Psalm 147

Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him! The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. The LORD sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground.

 

Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make music to our God on the harp. He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call. His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of a man; the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.

 

Extol the LORD, O Jerusalem; praise your God, O Zion, for he strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your people within you. He grants peace to your borders and satisfies you with the finest of wheat. He sends his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly. He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes. He hurls down his hail like pebbles. Who can withstand his icy blast? He sends his word and melts them; he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow.

 

He has revealed his word to Jacob, his laws and decrees to Israel. He has done this for no other nation; they do not know his laws. Praise the LORD.

It’s estimated that there are over 100,000 million stars. If you counted one each second, it would take you 2500 years to finish. The Lord doesn’t just count them, He calls each one by name. Tradition holds that He had Adam, Seth, and Enoch name some of them. They chose 12 major and 36 minor constellations for a total of 48 whose names in Hebrew tell the Gospel Story. They’re memorialized in the Sphinx whose female face represents Virgo the Virgin, the first major constellation and whose body is Leo the lion, the last. They were later corrupted into the Babylonian signs of the Zodiac, which is the basis for our modern astrology. Among other things, the tower of Babel was an astrological observatory. The study of astrology was a capital crime in ancient Israel. It’s called being an observer of times in Deut. 18:10 (KJV) and is one of the sins for which the Canaanites were driven from the Promised Land. The Lord is serious about His Word. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.

Calling the stars by name is just one of the really enormous feats the Lord has performed. Maybe that’s why some people can’t believe in Him. He’s just too big. Why would someone that powerful want to bother with the likes of you and me? Funny, isn’t it, that when this unimaginably mighty God came to Earth as a man, they thought He was too small? They wanted a great warrior who would stand up to the Romans and give them what for, someone to right all the wrongs done to them and restore them to their rightful (they thought) position.

I don’t mean the common folk, it was Israel’s leadership that wanted all of this. They were tired of knuckling under to those gentile foreigners. It was humiliating. They wanted the power that their ancestors had wielded, the prominence in world affairs they’d enjoyed. And they didn’t see how He could provide it. He wasn’t royalty, He wasn’t wealthy, He wasn’t one of them. There was nothing about Him that was attractive to them.

The words of a song by Don Potter come to mind. I wore out my copy years ago, but I’ll never forget it. It conveys so beautifully the contrast between Him and their expectations.

“When He walked into a room, no one noticed he was there, a simple man they knew from Galilee. The son of a carpenter who lived right down the road, they all thought they knew what he would be. He would work with wood, build a home, maybe raise a family. Surely there’d be no great destiny. But no one knew the secret hidden in His mother’s heart. His appearance gave no hint to what they’d see.

But when He spoke, all of Heaven just stood still, and the Earth began to tremble beneath His Father’s will. When He spoke, the hearts of men began to change. Heaven fell like rain when He spoke.

He wore no priestly robes, nor walked with royalty. His friends were common men like you and me. He spoke of a Father and a Kingdom and a Throne, one He said no Earthly eye could see. They were amazed that a carpenter could perform such mighty deeds, and still walk in such great humility. But no one knew the secrets of His Father from above, they could not understand this kind of love.”

There’s more, but you get the idea, and you really have to hear it to appreciate it. I wish I still had that tape. Don, if you’re out there, yours is one of the great songs about Jesus. Thank you.

Because they can’t comprehend His enormity, liberal theology has tried to make God small enough to fit into our minds. They do this by denying His deity, promoting the blasphemy they call evolution, and explaining away His miracles. In the process they’ve made Him too small to solve our problems and left millions of their victims without hope.

But you and I know the truth. This incredibly big and powerful God voluntarily set aside His powers and confined Himself inside the body of a small, ordinary man. He felt our pain, experienced our disappointments, and wept over our dead. Then He offered up his perfect sinless life for us, to put an end to our suffering. And with the same power He used to create our world, He rose from the dead and walked out of the grave, promising all who believe in Him the very same victory.

Yes, He’s big. Big enough to create the Universe, name the stars, and win the victory over death for us. And He’s small. Small enough to be one of us, to know what that’s like, and to understand what we’re going through. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)

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