Rags to Riches—Ps 113—September 22, 2019—DBC—Dr. Denny
Introduction: Our Psalm today was often sung at Jewish festivals and special occasions. It’s a happy Psalm meant to encourage us on our journey through life. It reminds us of God’s unique interest in each of us and His interventions in our lives.
It’s a Rags to Riches Psalm. It’s a little like Charles Dicken’s Great Expectations where Pip, an orphan in southeast England comes into money as a teenager and lives the high life. We hear this theme in verses 7-8: “He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap…”.
This is a Psalm to tuck away in your pocket or purse as you prepare for the day ahead. And whenever you feel lost in this world, or unappreciated or in some kind of despair, just pull this Psalm out our of your pocket and breath in deeply its fragrance for it will surely lift your soul and give you hope.
- This is a happy Psalm and it begins with a startling observation in verse 6: God, who is enthroned on high, humbles Himself to behold…. Isn’t that an intriguing whisper from God’s lips? He humbles Himself to behold…Behold what, we ask. What is it that God is looking at? And in that question tumbles out the brilliant answer: He beholds you and He beholds me as we start our day, as we laugh in the morning hours and cry in the afternoon—He beholds. As we labor long hours at a job that is difficult—He beholds. As we approach a fork in the road and struggle to decide on the way before us—He beholds. Psalm 113 connects us to a God who cares about every detail of our lives. He’s watching because He cares.
*I read a BBC story this week about life in Kenya’s poorest villages. There, snake bites are so prevalent that they occur every five minutes, and many times are fatal. The nearest hospital is often too far away and the roads are too rutted and rough for ambulances. So one nurse came up with a splendid idea: She bought a motorcycle and equipped it with emergency medical aid. Then when she hears of a snakebite attack, she jumps on the motorcycle and races to the victim, puts him on the back of the cycle and carries them to the hospital in time for the antivenom treatment to work. It’s called The Snakebite Squad. It’s an example of effective intervention in life’s daily traumas.
Our Psalm is like this. God beholds us in our daily lives and rushes to our aid at just the right moment bringing aid and sustenance to help us live.
Example #1– Our Psalmist demonstrates this principle twice in this short Psalm. First in verses 7-8. He lifts the poor up from the dust…That is such an incredible act of divine mercy! He beholds your every moment and He can’t wait to lift you up. It’s rags to riches. From dust to a throne. That is what God does for you and me.
*Andrew Carnegie: Let me give you an example of this divine principle. In 1835 a little baby boy was born in Dunfermline, Scotland. His mother and father were destitute laborers and this little boy didn’t get much time in school. Desperate, the family decided to emigrate to America in 1848 when the boy was 13. The parents put him out to work in a textile mill where he made $1.20 a week.
But the boy was determined to help his parents and he soon got a job as a messenger boy and factory worker and then a secretary and telegraph operator at the Pennsylvania Railroad. Before long he became superintendent of the railroad’s western division. He saved his money all along the way and invested in a steel mill that by the turn of the century became know as Carnegie Steel Company which he sold for $480 million.
Our Psalmist declares that God beholds us from his throne on his high and lifts the poor from the dust and makes us sit with princes. And from this simple truth, I can declare with confidence that God watches you—He watches you—and he will lift you from the dust. He will help you make the right decisions. He will whisper encouraging words to you when you are down.
Example #2—The Psalmist gives another example in case you still doubt That God beholds. He tells us of a woman whose life is one of difficulty and shame.
Her home is silent without the pitter-patter of children’s feet. She is barren—a curse for any woman of the ancient world. But God beheld her daily sufferings and he stepped in and smiled upon her giving her joy and wonderful children to brighten her days. It’s another rags to riches intervention.
*Catherine 1 of Russia: When I thought of this woman in our text my mind went to a modern example of such divine intervention. In 1684 a little girl was born into a family of Lithuanian peasants. The little girl’s parents who struggled daily each day with life died from the plague when the girl was only three.
Taken in by a local pastor she spent her days as a housemaid in Latvia. When Russia conquered the city in 1702, the girl, now 18, was captured and taken to Moscow. She became a servant in a high-ranking government official and it was there that she met the Russian Emperor Peter the Great. She was illiterate and uneducated but she charmed the emperor and they married in 1712. When he died in 1725, she became the first Russian empress.
She, like the woman in our text, went from despair to joy because God beholds—He follows our lives. He knows of our failures and limitations. But he longs to help.
In verse 5 we hear these words: Who is like the Lord our God who is enthroned on high, who humbles himself to behold…
As you leave today to go home, remember this one truth: God goes with you. He follows your every movement and waits to hear from you. Call upon him and watch him spring into action to lift you from the dust.