Yahweh, Our God
(5) Blessed (is the one) whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in Yahweh, his God, (6) who created heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who maintains faithfulness forever, (7) who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. Yahweh sets free the imprisoned. (8) Yahweh opens the eyes of the blind. Yahweh raises up those who are bowed down. Yahweh loves the righteous. (9) Yahweh keeps watch over the sojourners. He sustains the orphan and the widow, but he frustrates the way of the wicked. (10) Yahweh will reign forever, Your God, O Zion, to all generations. HALLELUJAH!
This study repeats yesterday's final verse as the first verse of this segment (vs. 5) because it serves as a hinge, both concluding the first half and opening the second half of Psalm 146. Each of the following two verses begins with the same word, the participial form of the verb “to make/do” (vss. 6 & 7). The first occurrence should be translated “create” or “shape” (vs. 6) while the second conveys the idea of “execute” or “carry out” (vs. 7).
Three more repetitions are found in these verses. “Forever” occurs twice, referring to Yahweh’s eternal faithfulness and his reign that never ends (vss. 6 & 10). The name, “Yahweh,” is repeated seven times in these five verses showing him to be the focus of the segment. Finally, the psalm ends as it begins with the Hebrew exclamation, “Hallelujah” or “Praise Yahweh!” (cf. vss. 1 & 10).
I. Praise Yahweh, who created the heavens and earth. (6)
II. Praise Yahweh, who sustains all by his gracious care. (7-9)
III. Praise Yahweh, who reigns forever. (10)
The beneficiaries of Yahweh’s work as creator, sustainer, and supreme ruler should praise him continually.
In the middle of this segment we find a list of those who are under Yahweh’s care: the oppressed, the hungry, the imprisoned, the blind, the righteous, those who are bowed down, the sojourner, the widow. This list includes all but the wicked (vss. 7-9). The question, “Where do we fit in,” can be answered by asking other questions. Who among us has not been oppressed by evil people? Who among us has not experienced hunger, imprisonment, blindness as those without Christ and under the dominion of Satan? We are the righteous because of the imputed righteousness of Christ. We are those who cannot survive apart from God’s sustaining grace.
In his introduction to the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave a similar listing called the Beatitudes. This includes statements like, “Blessed are the poor in spirit...those who mourn…the meek…those who hunger and thirst after righteousness” (Mt. 5:3-6). Only when we become fully aware of our desperate state apart from God’s grace will we learn to rely on Yahweh completely and look to him to meet our every need with an attitude of humility and dependence. Where do we fit in? Were we to evaluate ourselves honestly, we would readily acknowledge that every description of need the psalmist (and Jesus) used applies to each of us.