One of the best-known choral works in the western world is Handel’s Messiah. Early in its history, a curious custom developed. The audience would stand for the “Hallelujah Chorus,” sung at the end of the second movement. Popular tradition holds that this practice originated during the London premier when King George II stood during this song, requiring everyone else to do so as well.
Psalms 146–150 begin and end with the Hebrew phrase “Hallelujah,” translated as “Praise the LORD.” You might say that these last five psalms are the “Hallelujah Chorus” of the Psalter. In today’s reading, verses 2–3 demonstrate an important truth. After declaring to “praise the LORD all of my life,” the Psalmist then warns Israel to “not put your trust in princes.” There is a big contrast here between trusting in God, the King of kings, and trusting in earthly rulers.
When we praise God, it helps to center us and remind us where our true hope lies. Our allegiance is not primarily to things of this world. We are people “whose hope is in the LORD their God” (v. 5).
In the second half of the psalm, the Psalmist recounts several attributes of God as reasons to praise Him. He reminds us that God cares deeply about the oppressed, the poor, prisoners, the blind, orphans, and widows (vv. 7–9). Not only does this remind us of how compassionate God is, but it also serves as a model for us to follow. If God cares for these vulnerable people, we should as well. Praising God should inspire us to acts of compassion and mercy.
>> We have been given a model of compassion and mercy in Jesus! The Son of God and Messiah of Israel spent much of His life preaching good news to the poor, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, and showing compassion on the lowly (Luke 4:16–21). How can we follow in His footsteps?
Time and again, Scripture demonstrates Your concern for the widow, the orphan, and the foreigner. Fill us with Your compassion for the lonely. Give us humility to care for the overlooked with godly love.