Staff Notes – Michelle Young: The Psalms of Hallel

“The steadfast love of the Lord endures forever”
Psalm 118:1

Today I sat in the garden at Cape Horn thumbing the pages of my Bible, my mind preoccupied by this strange time that we find ourselves in. I don’t know about you, but I am finding it harder than normal to concentrate at the moment. The lockdown in New Zealand happened so quickly that I am still trying to catch up with the reality of the situation: the spread of Covid-19 around the world; the economic consequences of a country shutdown; and the reality of life in a bubble.

It is Holy week; a week that deserves my attention. The Bible that I hold in my hands commands more than my thumbing. I ask for God’s strength and reach back to draw on foundations laid in years gone by. I open to the Psalms, 113 to 118. These are the final Psalms of the Hallel, and were likely recited by the Lord and his disciples before the institution of the Lord’s Supper. They recall part of Israel’s story: they speak of the name of the Lord and of who he is; they tell of Israel’s oppression and release from Egypt; they name the idols of the earth; and they remind us of the steadfast love of the Lord and that he does hear us.

As we approach Easter, I’d encourage you to read these Psalms of Hallel and to remember the story of Israel, the story of our God, who Christ made known to us in human flesh. Draw strength from them at this time, knowing that the Lord has been faithful to his people throughout generations, and that he will continue to be faithful to his people, today, and in the days to come.

Psalm 113:1-6
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 forth 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?

Psalm 118:29
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!