Today's devotion from Psalms 146 through 150.
These last five psalms are Hallelujah Psalms. They begin and end with the praise of God. Their unique collection at the conclusion of Book V causes many to study them in order to learn from the similarities and connections they share. They form an incredibly optimistic ending to this beloved book. Instead of drawing attention to their collective beauty, however, I would like for us to take special note of one profound and ever-present truth that reverberates throughout the Psalms.
As these Hallelujah Psalms begin, we see the expected object of our praise identified as God. Psalm 146 begins, "Hallelujah! My soul, praise the LORD. I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing to my God as long as I live." (Psalm 146:1-2, CSB) This is to be anticipated from the first word, hallelujah.
However, instead of describing why God is worthy of his undying praise, the psalmist turns his gaze a little closer to home. Instead of positively identifying the admirable attributes of God, the psalmist prefers to apply a negative reasoning for God's greatness by issuing a comparison. Remembering that many psalms were written by men of renown like David, Moses, and Solomon, the psalmist warns, "Do not trust in nobles, in a son of man, who cannot save. When his breath leaves him, he returns to the ground; on that day his plans die." (Psalm 146:3-4, CSB)
Do you catch what the psalmist is doing? He is discrediting the authors of the psalms. He is undermining the very men who were inspired to record these very words. In truth, he is disparaging himself, equally. The question needs to be asked, "Why?" However, you already know the answer. There is no special significance in the men who offer praise. Moses died before the Promised Land was realized. David could not save his newborn son. Solomon, for all his wisdom, presumably lost his own faith.
No. The psalmists were merely men, mortals through and through. There is no hope in a David, a Moses, or a Solomon. There is no hope in a Clinton, an Obama, or a Trump. There is no hope in a Billy Graham, an Adrian Rogers, or a Jeremy Byrd. There is only one deserving of our hope and worthy of a hallelujah (which literally means "praise the LORD"). He is the LORD, God Almighty.
"Happy is the one whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them. He remains faithful forever, executing justice of the exploited and giving food to the hungry. The LORD frees prisoners." (Psalm 146:5-7, CSB)