Friday, February 25, 2011

He Raises the Poor from the Dust

“He raises the poor from the dust” (Psalm 113:7)

I recently had the privilege to sit under a teacher who taught Psalm 113. Many things are clear in this passage and other parts give us beautiful imagery of God’s great mercy and grace for sinners. It never gets old to hear the truth of the Gospel. I’m always refreshed anew when I hear of the great God of the universe coming down to rescue sinners. The Psalmist paints a beautiful picture of justification when he writes, “He raises the poor from the dust.”

Earlier in the Psalm we read, “The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens” (4)! Obviously God is a big God who really has no need for us. He is exalted and worthy to be praised. We are commanded to “Praise the name of the LORD” (1)! But the problem is the idea that God is so far away and so big that we cannot know or understand him at all. His perfection and holiness is beyond our grasping. Even the Psalmist acknowledges: “Who is like the LORD our God, who is seated on high” (5). The answer: NOBODY!! Nobody is like the God of the universe. I believe songwriter Trip Lee said it well when he wrote: “Who is like him? Nobody!” Maybe the conclusions of not seeking after a God we cannot know or understand make sense. Maybe he is too big for us to grasp. Or maybe we could read the rest of the Psalm which says, “He raises the poor from the dust.”

This is not referring to those who are monetarily poor but, even worse, those who are spiritually poor. This puts you and me in the poor category. All of us are poor because all of us are spiritually dead. Dead people are not rich, they are dead. But wonder of wonders the God who created all things “looks far down on the heavens and the earth” (6). How far down? Does he care about us? Yes. “For God so loved the world that he sent his Son” (John 3:16). “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinner” (1 Timothy 1:15). The plan of salvation is so beautiful when we see the whole scope of God’s love. Christ descended into the world so the Father could raise poor sinners from the dust and “lift the needy from the ash heap” (7). This is gracious enough but he doesn’t stop there. He raises us for the purpose of being his children who are heirs of his kingdom. We go from the ash heap to the throne of grace because of Christ. This is the amazing work of God in the life of sinners.

If you are under the impression that you are not spiritually poor or needy I pray the Holy Spirit would open your eyes to see your grave condition. This is a matter of most importance because God has to punish sin. The punishment for sin is eternal separation from him. But that punishment was paid for at the cross. Jesus came to bear our sins at Calvary. He defeated sin and death by his conquering resurrection. God promises that those who come to him with a broken heart he will not cast away. Listen to his promise and repent because “he raises the poor from the dust” and he is the only one who can deliver you from the “ash heap.”

Grace upon grace,

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