This Psalm is essentially a Psalm of praise to the Father:
“Praise ye Yah. Praise, O ye servants of Yahweh, praise the name of Yahweh. Blessed be the name of Yahweh from this time forth and for evermore”.
The emphasis here, as so often in the Psalms and spiritual songs recorded in the Word, is the Praise of Yahweh’s Holy Name. The same pattern is followed in what is often styled ‘the Lord’s Prayer’: “Our Father which art in Heaven, Hallowed by thy Name …” (Mat 6:9). The Holy Name that the Father has appropriated to Himself is totally obscured by our English translation, which renders it by the woefully inadequate terms, “LORD” and “GOD” – neither of which express the sense of the original. The Creator’s Name is not “Lord,” neither is it “God” – whether in block capitals or otherwise. “I will be who I will be” was the Father’s pronouncement to Moses, in answer to his enquiry as to what the Name was (Ex 3:13-14). Neither “Lord” nor “God” convey the sense of perpetuity which is enshrined within these words. Neither term expresses the important Truth that the Father’s purpose is in the future – nor that it is to do with Him being manifested in a person/persons, who share immortal nature. Yet all this, and more, is contained within the Holy Name of “Yahweh,” a term which signifies: “He will be” – that is, He will be seen in an immortal multitude of men and women, each of whom reflect facets of Divine likeness. First in a Son, who was “the express image of his person” (Heb 1:3), and then in a multitude of his brethren, who are predestined to be conformed to his image, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren (Rom 8:29). How wonderfully comprehensive is the Father’s Name of His Plan and Purpose! How wonderful and blessed is the glorious Name of Yahweh! Let us therefore “extol him … by his Name Yah” (Ps 68:4), and honour, rather than suppress the name by which the Almighty wishes to be known!
“From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same Yahweh’s Name is to be praised”
The description here is of the geographical extent to which the Name will be glorified. From the east (the rising of the sun) to the west (the going down of the same), all nations will give glory to Israel’s Maker. This is the testimony of Scripture – consider the following passages:
“So shall they fear the Name of Yahweh from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun …” (Is 59:19).
“from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith Yahweh of armies” (Mal 1:11).
All the earth shall glory in the Elohim of Israel, and offer their incense-prayers of faith in every place upon the earth. At that time, the Name of Yahweh’s Son also shall be great, and extolled among the nations, for it is written that “at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow … and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Master, to the glory of the Deity, the Father.” (Phil 2:10, 11). Both the Father, and the Son who shares His Name (cp Ps 72:17 marg.), shall be extolled together as all nations shall bow before the invincible power of the universe.
“Yahweh is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens”
We can readily perceive how that Yahweh is greater, or higher than the nations of mortal men – but how can it be that His Glory is above the Heavens? After all, doesn’t the Father reside in the heavens? But the solution to this enigma becomes apparent when we recognise that “heavens” in Scripture also signifies the position of rulership over the earth. Thus, in addressing apostate Israel, Isaiah was caused to give the appeal: “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth, for Yahweh hath spoken” (Is 1:2; cp v 10). The message was to all, both small and great, rulers and the ruled. Again, the same prophet spoke of the judgments to come upon the rulers of Edom: “… my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment” (Is 34:5).
Yahweh, therefore, is high above all nations, and his glory is above the heavens, or ruling powers of those nations. “The Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men” was the decree that the mighty king Nebuchadnezzar was brought to recognise. Despite the greatness of Babylon’s mighty empire, and the splendour that the king had prepared for his own glory, Yahweh’s glory was above the Babylonian heavens, and the king was brought to recognise the greatness of Yahweh – that it was He who had given the kingdom to him. Let us be equally mindful that all that we have, our positions, our jobs, our possessions – all of these things are not given to us for our own glory, but that we might magnify the Name of our Father.
“Who is like unto Yahweh our Elohim, who dwelleth on high, Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in the heaven, and in the earth”
A similar question is asked in Psalm 89: “Who in the heaven can be compared unto Yahweh? Who among the sons of El can be likened unto Yahweh?” The answer in the Psalmist’s day, was No-one! As the Father declares elsewhere: “I am Yahweh, and there is none else, there is no Elohim beside me … I am Yahweh and there is none else” (Is 45:5, 6). But now, there is the Son seated at the right hand of the Throne of Glory. Jesus is “Michael, the great prince” (Dan 12:1), the one “who is like El,” as the name means. He is the Brightness of the Father’s Glory, the express image of his substance (Heb 1:3). And he also dwells “on high”, for of him it is testified that “when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men” (Eph 4:8). So whereas in ancient times it was true that there was “none else” like Yahweh, or “none else” besides him, since the Master’s resurrection, there is one Who Is Like El, who is enthroned with the Father in his throne (Rev 3:21).
This description of the Father dwelling “on high” refers not simply to His physical dwelling place, but also to His highly exalted status, as being the Almighty. So, in Isaiah we read: “thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place …”. But though He is so High and Holy, Yahweh is not distant from those who call upon His Name in all due humility. So the prophet continues: “ … with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Is 57:15). Yahweh, as an all-powerful Creator dwells in the High and Holy Place, yes, but as a loving Father, he also dwells with men of humility, having contrite spirits. So the Master himself declared: “if a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (Jno 14:23). How wonderful is our Heavenly Father! All powerful, yet not like the mythical Babylonian deity’s who “dwelling is not with flesh” (Dan 2:11), but Who dwells with those who love Him, and His Son. To them, he is not a distant deity with a remote interest in earthly affairs, but One who dwells with them, and in their hearts by faith. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4:16).
The picture which this verse in Psalm 113 presents us with, is One who is mighty, humbling himself to behold the poor in spirit, elevating them out of the dunghill (v 7). In this, we see a striking parallel with this aspect of our Master: that though he were a Son, yet he humbled himself to become a servant: “Who being in the form of God, thought not equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil 2:8). In both the Father and the Son therefore, we see an example of those who are Great – Greater than any other, “humbling” themselves to tend to the affairs of mortal men. What an example this is! No wonder the apostle exhorts us: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:5)!
“He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill; that he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people”
In these words, we come to the reason why Yahweh is to be so greatly praised. Because of his mercy extended to the poor – elevating them up from the dust, and elevating them to become princes of his people. But this verse is not a promise of present glory to the poor and needy; the words speak of days yet future. The time when men shall be “raised up … out of the dust” is the time of the resurrection when Messiah comes again: “ … at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever” (Dan 12:1-3).
In that glorious day to come, those who were trodden down of their enemies shall be raised up to become kings and priests, reigning with Messiah over a subdued earth. The poor of spirit shall inherit the kingdom of heaven, and be granted glory, honour, and immortality. In that day, they shall be set with the princes of Yahweh’s people, being given thrones to sit upon (Dan 7:9), judging the nations, according to the righteous and wise principles of the Almighty.
“He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye Yahweh”
Here is the means whereby the poor are exalted – through the barren woman bearing children.
The allusion here is to Hannah, whose prayer of thankgiving is drawn upon heavily in this Psalm:
“ … the barren hath born seven … Yahweh maketh poor and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory …”(1 Sam 2:5,8).
It is not our present purpose to expound Hannah’s prayer in relation to this Psalm, but it is pertinent to note the comparison. Hannah was a naturally barren woman, whose adversary provoked her sore, upon each journey to Jerusalem, to worship at the tabernacle (1 Sam 1:6). Yet through childbirth, she became exalted, for Samuel her firstborn son, became a mighty figure in Israel’s history. Notice here, Hannah is said to bear “seven” children … but when we count up the number of literal offspring she had, there are only six (cp 1 Sam 2:21). Who is the seventh? Is this a prophecy of Messiah – who was not literally of the lineage of Hannah – but who was certainly typed by her first Son?
Returning to Psalm 113, we find that it is through the barren woman bearing children that the poor are lifted out of the dunghill. The “barren woman” here, whilst alluding to Hannah, is actually representative of Israel (of whom Hannah is a Type), or more particularly, Jerusalem. In the prophetic word, Israel is likened to a barren woman, who bears children – spiritual seed, who comprise the “Israel of God”. So it is written:
“Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith Yahweh” (Is 54:1).
And this is cited in the New Testament thus:
“Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. Now we, brethren … are the children of promise” (Gal 4:27-28).
Israel, having turned away from her Husband, Yahweh, became spiritually barren; unable to provide fruit for the furtherance of Yahweh’s purpose. But through the work of Messiah, Jerusalem has become a mother of a multitude of spiritual seed.
Obedient believers in Messiah become “born again” (Jno 3:3), “begotten again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (2 Pet 1:3). They become begotten again though the seed of the word being planted into their hearts, and producing a new man of the Spirit dwelling within them. And being thus begotten of the Word, they are spiritually sons of Jerusalem, “the mother of us all”, accounted as being among those to whom the Land covenanted to the Fathers belongs (Ps 87:5,6).
How wonderful are all the works of Yahweh! How greatly to be praised is He in all His Ways! Having appointed spiritual seed for barren Jerusalem, He is to raise that seed up from the dust of the earth – raising them up from the grave to be granted glorious, immortal bodies, that they might live and reign with His Son. Such a wonderful prospect is placed before each one of us. Let us, therefore praise Yahweh, and praise His Name from this time forth, and for evermore.