Friday, August 3, 2012

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday August 5, 2012

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(True hope is in the LORD’s justice)
(Psalm 146)

Psalm 118:8 is the exact center of the Christian Bible. There we are reminded by GOD that, “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in people” (NLT). Here in Psalm 146, verse 3, we are reminded of that same thing. In fact, it is a statement that goes to the heart of Christian Theology and permeates the pages of Scripture like no other, the fact that, we should ultimately trust in the leadership of GOD’s Word, and not in the ever-changing leadership policies and character of man.
The last five Psalms (146-150) are collectively known as the “Hallelujah Psalms” because they serve to bring into focus, the importance of our need to praise the Almighty GOD continually and eternally. They also represent to us, a brief lesson in worship that even the church of the twenty-first century can benefit greatly from.
To the great church leader and historian, Martin Luther, Psalm 146 takes on a special meaning. Luther often recalled how he was forced to rely on the rulers of the German government to stand up for the Protestant faith, during Reformation, until, after much soul-searching, he was able to realize that he didn’t need to rely on them for help at all, but rather, he only needed to rely on the GOD of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, WHOM he had always served.
The LORD stands as a source of light, in both, the physical, and, the spiritual sense. HIS help and justice extend to the lowest rungs on the social and economic ladder of life. HE demands justice and mercy for the disadvantaged, and HE judges those who oppress them. HE is more than able to keep us from falling over and over again, and then finally, HE can bring us into HIS OWN glorious presence in the end.
The phrase “Praise the LORD” begins and ends each one of the “Hallelujah Psalms”. Here in Psalm 146, the psalmist instructs us to put our trust in the LORD WHO is infinitely more powerful than any mere human, who has no ability or power, what-so-ever, to save us. When a man dies, all of his plans die with him, and so he cannot help a person beyond this life. When his spirit leaves his body, his body must return to the dust of the earth, never to be constructed again to its former state. Therefore, there can be no reason to praise a man, nor, can we count him divinely regal. Only GOD’s plan is eternal, prevailing, and unchanging.
In verses 7-9, we see depicted, the idea of the LORD’s faithfulness and commitment to those in need (all who believe). Here we see a laundry list of those who stand in need most in our society, and how GOD is faithful to take them under HIS wings; HE cares for those who are spiritually, physically, and emotionally oppressed, HE feeds the hungry, frees the captive, protects the foreigner, and secures the lives of the orphans and widows. And because HE is totally just, HE will lead the wicked away in frustration, and also, provide them with their just rewards.
No one can do what GOD does, and justly, no one can merit the praise that the Almighty GOD commands and deserves. The writer of this psalm clearly understood that GOD is not just a part of life, but rather, GOD is life. GOD delivers to us, life, breath, and strength, and so it becomes only fitting that we give HIM praise, all the day long!

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

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