April 13: Psalm 135


April 13: Psalm 135

Praise the Lord’s wonderful works

87.87 D                                       Nettleton (Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing), p. 179
Ode to Joy (Joyful, Joyful), p. 159
Beecher (Love Divine, All Loves Excelling), p. 149

Hallelujah! Praise the Lord’s name! Praise Him, servants of the Lord.

You that in the Lord’s house serve Him, in God’s courtyard standing guard.

Praise the Lord! How good the Lord is! Sing His name—how sweet its tone!

For the Lord has chosen Jacob, Israel to be his own.

Well I know how great the Lord is; our Lord is above all gods.

For the Lord does what He pleases in all heav’n, earth, deeps and floods.

He it is who makes the clouds rise from the ends of earth and sea,

Who with lightning brings the rain down, from His store the wind sets free;

Who slew all of Egypt’s firstborn, on you, Egypt, wonders sent.

Signs to Pharaoh and his servants, Who killed kings, their kingdoms rent –

Mighty Sihon, Og of Bashan, then the Kings of Canaan fell!

God their land gave to His people, willed it all to Israel.

Your name, Lord, endures forever; Your fame, Lord, each age has known;

For the Lord acquits His people, has compassion on his own.

Heathen idols, gold and silver, work of human artistry:

Having mouths, they speak of nothing; having eyes, they do not see.

Having ears, they never hearken; they do not breathe out or in.

Those who make them will be like them, all whose trust in them has been.

Bless the Lord, O house of Isr’el! House of Aaron, bless the Lord!

Bless the Lord, O house of Levi! All who fear Him, bless the Lord!

Blessings to the Lord you worship! Blessed from Zion be the Lord,

He who dwells within Jerus’lem! Hallelujah, praise the Lord!

Bless the Lord, O house of Isr’el! House of Aaron, bless the Lord!

Bless the Lord, O house of Levi! All who fear Him, bless the Lord!

In the New Testament, God’s redemptive interventions in the history of ancient Israel are viewed as prophetic foreshadowings of our true salvation in Christ. Thus, the Lord’s election of Israel is the foreshadowing and firstfruits of the Church. That is to say, Israel herself was “chosen” as God’s people only in view of Christ, who is the theological root of our own election (Rom. 9:10-13; 11:5-6; 2 Peter 1:10). Thus, it is of our own election in Christ that we sing in Psalm 135. This election of the Church is not an afterthought in salvation history. It is what God had in mind, rather from the very beginning of His choices. Abraham, Isaac, David, whoever was chosen, was chosen for the sake of Christ, and we ourselves are chosen in Christ. As in Psalm 135, this awareness of God’s choice from the beginning of biblical history is the font and motive of that very thanksgiving that identifies the Church (2 Thess. 2:13-14). What was true of ancient Israel’s election by God is likewise true of His other interventions on Israel’s behalf; they were all foreshadowings of His salvific deeds in Christ in these final times. Thus, Israel’s redemption from Egypt, explicitly commemorated in our psalm, was the foreshadowing of His overthrow of the demonic pharaoh to whom the human race, without Christ, is held in the vilest bondage. Likewise, the God-given conquest of the Promised Land by the Chosen People, along with the defeat of the various threatening nations, was the prefiguration of our entrance into the realm of eternal life through the vanquishing of the many spiritual enemies who impede our path. (Reardon, p. 269-270)