and feeds the birds. Cf ⇒ Matthew 6:26, ⇒ 30.
3 [10-11] Acknowledging one’s dependence upon God rather than claiming self-sufficiency pleases God. Cf ⇒ Psalm 20:8; ⇒ 33:16-19.
4 [15-19] God speaks through the thunder of nature and the word of revealed law. Cf ⇒ Isaiah 55:10-11. The weather phenomena are well known in Jerusalem: a blizzard of snow and hail followed by a thunderstorm that melts the ice.