URC Daily Devotion Sunday 13th August 2023

Sunday 13th August 2023
Psalm 147
Sing to God with joy and gladness
Hymns and psalms of gratitude
With the voice of praise discover
That to worship God is good

1 God unites His scatter’d people
Gathers those who wander’d far
Heals the hurt and broken spirits
Tending ev’ry wound and scar

2 Such is God’s great pow’r and wisdom
None can calculate or tell
Keen is God to ground the wicked
And with humble folk to dwell

3 God with clouds the sky has curtain’d
Thus ensuring rain shall fall
Earth responding grows to order
Food for creatures great and small

4 God’s discernment never favours
Strength or speed to lift or move
God delights in those who fear Him
Trusting in His steadfast love

John L Bell (b 1949) © 1993 Wild Goose Resource Group, Iona Community
You can hear this hymn here


The last five Psalms in the Old Testament overflow with praise to God, and Psalm 147 is no exception. The refrain of the sung version today reminds us that joy, gladness and gratitude is the essence to discover and praise the goodness of God. So why should we praise God and where and how should we praise God?

·       Praise takes our minds off our problems and shortcomings, and focuses them on God.

·       Praise takes us from individual worship to collective worship,

·       Praise causes us to consider the character of God

·       Praise takes our perspective from the earthly to the heavenly.

So let’s look at the Psalm in more detail.

Verse 1– focuses on the ‘scattering’ and ‘gathering’ of all people, bringing unity and inclusivity to the forefront of this first verse.  With echoes of ‘healing’ and ‘tendering’ the hurt and broken, recognizes God’s care for creation,  

Verse 2– continues with the theme of praise, yet suggests that God ‘dwells’ amongst us, and brings ‘wisdom’.   

Verse 3– emphasizes that God brings ‘growth’ to all creation, nevertheless, the more we understand God’s ways, the more we can understand ourselves.

Verse 4– links the previous verses with the ‘discernment’ of God, and how ‘trust’ and ‘Love’ is God’s primary concern for all creation.

In the midst of all our praise we sometimes feel as if we don’t understand ourselves, about what we want, and how we feel about life in general. But God’s understanding is unlimited, and this Psalm indicates that  God truly does understand us.

John Bell has written an uplifting joyous tune that seems to encapsulate all aspects of this Psalm.


We praise you God, for the good days in our life;
we praise you God, for each sacred moment that brings us joy;
we praise you God for each precious conversation with friend or stranger;
enable us to feel you as you chose to dwell with the humble;
enable us to grow as we seek your Shalom;
enable us to trust you in the face of uncertainty;
may your love for us enable us to flourish into people you would want us to be
and constantly praise you. Amen    

Today’s writer

The Rev’d Ruth Dillon, Retired URC minister, member at Glenorchy URC, Exmouth, South West Synod


New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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