Hallelujah, What a Savior
Psalm 113-118 are known as the great Hallel. "Hallel" means, "praise; they are Israel; "Halleluiah Chorus." Halleluiah means "Praise Yah-weh."
There are three collections of "Hallel" psalms, all hymns of praise, in the Psalter: first, Psalms 113-118; second, Psalms 120-136; and lastly Psalms 146-150.
Traditionally, the first group was sung at Passover before the meal and the second group after the meal. Psalms 113-118 were sung at all three pilgrimage festivals- Pentecost, Tabernacles and Passover.
They were also assigned to Hanukkah, the Dedication of the Temple, and sung on the first day of each month the new moons. Psalm 113 follows the pattern of hymns of praise: the summons to praise verses one to three and the reasons why verses four to nine.
The word praise and its synonyms occur in the psalms no less than 186 times. Its date of composition is uncertain, probably postexilic.
So let us look at this psalm.
I. THE PLEA TO PRAISE THE LORD – V1-3
Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord! Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forevermore! From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised!
It starts out by saying "Praise the Lord" in verse 1. "Bless" is the same Hebrew word that is often translated as salute, praise, or to speak well of. He is the object of our praise. The Lord is the recipient of our adoration, blessing, thanksgiving, songs and hallelujahs.
This repetition is not without significance. John Macarthur in his sermon on Psalm 113 tells us it is for the purpose of waking us up out of our torpor.
You should picture the psalmist as pointing his finger at you and saying, "You there! Yes, you! Get up on your feet, open your mouth, and start singing to God--that's an order!"
There is a holy urgency to the psalms as if they were in danger of forgetting to praise the Lord. The poet ...
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