Bible Insights

The People Praise God

Psalm 173: from Beyond Psalm 150

It’s hard for a large group of people to recite a long passage in unison, but they can do quite well with shorter phrases.

Three times in the book of 2 Chronicles and once in the book of Ezra, the people collectively praise God. Each time their succinct response rises as a psalm of adoration.

The first occurrence is when Solomon dedicates the temple (2 Chronicles 5:13).

The second time is right after that when fire comes down from heaven and God’s glory fills the temple (2 Chronicles 7:3).

The third occurs much later when King Jehoshaphat appoints singers to lead the army (2 Chronicles 20:21).

The final time occurs even later still. Some people receive permission to return to their homeland after being conquered and exiled for their disobedience to God.

They repair the altar and resume their sacrifices to God as prescribed by Moses. Then they work on rebuilding the temple. With the foundation laid, the people celebrate in song, with a great shout to God (Ezra 3:11).

Though the details and exact wording vary a bit, in each of these four examples, we can easily envision the people chanting (or singing) this psalm of praise over and over. Imagine their concise liturgy emerging as an escalating celebration of God.

For he is good;
    for his loving kindness endures forever!

2 Chronicles 5:13 (WEB)

Reflections on the People Praise God

To get a better idea of what this could sound like, consider Psalm 136, where the people’s liturgical reaction is the similar recurring phrase, “for his loving kindness endures forever.”

In this Psalm the phrase repeats twenty-six times in response to various affirmations of who God is and what he does.

Are we willing to praise Yahweh aloud in corporate worship as good, whose loving kindness endures forever?

If we hesitate to do so because it seems awkward or unfamiliar, does our attitude toward worship need to change?

May we sing and chant our adoration to Almighty God.

Explore the other psalms—sacred songs of praise, petition, and lament—scattered throughout the Bible in Peter’s book Beyond Psalm 150.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

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