1 Praise the Lord!
How good it is to sing praises to our God;
for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.
2 The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
3 He heals the brokenhearted,
and binds up their wounds.
4 He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
5 Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.
6 The Lord lifts up the downtrodden;
he casts the wicked to the ground.
7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
make melody to our God on the lyre.
8 He covers the heavens with clouds,
prepares rain for the earth,
makes grass grow on the hills.
9 He gives to the animals their food,
and to the young ravens when they cry.
10 His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner;
11 but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.
God is praiseworthy for who he is and what he does. Saying it like this seems rather flat. Much better to express YHWH's praiseworthiness in the language of the Psalms. Psalm 147 expresses such adoration of the greatness of the Lord. That greatness, as expressed in this Psalm, is centered in all that God does.
The verbs which are in bold capture not all of God's actions but a representative few to indicate the universal scope of his actions, covering the natural world of plants and animals, the celestial world of clouds and stars, and the human world of his care for his covenantal people.
Yet, these different worlds are not of equal standing, in the eyes of YHWH. "His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner," the Psalmist says. The natural world of animals and even the natural strength of human beings are not the core objects of God's special delight. God's highest pleasure is to be found in the hearts of "those who fear him" and "in those who hope in his steadfast love."
Often we think of fearing God and hoping in God as actions that are good and right. Actions we should do. Rarely do we think of our fearing God and our hoping in God as occasions for God's own pleasure and delight. But if we follow the thought of the Psalmist, that is what is clearly implied. We give the Almighty God joy and delight when we fear him and hope in him. To move the heart of the living God is special indeed and it is our great privilege and pleasure as well to have that effect on the Triune God!
Let's pray: Almighty God, we thank you that you find delight in our relationship with you, especially as we fear and honor you. As we hope in you. As we trust in you. Our dependence upon you and our acknowledgement of you give you pleasure. May our love for you always remind us that you are blessed by our love. In Jesus' name, amen.