Lemons to lemonade…. It can seem such a long way from one to the other- at least from our mortal perspective. Today, I meditated upon an old favorite – Psalm 147. In past years, it has provided great comfort. I hope that each person taking the time to read this will take more time to actually read the Psalm and meditate upon its beauty and truth.
This Psalm is placed in the series of praise lyrics that make up the closing portion of the Psalter, and it is appropriately bookmarked at each end with the command to “Praise the Lord”. In between these commands, we are given a catalogue or listing of a variety of God’s acts and attributes. The list touches upon the immense scope of His power and understanding in the personal, communal, and cosmic spheres of life. In other words, nothing remains untouched by his grandeur and strength.
The immense scope of His power as described in the images of this poem set up a powerful contrast for the tender intimacy which accompanies the personal and communal care of his people. For example, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (verse 3) is immediately followed by “He determines the number of stars; he gives to all of them their names” (verse 4). The star maker is also the heart mender.
The middle of the poem holds a powerful reminder. It is a reminder made poignant by the list of the proofs of power that surround these verses. The poet is telling us that our hope has a strong basis.
“His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love” (verses 10-11).
Here in the very middle of the poem lies what I would call the high point of this lyric. We are told the source of His pleasure, and amazingly, this source is linked to us. This great and powerful God whose understanding is beyond our finding out takes pleasure in us when we hope- hope in His steadfast love.
His pleasure is personal and tender for hope is a fragile thing. This God who “hurls down crystals of ice like crumbs” (vs 17) takes pleasure because I remember to hope in Him. When I practice hope, the lemons of life become an opportunity to bring pleasure to my Lord. This remembrance can make those lemons of life a touch sweeter.