Psalm 113 reads as follows from the NIV translation of the Bible: 1 Praise the LORD. [a] Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD. |
2 Let the name of the LORD be praised, both now and forevermore.
3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.
4 The LORD is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens.
5 Who is like the LORD our God, the One who sits enthroned on high,
6 who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?
7 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
8 he seats them with princes, with the princes of their people.
9 He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the LORD. Central to this is the Lord’s looking in on, helping and changing situations for certain individuals.
Verse 7 says, “He raises the poor from the dust, and he lifts the needy from the ash heap.’ Verse 8 continues," he seats them with princes, with the princes of their people.
Here it is interesting that there are two descriptions given for individuals being attended to by God, one is poor, which is often understood to be a physical poverty, but it could be a mental poverty, a spiritual poverty, a poverty of lacking fresh air and good scenery, a poverty of good conversation and so on. But in any event, it is a state of being poor, rather than a just a momentary lapse type of situation, it is more something that is chronic enough that someone might label the situation as poor. You might be feeling poor if you don’t like the people you are working with in an office for weeks and months on end. Then there are the needy, which aren’t necessarily one and the same as poor.
Dust may be a low or humble position, or even something that I perceive as being that way. Maybe I have a lot of money, and I feel poor because I get the money from shady dealings and deep down, I’m not proud of this, I feel inferior even, because, I can’t bring what I do into the full light of day, lest I be found out. The truth is, I feel I am cheating, and I am a cheat and I wish I could be proud of my dealings and who I was dealing with.
I might be super rich, but I need a change of scenery, a boost to my spirits, I might need companionship. Whatever the case, these people are needy enough to where they are on some sort of ash heap, as least in terms of the needs. This could qualify as a place, but more likely is just a situation. Really, this part is saying the Lord will lift someone out of a lousy situation. Someone might say to others or themselves, I need to get out of here. But in this case, it is not a small situation, it is not necessarily a mountain, but it is a pileup of a bad situation, it is a least a hill. Whatever the problem, it has accumulated into this. Basically, it is a situation that has built up and finally gotten to me. I’ve gotten hit with too many waves and now I find myself stranded by the seashore unable to move if not physically at least mentally. Maybe I just read too many articles in the paper about bad news and I think I’m next or this has gotten me so down I don’t feel like doing anything myself.
But the ash heap really is symbolic of just reaching the point where I can’t seem to move away from the situation, I don’t have what I feel I need to move out of and away from this and into something desirable and what I really would want. In some way, these problems have reached momumental proportions for me. From the ash heap, I could still maybe see what I want, but it is so distant and far reaching, that it doesn’t really feel possible anymore.
A small problem has become big and amassed into a heap of problems. I might have what seems for example like a mountain of debts from accumulated financial setbacks. The girl may have had a string of bad dates, and her feeling of optimism towards meeting people is now on the ash heap. Or I might have lost my creative self somewhere in the strivings to be something else.
But the ash heap really is symbolic of just reaching the point where I can’t seem to move away from the situation, I don’t have what I feel I need to move away from this and into something desirable and what I really would want.
The last two verses of this psalm are verses 8 and 9 which say, he seats them with princes, with the princes of their people, he settles the barren women in her home, as a happy mother of children.
Here the Lord has lifted someone out of a situation and places them elsewhere, but it qualifies as movement and a big move. This lift was just that, not just a nudge, a little push, or pull,but a big turn of events and positioning. The Lord has brought about a big move, that they couldn’t or wouldn’t make until the Lord intervened, and came into a situation that qualifies as either poor or needy. In the case of the woman, it was towards something that made her happy. Her ash heap or what felt like an ash heap to her was being barren and now the Lord moved her into the situation of being the happy mother of children, giving her exactly what she wanted. He moved her into the situation that finally made her happy.
In the case of the others, he set them with princes, and even further at times, the princes of his own chosen people, quite an upgrade in company, and possibly something they also longed for. This shows the importance of who your company is, and how that makes a big difference in how you feel and how you perceive yourself and even how happy you are. Some of those from the needy again could have been extremely wealthy as far as gold or money, but they might have been mingling with some of the wrong people and in awful situations to get that wealth and they were impoverished that way as there was true lack on another plane.
Whatever your ash heap is, it qualifies as being directly against something that is important to what might make you happy. Since it affects your happiness so much, and because of that, is a major reason why it has formed into an ash heap. If it was just a small thing, that you didn’t care about anyway, or was nothing to you, then it wouldn’t have added up or accumulated into an ash heap. If I lose a job, that is something I was doing for a paycheck, but was nothing to me, then losing this job hardly qualifies as something that is going to add into an ash heap, because it didn’t matter to me in the first place. If you can't get a second date with someone you didn't like anyway, then the situation isn't ash heap material. But ash heap situations are more about what does matter, and that’s why it can build up, as what I truly want moves further and further away. Accumulated hurts, disappointments, setbacks about what really matters, can begin to form into an ash heap. But that is just what the Lord, looking all the way down from way above, sees and then intervenes on. And the ash heap is exactly what he is moving on and moving you away from and into something princely, something higher, something more useful, something beyond, something more fitting, larger, more select, more suitable, more valuable and finer and which contrasts directly against what the ash heap is.
What the Lord is seeing here are not only needs but wants, the barren women wanted children and the Lord moved her into that situation. She thought she would be happier with that situation and she was, so the Lord also worked for her happiness. The interesting thing about the barren woman, is that she is getting something she never had. With the poor and needy, they may have always been this way, or maybe they just fell on hard times. But in the case of the barren women, she never had what she is now getting from the Lord, showing that the Lord can take you to a place you have never been before and also there can be places you have never been before that are important to your happiness, but aren't as pondered as something that can happen because you have never been there before or been in that situation beforeand its harder to believe you can ever get there.
Some things to think about from this psalm is about what is causing a pile up against what you want. It might really be only one thing, which is stopping you and then the backup becomes a pile up as time goes on and you don’t get where you’re going. You might have a great car, but one flat tire will keep you from going on your way, and it may be you just need one thing from the Lord and symbolically this will get you off the ash heap and get you doing and going again.
From this psalm, we see that the Lord can move individuals, in ways that are meaningful, possible and fulfilling, ways that might have seemed unlikely, but have actually come about and happened, and as we pray, we should be cognizant of the Lord helping in a way or giving something to us that also portends to movement and getting ourselves off the ash heap into what is fulfilling and meaningful and at times would lead us to God’s chosen people and at all times would lead us to something better.
Verse 1 through 3 says, “ Praise, O servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord, Let the name of the Lord be praised, both now and forever more, From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, let the name of the Lord be praised. “ There is no excuse for location not to praise the Lord. I’m on vacation in India or Nepal, so I don’t need to think about praising the Lord as I'm enjoying this new scenery, but the location for praise is from wherever the sun can hit the earth and that is the anywhere that the Lord expects praise from and that also is anywhere I happen to be in my life, whether it is here or there on this or that.
In the first verse, the psalm is addressing the servants of the Lord, servants who most likely have never been poor or on the ash heap and have been siting with the princes all along. This indicates a call to praise and intercession for what the Lord wants to do, which is help the poor and needy. Most probably this psalm is a call to intercessory prayer on the part of the Lord’s servants for those who are in the dust, as in the ash heap. Here are those left behind and those with an ash heap of troubles and needs. As the Lord is looking he wants his servants to join with him in this process to intercede in prayer also looking to see who needs the prayer and what they need it for.
Verse 4 thru 6 says, “ The Lord is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heaven, Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth."
The landscape for intercessory prayer is all the nations, as the Lord is looking down on them all and his servants everywhere will look to praise him and also intercede for those in need as mentioned later in this psalm.
What can be taken from this as per prayer, is to maybe read or peruse the news for other nations and other parts of the world other than what is local to you, to find out what is going on and what the prayer needs are globally in all the nations, realizing also that as you pray, you are intervening not only for nations as a whole but for individuals within them, individuals that have been or who are now left in the dust in some way, individuals that need the prayers of the Lord’s servants, servants to whom this psalm is addressed to as per verse number one in this psalm.
And if you are in the dust or ash heap yourself in any way, keep an eye out for the Lord possibly moving you and be ready for the move and identify what is coming to you that is telling you not only do you need this, you need to move with this.
Related Articles -