October 05, 2015
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
Contrast after Contrast
“Who is like unto the Lord our God ..
who humbleth Himself .. He raiseth .. He lifteth … ”
This Psalm begins and ends with Hallelujah. It celebrates the Name (glory) of the Lord as revealed in His humility and compassion (vv 5-6), grace and goodness (vv 7-9). His care is shown for those whom society would view with disdain – a poor man and a barren woman.
This Psalm is also the first of the Egyptian Hallel psalms sung at Passover. It is touching to think of the Lord singing it on His last night.
But the psalm contains great contrasts which can only result in worship ascending from your hearts.
A Contrast in Movement
In verse 6 we are told that God humbles Himself to behold the things that are in heaven and that are on earth. He is so high and majestic, so lofty and self-sufficient in Himself, that He needs nothing. So a glance downward to concern Himself with the heavens and humanity is a step downward in self-humbling for our God.
This awareness on the part of the psalmist led to worship from His heart. But what would he have thought if he knew the contrast in movements? It was not just His eyes which looked upon earth, but He Who eternally existed in the form of God actually humbled Himself and poured His deity into a servant form, took true and full humanity to Himself, and lived amongst us. No longer would it be simply His eyes involved with humanity, but His very existence linked with humanity!
A Contrast in Means
“He raises the poor from out of the dust and He lifteth the needy out of the dunghill.” As the singer considered the mercy and goodness of God, his soul rose in adoration. That God should have an interest in the very ones that society abused caused him to marvel. What the psalmist did not know is that to do this for sinful humanity, He would have to become poor Himself. He would have to be cut off and viewed as a transgressor and a malefactor. He would have to literally be thrown upon the dunghill of humanity’s esteem. And not only would He lift the poor through His own poverty, but He would make that poor man rich.
A Contrast in Measure
In our psalm, those who are the objects of grace and mercy are set among the princes of God’s people. Dignity is conferred and destiny is assured by such magnanimous actions. But what of the New Testament revelation? We will one day reign with Him – a Kingdom of priests. But we are far more than princes. We are actually brought into the very family of God, children of the Most High, sons by adoption.
To us, in this day of grace, has been given the totality of divine blessings that God’s infinite heart of love ever desired to lavish upon man. We sometimes sing:
So near so very near to God
I cannot nearer be …
1. Look at the outline of the Psalm and summarize each verse of each section to find more gold for worship:
vv 1-3 The Expansive Call to Worship
vv 4-6 The Express Cause for Worship
vv 7-9 The Exhibited Compassion
2. God’s glory is not only “at home” in the great works of creation (Ps 111), but in the tender interventions among the poor and needy, the barren and sorrowful.
3. Can you find additional contrasts in this Psalm?