Psalm 148 is a call for the whole cosmos to praise God. In the climactic conclusion of Psalm 148, we read that Israel should praise God because he has raised a horn for them. But what’s the deal with this horn? And why is God lifting it up? In this video, we explore how Psalm 148 fits into the overall story of the book of Psalms—the story of God’s promise to raise up a king who will bring victory to Israel and rescue the world.
In the story of the Bible, God appoints humans as his representatives in ruling the world. But once humans choose folly and death, how can they get back on track? Enter Proverbs 8, where God’s wisdom is depicted as an elegant woman who summons all people to learn her ways and find life. In this video, we explore this remarkable poem that forces us all to make a choice: whose wisdom will we choose to live by?
Throughout much of the Bible, humans are described as unimpressive in comparison with the glory of the stars and sun above. So why has God exalted humanity to rule over creation on his behalf? We can find the answer in Psalm 8, a familiar poem in the Bible quoted by Jesus and other New Testament authors (see Matthew 21:15-16; 1 Corinthians 15:22-27; Ephesians 1:19-23). Psalm 8 opens with a short riddle, and when we take the time to make sense of it, we can understand more about God’s choice to elevate humans (Psalm 8:2-3). In the opening of the psalm, we’re told that God is at work in the world to confront violent world rulers and establish a safe refuge. And he’s doing it through the cries of tiny babies! It’s a poetic symbol that describes a pattern of how God works, by exalting the lowly and bringing down the powerful. This is a common biblical motif to talk about how God loves to upset the standard value systems and power structures of our world (see the same ideas at work in 1 Samuel 2, or the story of David’s rise in 1 Samuel 16). For God’s Kingdom of ultimate justice to come on earth as it is in heaven, corrupt and distorted systems of human power need to be exposed and corrected (see the following Psalms 9-10 for an exposition of this same theme). This is why Psalm 8 was valuable to Jesus, as he compared himself and his followers to the weak ones that God was going to enthrone over the world. But even the way Jesus became King of the world was surprising. He was enthroned through weakness, as he allowed himself to die because of the sins of his own people. But the God of the Bible is in the habit of raising up the helpless to reign over creation, and the resurrection of Jesus is the ultimate act of God’s power through weakness. This poem invites us to consider not only humanity’s role in the world but also the way that Jesus fulfilled that role. Jesus invites us into a new way of viewing power, value, and human destiny.