“From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same The LORD's name is to be praised.” Psalm 113.3 (KJV)
It occurred to me, as I read this verse recently, that it could be interpreted in two different ways. I’ve always read these words as geographical description – God’s name is to be praised from the east (where the sun rises) all the way to the west (where it sets). And I still think that is probably the main thing the psalmist had in mind in Psalm 113.3 – geography. ‘Let the Lord be praised from east to west,’ he seems to be saying … ‘because the Lord is above “all nations”’ (v.4).
‘Let God’s name be magnified’ in other words, ‘from the rocky coasts of Maine, where the sun first dawns upon the mainland Unites States each morning … all the way the sandy beaches of San Diego, where the light leaves our shores at the end of the day. Indeed, let the name of the Lord be praised from Auckland, New Zealand to Honolulu Hawaii, and everywhere in between – “from the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same.”’
“The Lord’s name is to be praised” in every geographic location! And that means that God’s people have work to do! Because that name is not yet praised with the geographic pervasiveness that Psalm 113 calls for. Less than one in ten thousand people praise His name in Afghanistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Yemen, Morocco, Tunisia, and the tiny European enclave of San Marino. Additionally, there are still 15 languages spoken by over a million people among whom exist no known Christians. And the statistics could go on. There are all sorts of places that exist between the geographic rising and setting of the sun where the name of the Lord is not being praised through Jesus Christ! And so Psalm 113.3 means we have work to do. It is not enough just to sing and read the psalm. We must pray, and give, and go so that its mandate might be fulfilled!
“From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same The LORD's name is to be praised.” It’s a geographical description, I think … producing a missionary mandate!
But, as I say, it occurred to me that some people might well read Psalm 113.3 with a slightly different twist. It is possible to read the psalmist’s words and think time rather than geography. It is possible, in other words, to hear the psalmist saying something like this: ‘From the time the sun rises in the morning, until it goes down at night, you should be praising God’s name – all day long!
In the psalmist’s time, sunrise to sunset framed many a person’s waking hours. They got up and went to bed with the sun. We’re a little different, of course. We might phrase the idea like this: ‘From the time the alarm clock goes off in the morning, until the time when the lamp goes off at night, “the Lord’s name is to be praised.” A tall task indeed!
As I said early on, I think the geographic, rather than the temporal, is what the psalmist had in mind when he wrote Psalm 113.3. But the previous verse does bring into play the idea of time. The Lord should be praised, the psalmist says in Psalm 113.2, “from this time forth and forever" (NASB®). So it is possible that verse 3 carries that theme along. We ought to praise the Lord at all times!
But whether or not that’s exactly what verse 3 means, it’s certainly true that we should praise the Lord all day long. From sun up to sun down we ought to magnify the name of the Lord. And we ought to do so whether the sun comes up for us in Cincinnati, OH, or north Mississippi, or New Zealand, or Hawaii, or Turkmenistan, or anywhere in between. “The Lord’s name is to be praised” … in every geography, and at all times!