This is the second of the Hallelujah Psalms. It is obvious that we have three stanzas woven together here; in some ancient manuscripts the third is a separate psalm. We note in passing that at least one contemporary worship song comes from this.
But first, the psalmist extols praise itself. The reason we praise is because it pulls us up out of our fallen nature and into the very Presence of God. There is no higher experience in this life than to earnestly praise the Lord.
In the first stanza, it is obvious this is a song of the Restoration. The Lord Himself oversees the rebuilding of Jerusalem. Not just the physical buildings, but the people. Like the Good Shepherd He gathers the scattered sheep and binds up their wounds, both in heart and flesh. This is Your God, Israel: He knows the stars in the night sky like a shepherd knows His sheep. He counts them and calls each one by name, yet no one can in turn number and name the depths of His wisdom. If you want His attention, stay humble before Him or suffer exclusion from His favor like the wicked.
So strike up the music and sing His praises. It’s only right that we celebrate His glory because He paints the sky with clouds and orders up rain in due season. Do you see the grasses waving on the hillsides? He made that to feed your cattle, same as He makes food for the ravens. He’s not really impressed with the strength of horses any more than with the muscles of mere men. But if you revere Him and court His mercy, you’ll surely find it.
So let the City and Mount Zion itself lift up praise to His name. With Him guarding the gates, no siege engine can break its bars. With His favor, your children will be even stronger than those gates. He keeps the raiders away from your borders and provokes the fields to grow the best grain for your food. Everything works as it should; He commands Creation itself to bless you. At His behest, snow covers the hillsides like woolly sheep, frost coats the ground like ashes blown from a kiln, and hail scatters like chicken feed. And when He’s ready for cold weather, who can tell Him “no”? Yet by the same authority He can stir up the warm winds and melt it all to water the ground.
The final two verses are an epilogue. This same God who commands the weather and keeps order in nature is the Lord who keeps moral order through His Covenant with Israel. No other nation on earth has been permitted to know God so personally. Can you praise Him for that?