We have heard several times over the last few weeks about God’s delight in reversing our expectations. Though he is mighty and over all the earth, he delights in lifting up the weak and vulnerable. Though he is just and righteous, he delights in seeking out and restoring the dishonest and sinful. God is God. God is free. He is free to be the sort God he chooses to be, not the sort of God we might expect or wish that he were.
We meet this theme again in Psalm 113. It begins with summons to all to praise the name of the Lord in verses 1-3. Then it follows its own directions to begin extolling the wonder of God verses 4-6. He is “High above all nations”, subject to no earthly power, nor even a heavenly power. His glory and majesty cannot be contained by all the heavens (v.4). He is incomparable, and immeasurably above all else, looking down not only upon the earth, but on the heavens themselves. It is hard to depict the immeasurable greatness of God more vividly than verses 4-6.
But then the psalm shifts in verse 7-9. Leaving the heights which look down upon the heavens, the psalmist takes us to the dust and ashes of the earth. For there we find the majesty of God at work. God is there in the dust, raising the poor and the needy (v.7). He lifts them up and places them among the powerful (v. 8). He is there with the lonely barren woman, giving life (v.9). The psalmist will not let us mistake the immense magnitude of God described in verse 4-6 with an immense distance from people. No, the majesty of God is made known in his nearness; his greatness is seen in his proximity to those who need him.
The freedom of God is his freedom to be immanent to us. He is not cut off from our lowliness by his immeasurable greatness. No, the God of the Bible is the God who delights to be known in giving. Giving life. Giving forgiveness. Giving provision. Giving himself. That is the God we have come to know in Christ Jesus. He is the perfect manifestation of God’s freedom to lower himself to the depths of human misery. In the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we see the immeasurable greatness of the God of psalm 113.