[This is Week 6 of a 6-week preaching series on Psalms.]
Preaching text: Psalm 146; accompanying text: Luke 7:18-23
Reorientation, Part 3: Praise and Trust
The Psalter ends with an extended call to praise — seven psalms of praise bring the Psalter to an astounding peal of praise.
Psalm 146 is one of these psalms. This psalm calls us to praise and invites us to trust.
In the call to praise, the psalmist calls others to praise the Lord (Praise the Lord!) and at the same time exhorts himself or herself to praise the Lord (Praise the Lord, o my soul!).
In the reasons for praise, the psalmist emphasizes that the Lord is the only one in whom we can truly place our trust: “Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals in whom there is no trust.”
The psalm then recounts God as both creator and deliverer: The one who made heaven and earth and sets the prisoners free, heals the sick, lifts up the oppressed.
These acts are not universal — not everyone experiences every grace from God. The Psalter knows that we grow sick, we can be killed, we are oppressed. But God moves in the midst of sufferings, sustaining God’s people and pulling the beloved creation forward into God’s preferred future. These acts of deliverance are representative of God’s characteristic intrusions into a broken and suffering world.
The psalms as a whole are not meant primarily to be sung in worship. Rather, we are invited to come to worship in order that we might sing the songs in daily life. So, when we are wallowing neck deep in the mire of life, we are invited to sing the songs of lament: O Lord, have mercy. When we are experiencing the grace and joy of life, we are invited to sing the songs of praise: Thank you God! When we are in a tough spot, but remember God’s presence, we are invited to say, “I trust you O God, you are with me.” And when we see God at work in the world, we are invited to point to God’s invisible hand at work and say, “Praise the Lord!”
Let everything that lives praise the Lord.