The Expository Files


 Not Too High to Bend Low

Psalm 113

Have you ever wondered why God even has a thought for man? The psalmist did! In Psalm 144:3, he said, “Lord, what is man, that You take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that You are mindful of him?” Indeed, if we considered the high standing and power and greatness of God, why would He even think about us? For what reason would God bother with such sinful creatures?

Today, let's take a look at Psalm 113, where the psalmist describes the God who is above all gods, higher than the highest, but — at the same time — not too high to bend low. The Lord who is higher than all and greater than the greatest is defined by how He bends to tend to the needs of the lowest man. This psalm tells us of the God we should know and praise.

A God Worthy of Praise. (vv. 1-3) It seems many psalms begin with this, but we should not be surprised. Almost forty times throughout the psalms do we find the encouragement to praise the Lord, to those who are His people and to those who are not. But who better than His own people to praise Him? Those who serve the Lord know Him best and know the many reasons to praise Him.

The psalmist urges the faithful to praise God, but not temporarily or even just for the moment; he wants this to be continual praise (vv. 2, 3). The psalmist's exhortation is to begin to praise Him who is surely worthy of praise — now and “forevermore.” Because the Lord is great and because of His mighty power — and because He is unchanging (Mal. 3:6), there will not be a time when He is not worthy of praise. If He is worthy of praise now, He is worthy of praise at all times. As we consider that His praise is to be done throughout our lives, let us not forget that this means He should praised throughout each and every day. 'Forever' includes when we wake up in the morning and before we go to bed at night and every moment in between.

The High Lord. (vv. 4, 5) The Lord should be recognized as the power above all powers. In fact, He is the source of all power here on this earth. There is no government leader who does not owe their position of power to the Lord, for He controls it all (cf. Rom. 13:1); He is above all the nations in power. With that high position should also come the highest glory and honor. We should echo the praise of those who surrounded the throne in the vision of the heavenly throne (cf. Rev. 4:11). He is above all nations and those who rule them in the measure of honor and glory we bestow on Him.

As the great and glorious God, He stands unequaled. As the psalmist asks here, “Who is like the Lord our God?” [Read Psa. 89:6-14.] If we should ever think ourselves [or any mere men] worthy of the same glory that He exclusively merits, let us be reminded of His unequaled superiority by asking the questions He asked of Job [Job 38:4ff]. Not only is He greater than any man, but He stands alone as the God, for there is no other (Deut. 4:39; Isa. 45:5-6, 18).

Yet He Looks Down Upon Us. (vv. 6-9) God is so high that He must humble Himself to simply behold man — just to look at us! But as high and as glorious as the Lord is above all nations, He is not unconcerned with the affairs of the things of the heavens and the earth. The same one who created the heavens and the earth cares for His creation! Consider, again, the questions of God to Job (Job 38:39-41); He cares for the living creatures in His creation (Job 5:10). Whatever men may say about the Lord, they cannot say He does not care for His creation!

And as a part of His creation, man is among those upon whom the Lord looks, too. He looked down at man to see if there were any righteous (Psa. 14:2, 3), but found none. He looks down to see our needs and to fulfill what we are unable to do, for that is the very reason He sent His Son to die for our sins. But let us not limit His care to spiritual matters [though that is certainly the most important]; God looks upon all our needs. Here, the psalmist points to His care for the poor and the needy (vv. 7, 8), lifting them up from the dust and ashes to sit with princes. The point is, they are not without help and provision when God hears. He also looks to the one who is childless, to make her “the joyous mother of children” (v. 9). In short, we see that the God who is above all gods is not an uncaring God. God cares.

For those who know the Lord, we must all concede He is the King above all kings, and the God above all gods, and Lord of lords. He is higher in every way than anyone or anything in the heavens and the earth. But, at the same time, He is not too high to bend low. He humbles Himself to look down at us and see our needs that he may fulfill them, for He knows our need even before we ask (cf. Matt. 6:8). Is this the Lord you serve?

By  Steven C. Harper
From Expository Files 18.9; September 2011