“While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being… Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God: Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is…”
Praising the LORD God is always the right thing to do. He is worthy of all of the praise and glory and honor and worship His creation can bring. Scriptures speak of praising Him in all circumstances and at all times. The writer speaks above of praising God as long as he was alive and had any being; as long as he lived. Unto the moment when his abilities were drained, he wanted to be praising the LORD. As God’s people, our last breath will usher us into His glorious, eternal presence. There we will praise Him with infinitely better ability than we possess now. And we will do so forever.
Praise to God does not depend on anything. He is deserving of praise simply for Who He is. Our circumstances should never change our praise to Him. Though our circumstances change, He does not. He is always the same, and so always worthy of praise. And, He is always good. Our circumstances do not reflect on His character in any way. In Job 34:10, Elihu told Job and his friends, “Therefore hearken unto me, ye men of understanding: far be it from God, that he should do wickedness; and from the Almighty, that he should commit iniquity.” God is good to us and faithful, and, He is always with us no matter our circumstances.
Verses 5 and 6 give reason to praise the LORD. “Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help.” The story of Jacob shows God’s faithfulness and goodness. God had changed his name to Israel. He was the father of that nation. From his four wives were born 12 sons, each one a head of the tribes of Israel. But Jacob had trials in his life. Perhaps the hardest was the day that he heard that his favorite son, Joseph, had been killed by a wild animal. His grief was great. On seeing his grief, none of his sons told Jacob what had happened to Joseph. They knew where he was, but told Jacob that Joseph had died! Years later, those same sons worried about what impact further loss would have on Jacob.
A great famine came on the land. We know from scriptures that it was not only in Canaan, but also in Egypt. We also know that this famine was going to last seven years. But in Egypt was a wise man who had prepared the land for the famine. Through his wisdom, he was able not only to keep the Egyptians alive, but also people from other nations. This wise man was Joseph, Jacob’s “dead” son! In time, Jacob and his whole family moved to Egypt, where they were saved from the famine. So, after 14 or 15 years, Jacob saw Joseph alive again! This situation was used by God to save Jacob and his family.
This was the LORD’s doing and it was marvelous. From Jacob’s perspective, all was darkness and his son was dead. Nothing else mattered. But, God knew of the coming famine and arranged to save Israel and his family. Joseph’s trip to Egypt was engineered by God. In Genesis 50:20 Joseph told his brothers, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” As it says above in Psalm 146, “Happy is he that has the God of Jacob for his help.” Jacob discovered that God is a sure and steadfast help in time of trouble. Happy, indeed, is the one that has the God of Jacob for his help.
The Psalmist also says that happy is he, “whose hope is in the LORD his God: Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is…” All of creation stands as a monument to God’s might. Its immensities have yet to be fully fathomed by mankind. The sky for its vastness and the sea in its depths are beyond our ability to fully explore. The more we learn the greater we find God to be, Who created all things in the smallest detail.
His creation and His dealings with Israel are only two things that reveal His might. Is He our hope? Do we trust Him in all things? Do we believe that He is the good God that He says He is? He made the way for mankind to be reconciled to Himself when He gave His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross. Jesus took the penalty for our sin, bearing God’s wrath.
Psalm 46:1-3 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.” When God in His good wisdom determines to shake and undo His creation (as He will do soon), those who are His will have no reason to fear. Jacob learned what the psalmist said, He is our refuge and strength, and a very present help in trouble. He is worthy of our trust and our praise.
Praise the Savior, ye who know Him!
Who can tell how much we owe Him?
Gladly let us render to Him
All we are and have.
Jesus is the name that charms us,
He for conflict fits and arms us;
Nothing moves and nothing harms us
While we trust in Him.
Trust in Him, ye saints, forever,
He is faithful, changing never;
Neither force nor guile can sever
Those He loves from Him.
Keep us, Lord, O keep us cleaving
To Thyself, and still believing,
Till the hour of our receiving
Promised joys with Thee.
Then we shall be where we would be,
Then we shall be what we should be,
Things that are not now, nor could be,
Soon shall be our own. (Thomas Kelly)