Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord;
praise the name of the Lord.
Blessed be the name of the Lord
from this time on and forevermore.
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.
Who is like the Lord our God who is seated on high,
who looks far down on the heavens and the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust,
and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with the princes,
with the princes of His people.
He gives the barren woman a home,
making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the Lord!
For many years I disliked the hymn. Abide with Me, because it was sung at an uncle’s funeral in South Carolina fifty-three years ago last month. It was hot, the choir sang it very slowly and from that experience, I developed an aversion to it. I am grateful to Ann Tiner, a former organist and choir director, who helped me learn to appreciate this great hymn. One phrase I love is one that I employ at times to address God in prayer: “Help of the helpless.”
In much of Psalm 113, the focus is on God exalted looking down from the heavens on nations of the earth. God seems to be the “untouchable One” praised and blessed and glorified. Though God is seated on high, He is willing to “get down and dirty” to raise up the poor from the dust and the needy from the ash heap. He gives children to the barren woman and her voice joins the others, who have been helpless, in praising God who has helped them.
Truly God is the “Help of the helpless.” Rightfully so, God deserves to be praised and blessed from the rising of the sun to its setting … forevermore.
Help of the helpless, grant that we may always know You “as our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble.” We praise and thank You for all the ways You have delivered and rescued us. These things we ask in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.