Daybreak: Psalms 144:1 through 146:10
“Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.” (Psalm 144:15)
When I was a little girl, my mom would often read aloud bits and pieces of letters she received from her family in New York. Whenever she would send a picture of us, a letter always came back saying how impressed our faraway relatives were that every picture was filled with smiling faces. Each time, I would wait for this part of the letter to be read, and then I would ask, “Why are we always smiling in our pictures?” My mom would chuckle and say, “It’s because we love Jesus, and He is our Savior.”
Sometime back I received a card from my bank. I puzzled briefly over the envelope before opening it, since my birthday had already passed and Christmas was months away. Inside I found this note, “Thank you for being a smiling, happy customer. It is people like you who make my job great!” It brought back memories of those family letters.
As Christians we are a blessed people. Of course we know that even non-believers can be happy. They can smile for the camera, laugh at jokes, and enjoy themselves. But followers of Christ have a deep-seated joy that is not tied to circumstances. We have God’s wonderful love in our hearts, His peace flowing through us, and the reality of His presence surrounding us each moment of the day — and that is definitely something to smile about!
In Psalm 144, David contemplated the blessings that come to a nation or society founded upon the solid rock of God’s teachings. He painted a picture of full “garners” (storage bins), increasing flocks of sheep, and strong oxen — all images that would have been familiar in an agricultural society where prosperity was measured in terms of crops and livestock. However, the principle the psalmist voiced in our focus verse is applicable to individuals as well. Those of us “whose God is the Lord” are unquestionably blessed! While our blessings may not be measured in full garners and ever-expanding flocks, God fills our lives with innumerable benefits, and this should be reflected in our joyous attitude toward life and those around us.
Certainly, challenges will come along that could threaten to take away our smiles. During such times, we need to turn our focus to our blessings. We can all find things to be thankful for if we look back through the pages of our lives! Remember, people are watching.
Today, how is your smile? Has it been absent for a while? Try praising the Lord and reflecting on His loving presence in your life. Others will notice and be drawn to the God you serve.
Psalm 144, which credits God as the sole Source of victory and deliverance, is attributed to David. However, this psalm was likely compiled from other Davidic writings; it bears a close resemblance to Psalm 18, and includes quotes from Psalms 8, 33, and 102-104.
Categorized as one of the royal psalms, Psalm 144 deals with the issues of national life. It presents some of the moral and spiritual conditions that nations and individuals must adhere to if they desire the blessing of God. Based on verses 7, 8, and 11, the setting was apparently a time when Israel was attempting to repel a foreign invasion.
Warfare is a prominent theme in the Book of Psalms, and Psalm 144 is an example. The reference in verse 1 to the Lord God of Israel who “teacheth…my fingers to fight” was likely a reference to using a bow as a weapon. In the next verse, the metaphors of a “fortress,” “high tower,” “deliverer,” and “shield” are all indicative of warfare in a rocky and mountainous land. The Hebrew word “metsudah” translated as “fortress” in this verse is translated as “hold” in 1 Samuel 24:22 and 1 Chronicles 12:8, and may have been a reference to the fortress at Masada, an ancient fortification located about two-and-a-half miles from the western side of the Dead Sea.
In verses 7-8, David pleaded with God to deliver him from his flood of troubles and foreign enemies. The “right hand of falsehood” implies making a false oath, and depicts the deceitfulness of David’s foes. Verses 11-15 concern the well-being of a nation “whose God is the Lord,” and establish that God’s blessing will be evident in the attributes of the nation’s sons and daughters, and in the temporal prosperity evidenced by full storage bins and expanding herds.
Psalm 145, the last Davidic psalm, proclaims that God is King, and His dominion endures throughout all generations. This is David’s only psalm to be given the superscription “psalm of praise.” It is the final acrostic psalm in the Book of Psalms, meaning that each verse begins with a subsequent letter of the Hebrew alphabet. (In this psalm, as in several others, the acrostic form is incomplete; one letter is missing.)
This psalm is identified as an imperatival type of hymn, meaning that the community calls upon all of its members to praise the Lord for His acts of goodness. In Jewish worship, this song is used in the daily prayers, being read twice in the morning and once in the evening service. The concluding verses assert that because God will save those who love Him and destroy those who are wicked, everyone should be persuaded to “bless his holy name for ever and ever.”
Psalms 146-150 are known as hallelujah psalms, since each psalm begins and ends with the phrase, “Praise ye the Lord.” The Hebrew expression from which “hallelujah” is translated is hallelu-Yah, meaning “Praise ye Yahweh.” These five psalms have been sung during morning worship at Jewish synagogues for centuries. Psalm 146 exhorts reliance on God rather than man. The author is unknown, as is the date of composition. The psalm is classified as a congregational hymn.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines – Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. Book I (1:1 — 41:13)
II. Book II (42:1 — 72:20)
III. Book III (73:1 — 89:52)
IV. Book IV (90:1 — 106:48)
V. Book V (107:1 — 150:6)
A Closer Look
- In Psalm 145, David referenced several of God’s character qualities. What are three of the attributes he ascribed to God?
- Why do you think David described God’s greatness as “unsearchable?” (Psalm 145:3)
- How does the psalmist’s admonition in Psalm 146:3 apply to us today?
As followers of Christ, His joy should radiate from us. When it does, others will notice!