Psalm 147: The God of the Small Things

Read Psalm 147.

My youngest son, Luke, is slowly emerging from that thankfully short but oh-so-intense stage of early childhood development in which everything has to be just right in his world or he lets loose the air-piercing siren cry of utter despair.

Think I’m being overly dramatic? Just the other morning, I rushed into Luke’s room at the sound of his wailing because I thought he must have somehow impaled himself on his crib. Instead, he was letting me know he’d spied a piece of lint on the carpet. It didn’t belong there, you see, and he needed me to vanquish it to the realm of outer darkness (the trash).

Luke pays attention to the small things—the things you and I don’t even bother to notice. On a toddler, such a trait can be difficult to appreciate, but when the King of the universe is concerned about all the small things, it’s reason to sing.

Psalm 147 is a corporate praise song that goes big… and goes small. “[God] determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name” (v. 4), but “The LORD sustains the humble” (v. 6). “He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills,” while “He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call” (v. 9). “Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit” (v. 5), and yet “He has revealed his word to Jacob, his laws and decrees to Israel” (v. 19).

Though God is above all, He is not out of reach or out of touch. He is intimately concerned for His creation and His people. From the heights of glory, the Lord stoops low to care for the weak and the small. His greatness is measured not only in terms of raw power but in the trajectory of His heart.

The clearest expression of this is Jesus, the Word made flesh. His mission on earth wasn’t a small one. He was here to change everything—to conquer sin, death, and the powers of darkness; to provide a way of salvation for sinners; and to usher in a new age. But even with the weight of all that on His shoulders, He cared for the broken and vulnerable, took time to eat with tax collectors and sinners, and welcomed young children with open arms.

The incarnation is itself a mystery our minds cannot quite grasp: infinite God entering into the smallness of life on earth. “The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you” (1 Kings 8:27), and yet “in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9). This is the God we serve. 

In the grand scheme of things, you and I are small. In an earlier psalm, we read these words from David: “LORD, what are human beings that you care for them, mere mortals that you think of them? They are like a breath; their days are like a fleeting shadow” (Psalm 144:3–4). That the King of glory is concerned with us at all is an incalculable miracle. And yet He is. The Son of God became one of us to save the weakest and frailest among us.

The psalmist announces, “How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!” (Psalm 147:1). We have been set free to worship, because our God is concerned with small things.

What is this all about?

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