Song of Salvation for the Humble: Psalm 113


Psalm 113

 

1  Praise the Lord!
Praise, O servants of the Lord,
    praise the name of the Lord!

2 Blessed be the name of the Lord
    from this time forth and forevermore!
3 From the rising of the sun to its setting,
    the name of the Lord is to be praised!


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4 The Lord is high above all nations,
    and his glory above the heavens!
5 Who is like the Lord our God,
    who is seated on high,

6 who looks far down
on the heavens and the earth?
7 He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
8 to make them sit with princes,
with the princes of his people.
9 He gives the barren woman a home,
making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the Lord!

  

The Greatness of a Transcendent God

This psalm begins in verse 1 with a call to praise. Then, the reason for that praise is given: God’s supreme greatness.

There are many reasons God is so great. The first is given in verse 2: we praise him because he is God, from this time forth and forevermore. God transcends time and is eternal.

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“God’s greatness does not consist only in his creation of all things and his transcendence of his creation. His greatness is also found in his ability to enter humbly into the midst of we, the lowly. He stoops down to our level and delivers us.

Reason two is found in verse 3: we praise him because he is God, from the rising of the sun to its setting. God created all things, and is omnipresent.

The fourth reason to praise is in verse 4: we praise him because he is the God who is high above all nations. He is more glorious and beautiful than all the kings and rulers of the world.  

The Greatness of a Humble God

Next, the psalmist contrasts God’s greatness with any other seeming greatness we see in the world. He presents the most important reason we have to praise God – a reason that is even more manifest when it is viewed in the context of the previous reasons given in the first four verses. This final reason, which continues throughout the remainder of the psalm, brings the praise to a climax.

There is no God as supreme as our God, yet so humble. Our God is willing to stoop to the lowly. He intervenes in human history to lift up and redeem the lowly. Verses 7-9 give some examples: “He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people. He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the LORD!”

This text is almost a verbatim quotation from the Song of Hannah. [The Song of Hannah is the prayer of exultation Hannah prayed after God answered her prayers for a child with the birth of her son, Samuel.]

The psalmist shows us that we have reason to praise God, not only because of his supreme greatness, but also because of his inherent, personal greatness. God’s greatness does not consist only in his creation of all things and his transcendence of his creation. His greatness is also found in his ability to enter humbly into the midst of we, the lowly. He stoops down to our level and delivers us.

A Nature Which Stoops

Historically, this psalm was one of a series of psalms used by the Jews every year at Passover. They began the series with this psalm, Psalm 113, and ended it with Psalm 118, which was customarily sung at the Passover. This group of songs were probably the last psalms sung by the Lord Jesus before his suffering. Mark 14:26 refers to this: “And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” This reminds us that the fulfillment of the story of the Exodus from Egypt is based on God’s nature, a nature which stoops down to and delivers the lowly.

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“The fulfillment of the story of the Exodus from Egypt is based on God’s nature, a nature which stoops down to and delivers the lowly.

The greatness of God’s presence and the greatness of his humility is ultimately embodied in Christ; “for from him and through him and to him are all things.” Our God was willing to become a baby in swaddling clothes, to become like humans in all aspects, and ultimately to die on the cross, the most terrible ordeal of all.

The humility of God accomplished salvation, so that we, the lowly, may sit with him, reign with him, inherit the universe, and govern it. This psalm shows us this deep part of the very heart of God.

Preacher Yang is the pastor of a house church in Xiamen, China. He received his Master of Divinity from Singapore Theological Seminary.

 

PRAYER

We praise you, God, because your greatness surpasses all things, and you are the source of all things. We praise you because you are willing to dwell in the hearts of us who are as lowly as worms and maggots. You save us, guide us, and sanctify us, even though we are often weak and even resist you, and you will not leave us until you come again to make us complete in your likeness.

Thank you for such great love. Thank you for loving us so humbly and so purely that we long to love you, follow you, glorify you, and serve you all the days of our lives, until you one day see in us the image of the glory of Christ. Amen!

   


We are using the Psalms to guide our prayers for China

In 2022, our prayer movement is turning to the scriptural prayers found in the Psalms as we pray for the Chinese church. When you join our prayer movement, you will receive weekly prayer emails and a monthly newsletter so that you too can pray for our brothers and sisters in China.

  

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Further Reading

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Qingdao: How to Pray
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Qingdao: Locals and Outsiders
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Qingdao: Good Soil for the Gospel
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LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA

With rising pressure and persecution in China, there are two challenges imperative for church leaders. The first challenge is for current leaders to love Christ above all else, and not to stray into legalism or love of the world. The second challenge is to raise up the next generation of leaders, who will humbly model Jesus even if current leaders are arrested.

WILL YOU JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA? PRAY FOR:

  1. Current leaders to grow in their daily walks with Christ
  2. Current leaders to shepherd and raise up new leaders
  3. New leaders who love Christ and will model him to the world
  4. New leaders to love and care for the church

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ABOUT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

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Shenyang is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Liaoning Province. It is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, including the Shenyang Imperial Palace, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Shenyang is also a hub for China’s heavy industry, with companies such as the China First Automobile Group and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation having their headquarters in the city.

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About Qingdao

Qingdao is a city located in eastern China and is famous for its beaches, beer, and seafood. The city is home to several landmarks, including the Zhanqiao Pier and the Badaguan Scenic Area. Qingdao is also a major port and has a thriving economy, with industries such as electronics, petrochemicals, and machinery.

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About Xiamen

Xiamen is a city located in southeastern China and is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful coastal scenery, including Gulangyu Island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is also a hub for China’s high-tech industry, with companies such as Huawei and ZTE having research and development centers in Xiamen.

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Nanjing is a city located in eastern China and is the capital of Jiangsu Province. It is one of China’s ancient capitals and has a rich cultural history, including the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the Nanjing City Wall, and the Confucius Temple. Nanjing is also a modern city with a thriving economy and is home to several universities, including Nanjing University and Southeast University.

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Changchun is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Jilin Province. It is known for its rich cultural heritage and is home to several historical landmarks such as the Puppet Emperor’s Palace and the Jingyuetan National Forest Park. Changchun is also a hub for China’s automotive industry, with several major automobile manufacturers having their headquarters in the city.

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About Guangzhou

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is a city located in southern China and is the capital of Guangdong Province. It is one of the country’s largest and most prosperous cities, serving as a major transportation and trading hub for the region. Guangzhou is renowned for its modern architecture, including the Canton Tower and the Guangzhou Opera House, as well as its Cantonese cuisine, which is famous for its variety and bold flavors. The city also has a rich history, with landmarks such as the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, and the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. Additionally, Guangzhou hosts the annual Canton Fair, the largest trade fair in China.

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About Kunming

Kunming is a city located in southwest China and is the capital of Yunnan Province. Known as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its mild climate, Kunming is a popular tourist destination due to its natural beauty and cultural diversity. The city is home to several scenic spots, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Stone Forest, Dian Lake, and the Western Hills. Kunming is also famous for its unique cuisine, which features a mix of Han, Yi, and Bai ethnic flavors. The city has a rich cultural history, with ancient temples and shrines like the Yuantong Temple and the Golden Temple, and it’s also a hub for Yunnan’s ethnic minority cultures, such as the Yi and Bai peoples.

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About Shenzhen

Shenzhen is a city located in southeastern China and is one of the country’s fastest-growing metropolises. The city is renowned for its thriving tech industry, with companies such as Huawei, Tencent, and DJI having their headquarters in Shenzhen. The city also has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, art galleries, and parks. Shenzhen is also known for its modern architecture, such as the Ping An Finance Center and the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center. Despite its modernization, Shenzhen also has a rich history and cultural heritage, with landmarks such as the Dapeng Fortress and the Chiwan Tin Hau Temple.

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About Chengdu

Chengdu is a city located in the southwestern region of China, and the capital of Sichuan province. It has a population of over 18 million people, and it is famous for its spicy Sichuan cuisine, laid-back lifestyle, and its cute and cuddly residents – the giant pandas. Chengdu is home to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, where visitors can observe these adorable creatures in their natural habitat. The city also boasts a rich cultural heritage, with numerous temples, museums, and historical sites scattered throughout its boundaries. Chengdu is a city of contrasts, with ancient traditions coexisting alongside modern developments, making it an intriguing and fascinating destination for visitors to China. 

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About Beijing

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About Shanghai

Shanghai is a vibrant and dynamic city located on the eastern coast of China. It is the largest city in China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 24 million people. Shanghai is a global financial hub and a major center for international trade, with a rich history and culture that spans over 1,000 years. The city is famous for its iconic skyline, which features towering skyscrapers such as the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai Tower. Shanghai is also home to a diverse culinary scene, world-class museums and art galleries, and numerous shopping districts. It is a city that is constantly evolving and reinventing itself, making it a fascinating destination for visitors from around the world.

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