What could possibly have caused such disturbances in the natural course of nature—the sea to part, the river to reverse its flow, the majestic peaks of Sinai to tremble? This is what the third stanza of the psalm asks rhetorically: 

Why was it, O sea, that you fled,
O Jordan, that you turned back,
you mountains, that you skipped like rams,
you hills, like lambs? 

Although it is true that no other nation has ever been constituted a kingdom of priests and a holy nation, there is a people that has, and that people is the church, the people of God. The reason for it is the same, namely the presence of God in our midst. Do you remember how Peter referred to it in his first letter? Thinking of Exodus 19:6, and possibly Psalm 114:2, Peter wrote of the church, "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light" (1 Peter 2:9). 

A person who is not familiar with the psalms might suppose that they are very much alike. But as I have worked my way through a careful study of them, the thing that has impressed me most is how unique each psalm is. Some are sad; some are happy. Some deal with national defeats or victories; some are entirely personal. Some deal with sin, others with praise, still others with trying to find the right way in confusing situations. And their structures vary too. Some are lengthy rehearsals of past historical events. Some are short. Some are acrostics. Some are lyrical. Psalm 114 is a little masterpiece. 

That brings us to the last stanza of Psalm 113. What it tells us is that God stoops down in order that he might lift the downtrodden up. And more! He lifts them to be as he is. Do you see the parallel between these two stanzas? God is exalted over the nations, so he exalts the poor, raising him from the dust. God is enthroned on high, so he raises the poor to sit with princes.

Having called upon the “servants of the LORD” to praise him “from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets," the psalm next turns to the praise of God directly, extolling him as the one who is “exalted over all the nations” and whose "glory [is] above the heavens” (v. 4). Verses 3 and 4 are paralleled almost exactly in Malachi 1:11: “My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to my name, because my name will be great among the nations,' says the LORD Almighty.”