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Psalm 146

Forever faithful

Even though professing Christians have contributed much to the world’s injustice, many remain happily oblivious to it. But God is not unseeing or uncaring, and he will faithfully act on behalf of the poor.

Praise Yahveh!
Praise Yahveh, my soul.
2 I will praise Yahveh as long as I live
I’ll sing praises to my God my whole life long.

3 Put no trust in powerful people—
mere mortals who have no power to rescue you.
4 When they breathe their last
they return to dust
and that same day
all their big plans come to nothing.

5 How blessed the person whose help is Jacob’s God
who puts their hope in Yahveh their God
6 Maker of heaven and earth
the sea and everything in them.

He remains forever faithful!

7 He gives justice to the oppressed
and food to the hungry.
Yahveh sets prisoners free.
8 Yahveh opens the eyes of the blind.
Yahveh lifts up those bent beneath life’s load.

Yahveh loves those who seek to please him.
9 Yahveh protects the resident alien
and provides for the orphan and widow
but he makes the path of the self-seeking
lead to nowhere.

10 Yahveh will reign forever and ever—
your God, Zion
will rule through endless ages.
Praise Yahveh!

This psalm begins the book’s concluding five-psalm crescendo of praise, listing many things to thank God for. No sooner does the psalmist commit to praising God always than she warns against our perennial temptation to rely on the most powerful people around us. Their help seems so much more real and tangible than God’s. So we’re tempted to rely on them for success, even when doing so involves us in their disenfranchisement of the weak. But the powerbrokers’ powers are short-lived while those who trust in Jacob’s God are forever blessed, regardless of the odds they may currently face. Because Yahveh remains faithful forever.[1]

Yahveh is faithful as both creator and redeemer. He acts on behalf of the oppressed, the hungry, the prisoners, the blind, those weighed down, aliens, orphans, widows. He’s also devoted to those who please him, who actively care for those he cares for, and he opposes to all whose self-seeking hurts them.

Because Zion’s God will reign forever, his values are the order of the day. Though our world is far from just now, our Creator-redeemer is determined to make it a place where all can flourish, regardless of their skin color or other supposed defects. Hearing this, how can we help but break out into praise?

Jesus, you freed captives, fed the hungry, gave sight to the blind, and lifted up those bent over. You died and rose again to ensure that—against all resistance—your kingdom’s values will prevail on earth and your kingdom never end. Thank you, Lord, that you remain faithful forever! Amen.

During your free moments today, meditate on these words:

How blessed the person whose help is Jacob’s God
who puts their hope in Yahveh their God…
He remains forever faithful!


[1] The psalm’s chiastic structure puts the focus on its central point, God’s faithfulness: the psalmist’s commitment to praise Yahveh always (1-2), the futility of trusting powerful people (3-4), the blessedness of trusting Jacob’s creator God (5-6b), Yahveh’s eternal faithfulness (6c), the righteousness of (Zion’s) redeemer God (7-8b), the efficacy of trusting Yahveh (8c-9), Yahveh’s eternal reign and praiseworthiness (10).


Why Yahveh?

Every translator of the Psalms must decide how to handle God’s personal name, YHWH, which occurs repeatedly in its Hebrew text. Translators of the King James Version usually translated it “LORD” (all caps) and occasionally transliterated it (badly) as “Jehovah.” Modern translations, likewise, either translate or transliterate it. While translating it aims to make it more accessible to readers, transliterating it is more faithful to the text since it’s not a word at all, but rather God’s uniquely personal name. I’ve chosen to transliterate it to root it more firmly in the biblical story as the name—meaning the “self-existent One”—that God revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai. This name set Israel’s God apart from all the gods of Israel’s neighbors.

Personal names are, well, very personal. Even the sound of a name can evoke strong emotion. One problem with YHWH is that we aren’t sure how it was pronounced since Jews long ago stopped saying it in order better to hallow it. In transliterating it, I follow the advice of my esteemed Hebrew professor, Raymond Dillard. He advocated transliterating it as Yahveh—pronounced yah·vay—arguing that following the modern Hebrew pronunciation of its third consonant makes the name sound more robustly Jewish than Yahweh.
May these psalms be a light to you in dark times. You can read more of Mark Robert Anderson's writings on Christianity, culture, and inter-faith dialogue at Understanding Christianity Today.