Old Testament: Judges 13 & 14

Poetry: Psalm 113

New Testament: Luke 13

Psalms 113-118 are known as “Hallel,” which means praise. These Psalms are recited, either in unison or responsively, in Jewish observances such as Passover and Hanukkah. This specific passage of Psalms is a prayer of thanksgiving and praise to God for the blessings He poured out on Israel during the Exodus from Egypt. Though “Hallel” typically refers to Psalms 113-118, two other sections of Psalms are also referred to as “Hallel.” Thus, Psalms 113-118 are also specifically referred to as the “Egyptian Hallel” due to recounting of the Exodus story in Psalm 114.

In Passover remembrances, the Hallel is used within both the temple and homes. Before the Passover meal, Psalm 113-114 would be sung together. Most scholars believe that Jesus and his disciples would have sung these verses together while gathered for the Last Supper. When you read the verses of Psalm 113 closely, they seem a fitting hallmark to Jesus’ ministry.

In verses 7-9, we read, “He raises the poor from the dust, and lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people. He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children.” Throughout Jesus’ ministry, his work angered many because he focused on the ones that others forgot or ignored. Just like the words of the Psalm, he shook social norms. How many instances can we recount of him healing the less desirable, such as the woman at the well, or socializing with sinners, such as Zaccheus? Jesus acknowledged in words and actions that all will be made equals in God’s kingdom? 

In today’s New Testament text, we read another example of Jesus lifting the needy, while others found fault. In Luke 13: 10-13, we read, “Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And there was a woman who had had a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years; she was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your infirmity.” And he laid his hands upon her, and immediately she was made straight, and she praised God.” Later in the text, we read how the Synagogue leaders were indignant that Jesus healed on the Sabbath, causing Jesus to rebuke them. He had once again turned expectations upside down.

While reciting this Psalm during their Passover meal, did any of Jesus’ disciples connect his ministry to the words they were singing? It’s also poignant to think that despite his imminent betrayal and death, Jesus could recite this prayer of praise and thanksgiving from the Psalm. “Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and for evermore! From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the Lord is to be praised! The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens!” 

When we are faced with trials, can we do the same as Jesus? These verses remind us that in all things, the Lord is worthy of continual praise. It does not instruct us to be thankful once. Rather, it is imploring us to offer thanks “forevermore.” God is unchanging and there will never be a time in which we cannot offer homage to Him. 

My daughter’s teacher has her students complete a daily task in their agendas. At the end of each school day, the students are tasked with reflecting on the day and writing down two positives that happened to them. The teacher is striving to enable a mindset of gratitude and positivity within her class.

Could we take on the same task in order to offer continual praise to God? At the end of each day, let’s take time to reflect on that day. What can we praise God for? Perhaps your day at work was rough. But could you thank God that you had a job to go to that will provide for your needs such as food and shelter? This week, I challenge you to find at least two things in your day for which you can offer God praise and thanksgiving.

~Jen Siderius

Jen Siderius is a member of the Fair Oaks Community Church of God in Virginia. She and her husband Dan live in Maryland, where she works as an elementary school media specialist. When she’s not busy being entertained by the antics of their 9-year-old daughter, she loves to read, run, knit, quilt and try new crafts.

Reflection Questions

  1. Where do you see Jesus upsetting social norms? What was his purpose in doing so? Where have you – and can you – follow Jesus’ example?
  2. How would you rank yourself in the thankfulness category? Do you daily praise God for what He has done and who He is? How can you work at increasing your spirit of thankfulness?
  3. What did you see about God in today’s reading that you will praise Him for? What is Jesus revealing about His Father and God that we can praise God for?

One thought on “Forevermore!”

  1. loved reading your post.
    This is what I love in your post
    Great article on the significance of Psalm 113 and its connection to Jesus’ ministry. The reflection questions encourage deeper thought and introspection.
    Thanks, Ely Shemer


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