“Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!” (Psalm 147:1).
God never calls us to praise him in a vacuum. Praise is the result of all that God has already done and what God promises.
The phrase, “Praise the LORD,” is hallelujah in the Hebrew. This was and is both a call to praise as well as a declaration of praise.
The remainder of Psalm 147 tells the reason for praising the LORD. I invite you to read the Psalm on your own and highlight and underline all that God promises and all that God has already done for us.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever. to him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever. who by his understanding made the heavens, His love endures forever. who spread out the earth upon the waters, His love endures forever. who made the great lights His love endures forever. the sun to govern the day His love endures forever. the moon and stars to govern the night; His love endures forever. to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt His love endures forever. and brought Israel out from among them His love endures forever. with a mighty hand and outstretched arm: His love endures forever. to him who divided the Red Sea asunder His love endures forever. and brought Israel through the midst of it, His love endures forever. but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea; His love endures forever. to him who led his people through the wilderness; His love endures forever. to him who struck down great kings, His love endures forever. and killed mighty kings – His love endures forever. Sihon king of the Amorites His love endures forever. and Og king of Bashan – His love endures forever. and gave their land as an inheritance, His love endures forever. He remembered us in our low estate His love endures forever. and freed us from our enemies. His love endures forever. He gives food to every creature. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever. (Psalm 136)
Alright. Be honest. How many of you began skipping over the phrase “His love endures forever” while only reading the other parts?
It’s okay if you did.
But now, I want you to read the whole thing over again, but don’t skip over, “His love endures forever,” and come back to the rest of this post.
What do you think the Psalmist is trying to say?
Why does the Psalmist write like this?
So, you remember one thing: “His love endures forever.”
No matter what you’re going through life, no matter what you are facing, there is never a there where God’s love is not there!
“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:25).
Just think about those words! When the second person of the Holy Trinity took on human form, he, while being fully God, was at the same time, fully human.
Jesus, God himself, had to go through the same physical, mental, emotional, spiritual growth that we all need to go through.
Jesus grew. So should we.
Our text says that Jesus grew in three areas:
in Favor with God and with man
Jesus grew in wisdom. This refers to Jesus’ growth in the knowledge and the fear of God. Knowledge and fear of God go hand in hand. Knowing who God is better leads to fearing, respecting, honoring, obeying God better. That’s what fearing God means. To fear God means to respect and honor God by obeying God.
Knowing God is never about knowing more information about God. Growing in the knowledge of who God is, what God has done for us, and the life that God is calling us to live is about doing our part in becoming who God created us to be. Growing in the knowledge of God leads us to obey God. It leads us to transform: we become more who God created us to be.
Secondly, Jesus grew in stature. This one is easy! Just look at my mid section…I’m excelling in growing in stature!!! That’s not quite what this means, unfortunately. To grow in stature is to grow in stewarding our health.
The Apostle Paul tells us, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s Temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” When we grow in stature, we grow in our capacity as stewards of our bodies as God’s Temple.
Finally, Jesus grew in favor with God and men. This has to do with character and reputation.
Character is who you are when no one but God is watching. Who you are in private ought to be the same person in public. When your private and public life become more like Jesus, you grow in character.
Reputation is about your relationship with other people. What you stand for and believe and how you act is your reputation. Your belief and actions, when they are consistent, leads to growth in your reputation with others.
Jesus, in preparation for his public ministry, grew in wisdom, stature, and in favor with God and man for eighteen more years. Only after eighteen years of preparation was Jesus ready to launch his public ministry at the age of thirty.