Psalm 147: “He Heals the Brokenhearted”

May 3, 2023 | Melissa Riggs

I never used to love reading psalms. I am a learner, and the psalms, unlike a narrative or history book, were difficult to “study.” But God is in the business of changing hearts, and He has changed my perspective on psalms this year, drawing me in on multiple occasions during times of personal worship. Last week I read Psalm 147, and the first 11 verses were so relatable they brought tears to my eyes. 

1 Praise the Lord! 
    For it is good to sing praises to our God; 
    for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting. 
2 The Lord builds up Jerusalem; 
    he gathers the outcasts of Israel. 
3 He heals the brokenhearted 
    and binds up their wounds. 
4 He determines the number of the stars; 
    he gives to all of them their names. 
5 Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; 
    his understanding is beyond measure. 
6 The Lord lifts up the humble; 
    he casts the wicked to the ground. 

7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; 
    make melody to our God on the lyre! 
8 He covers the heavens with clouds; 
    he prepares rain for the earth; 
    he makes grass grow on the hills. 
9 He gives to the beasts their food, 
    and to the young ravens that cry. 
10 His delight is not in the strength of the horse, 
    nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, 
11 but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, 
    in those who hope in his steadfast love. 

Just a few weeks ago, Pastor Monty asked when we last felt vulnerable. For me, the answer came quickly. I was in one of the most vulnerable places of my life last spring when I started my new job as the Children’s Ministry Pastor here at Fellowship. Wounds that were less than six months old were barely scabbed over, yet the Holy Spirit was prompting me—in love—to step out in faith and trust God that He had a plan for me. I was so afraid. Would I be hurt again? Would my family be able to accept a new church? Would we make new friends and find community? (And if I was being completely honest, did I even want that?) 

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. 
Psalm 147:3 

This week I celebrate one year working at FBC. Twelve months of trusting, healing, and growing. Fifty-two weeks of learning and leaning on Him. In this past year, God has put people in my path who have challenged my prayer life (an area where I had previously asked God to grow me). He has given me the mentor that I have longed for. He has given us a couple of new friends who have pursued my heart, but not until I said, “Lord, I’m ready.” He has answered prayers, new and old, in ways I would not have expected, and He has poured out blessings like a steady, soaking rain, healing my wounds and covering me in mercy. Did I know He would do those things? Yes and no. Of course, I knew that He was trustworthy, which is why I stepped out in faith. But there were no guarantees that anything would be easy or feel safe. Had I been sure of what would happen, I would not have needed faith. My hope was in Him alone. 

…the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love. 
Psalm 147:11 

A friend recently asked me how I had the strength to embrace a new assignment while in such a hard place. Song lyrics from “Promises” by Maverick City Music come to mind: “I put my faith in Jesus; My anchor to the ground; My hope and firm foundation; He'll never let me down.” The world will fail me. My friends will fail me, and my church will fail me. And I will fail too. I am sinful and deeply flawed and in need of a Savior. But my God will not fail me, so I can step into vulnerable places with prayer and wisdom and know that He has me. It looks different than stepping off the edge of a cliff blindfolded; it is like a trust fall exercise with the safest person I know. He has proven Himself time and time again. 

Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; 
his understanding is beyond measure. 
Psalm 147:5 

God is the only one who can take broken things and make them beautiful. He redeems and binds up our wounds, and He is the only one worthy of our praise. With every fiber of my being, I want to give Him the praise and glory He deserves as I look back on an exceedingly difficult season where He upheld me and displayed His abundant power in my life. Is the hard stuff over? Not at all. There are still times of grief and fear and more hard things to walk through, but He has me, and I will boldly sing, “From the rising sun to the setting same I will praise your name. Great is your faithfulness to me.” 

Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; 
for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting. 
— Psalm 147:1