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the nature of grace

"Who is like the LORD our God, who is seated on high, who looks far down on the heavens and the earth? He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit . . . with the princes of his people." (Psalm 113:5–8) 

"This psalm is about the nature of grace: the stooping of the Most High. It has been said that if you don’t understand this psalm, you don’t understand any of the psalms. In Psalm 113 God is pictured as the Almighty—El Shaddai—who brings praise to his all-powerful name. God’s name is so great that it requires that even the enemies of God—the nations (you and me)—be brought in. This is the gospel: those who are far off are brought near by the blood of the cross. Praise is a form of sanity where you suspend thoughts of the future and dwell in the eternal now lifting up God as the center. True praise involves paying attention to God with a surrendered heart. Even to glance at us requires God’s condescension. What we might expect is for the psalm to progress to a glorious vision of the Almighty. But instead we see God visiting the trash heap on the outskirts of town. He visits the destitute—the poorest of the poor, the utterly cast down. God’s power is revealed through the weakness of the barren woman (Psalm 113:9), a prominent theme in Scripture. He lifts up the destitute and makes them royalty. This is grace."

~ C. John Miller, in Saving Grace: Daily Devotions from Jack Miller (New Growth Press, 2014). 

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