Saturday, April 23, 2011

Psalm 113

The Condescending Grace of God
When I survey the wondrous Cross
On which the Prince of Glory died
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride 
~ Isaac Watts

 Psalm 113 is the first of 6 psalms (113 – 118) known as the “Egyptian Hallel” (Egyptian Praise).  Psalms 113 and 114 were customarily sung before the Passover Meal, and 115 – 118 were sung after it. 

The call to offer praise in verses 1-3 precedes a recital of the characteristics of God that are worthy of that praise.

 During the first Passover, God helped the children of Israel escape slavery from the Egyptians by inflicting 10 plagues upon the land of Egypt.  The 10th and worst of the plagues was the slaughter of the first-born of every household.  The Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of the spring lamb – and in seeing this, the spirit of the Lord “passed over” these homes and did not visit them with death.

 This was a sign to come of the Messiah – that His blood was shed for us so that God’s wrath will “pass over” those who believe in Christ and we will not be ultimately destroyed.
For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment; I am the Lord.  Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are.  And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.   ~Exodus 12:12-13

For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.
 ~I Cor. 5:7
As we reflect on this Easter Sunday and praise our God for providing His sacrificial lamb for us so that His cup of wrath will “pass over” us and we can enter into His presence clothed in the righteousness of Christ, let us claim with the words of the psalmist in verse 3
The Lord’s name is to be praised!
I love verses 5 & 6 :
Who is like the Lord our God, Who dwells on high,
And humbles Himself to behold
The things that are in the heavens and in the earth?

If it be such condescension for God to behold things in Heaven and earth, what an amazing condescension was it for the Son of God to come from Heaven to earth and take our nature upon Him, that He might seek and save those that were lost! 
 ~ Matthew Henry

I have two very favorite hymns – below is one of them:
How Deep the Father’s love for Us
~ Stuart Townend

How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast, beyond all measure
That He would give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure!

How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

What should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

  • The Lord’s name is to be blessed forevermore
  • The Lord is high above all nations
  • The Lord dwells on high
  • The Lord humbles Himself to behold the things that are in the heavens and in the earth
  • The Lord is with the poor and needy
I bless the Lord that He humbled Himself to behold me – that He raised me out of the dust and lifted me out of the ash heap . . . and that I that I will one day be seated in the heavenly places with the Prince of Glory at His table – the Lord’s name is to be praised!

 PRAYER: by Ruth Harms Calkin
It was early dawn, Lord
And I was looking for You.
And weeping.
Within the dismal tomb
I searched
I called
I waited
But nowhere could I find You.
Then through the gray
There came a vibrant voice:
He’s risen!
He’s alive!
Rush toward joy!
You’ll find Him everywhere
Outside the tomb –
But never, never there.
Startled and amazed
I left the tomb
To walk the path of praise –
Then looking up
I saw You by my side
And all of life became
An Easter morn.

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