Praise The LORD! (Psalm 150)
1 Praise the LORD! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty expanse.
2 Praise Him for His mighty deeds; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness.
3 Praise Him with trumpet sound; Praise Him with harp and lyre.
4 Praise Him with timbrel and dancing; Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe.
5 Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with resounding cymbals.
6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!—Psalm 150
At the time of this writing, Thanksgiving is just about a week away! Some who read that sentence smile with glee as they think of the family, fun, festivities, and food (and maybe a touch of gluttony!—Lord forgive us!) that will be had, while others have that joy at least slightly tempered by the thought of all the preparations they have to make for that family, fun, festivities, and food (and cleanup) to take place. As grateful as I am for all the things associated with this holiday and for a country where the concept of thankfulness is at least still officially acknowledged, as a believer in Jesus I am pointed to a higher call of gratitude that is not consigned to one solitary day a year but which is to infiltrate every single moment of our lives. When Christians give thanks, it’s not just a general joy over the fact that we have some material blessings, it’s not just a nondescript warm and fuzzy feeling that comes in sharing time with those we love; it’s a deep, heartfelt, and abiding realization that nothing we have done and no character attribute we possess has earned us any blessing (indeed Scripture teaches us that all of our good works are as filthy rags which could only earn the wage of death-Isaiah 64:6; Romans 6:23) but that every good and perfect gift, be it seen as large or small or unnoticed by us at all in this present life, comes to us from our Father above in Whom there is no variableness or shadow of turning (James 1:17). As we approach Thanksgiving, we are going to take a look at Psalm 150 which begins and ends by telling us to Praise The LORD!
The Command To Praise The Lord (vs. 1 and vs. 6)…Humans don’t like to be told what to do. Indeed, fallen mankind has a proclivity to rebel for the sake of being rebellious. How many people have touched wet paint, not because they really wanted to or set out to, but simply due to the fact that there was a sign telling them not to?! In fact, Scripture teaches us that as much as humanity rebels against institutions such as governments, schools, employers, and parents; mankind is especially prone to be rebellious against God and His statutes (see Psalm 2:1-3). Certainly we notice that people lie, cheat, steal, covet, murder, and commit adultery. However, Romans 1:21-32 clearly instructs that all of these violations of the Lord’s dictates that we view as heinous have their roots in something we may not see as quite so severe, that of failing to give God thanks and of worshipping the creation instead of the Creator! Remember the First Commandment? Thou shall have no other gods before Me! While that commandment means a lot of things, it certainly means that humanity is to give God, the one true and living God, the God of Scripture, ALL their praise! When this foundation crumbles, the house falls with it! Still, as much as mankind rebels against praising the LORD in this life, there will come a day in the life that is to come when no one will be able to refuse as every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11)! Of course, those who are believers now count it a joy to give God praise and the fruit of our lips give thanks to His Name (Hebrews 13:15).
The Time To Praise The Lord (vs. 1)…Go back to verse 1 for a moment. You may look at it and think, “I don’t see anything telling me what time to Praise The LORD!” Exactly! We are given the command to Praise The LORD, which means we should START doing it, and then we’re not given a time when we should ever STOP doing it! In other words, it’s a standing instruction! There are many professing believers who think that they’ll praise God when they feel up to it, when their emotions are sufficiently moved by the music (and perhaps by some well-placed key changes), when the pastor makes a particularly poignant point at perfect pitch, when their spouse is especially agreeable, when their kids are behaving better, when their boss gives them a promotion, when their bills all are paid, when they get a new car, when they get a new house, when their health is 100 percent, when they lose the right amount of weight, when they get a green light at every intersection; in short-when all is good and right in the world, then they will Praise The LORD! Well, if you’re waiting for all to be good and right in this fallen world, you’re going to be sitting on go forever and will never advance towards praise! God is God and is worthy to be praised whether you feel on top of the world or whether it seems like the world is on top of you! Jesus and the disciples sang a hymn on the very night in which he was betrayed (Matt. 26:30). Paul and Silas praised the Lord after being imprisoned and beaten for the gospel’s sake (Acts 16:22-40). Jesus is Lord, the crucified and risen Savior Who bled and died for the sins of all who repent of sin and put trust in Him! If you are in Christ, your unrighteousness which made you the justifiable object of the full wrath of the Holy and Almighty Sovereign of the universe, has been paid for in full and you are now the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus! (2 Cor. 5:21) Your sins have been cast as far as the East is from the West and the guilt for them is remembered against you no more! (Psalm 103:12) Horatio Spafford, author of the hymn “It Is Well With My Soul” wrote those famous lyrics after having lost his children in a shipwreck. Perhaps the second verse contains the power to praise God even when things are going tragically wrong. It states, “my sin, o the bliss of this glorious thought, my sin not in part but the whole, is nailed to His cross and I bear it no more, Praise The Lord, Praise The Lord, o my soul!” Our greatest problem was never external wrongs done to us but internal wrongs done by us. And that problem has been solved by the precious blood of Jesus Christ for all who have repented of sin and put faith in Him. And because our greatest problem has been solved, our greatest praise should go forth…and never stop!
The Place To Praise The Lord (vs. 1)…Psalm 150 tells us to Praise The LORD in HIS sanctuary and in HIS mighty expanse. Now, in the Old Testament, the immediate context of “sanctuary” likely meant the Temple in Jerusalem. Certainly, the importance of the Temple where God chose to place His Name in the Old Testament and the importance of the place where the church assembles in the New Testament cannot be overstated. There is something powerful about praising Jesus in the midst of and along with others of the like-same faith. That having been said, the Lord does not dwell in temples made by hands, but in the hearts, minds, and lives of those who have been born again, those who are saved by His grace and filled with His Spirit! So Christians praise Him wherever we are! The term “mighty expanse” refers to the heavens. Read the book of Revelation and you’ll find that Heaven is a place of praise and worship, ascribing blessing and honor and glory and dominion to Him who sits on the throne and unto the Lamb forever and ever (Rev. 5:13)! Tying the words “sanctuary” and “mighty expanse” together we find that we are to Praise The LORD from Earth to Heaven and all places in between! This is only right for indeed both the “sanctuary” and the “mighty expanse” and all places in between are “HIS”!
The Reason To Praise The LORD (vs. 2)…Psalm 150:2 tells us to Praise The LORD for His mighty deeds and for His excellent greatness. Basically, we are to praise Him for what He has done and for Who He is! What has God done? I encourage you to look through Scripture and see what God has done. He created all that is, He made mankind in His own image and likeness, He came to mankind even after Adam and Eve sinned, He promised mankind a Savior who would crush Satan’s head, He chose Abraham as the lineage through which that fully Divine and fully human Savior would come, He used an Ark-a Passover Lamb-an Exodus-a Sacrificial System-a Priesthood-a Scarlet Thread-a Defeated Giant-an Anointed King-an Exiled People-and countless other Old Testament events to point towards that coming Savior; when the fullness of the time came He sent forth His Son to seek and save the lost; that Son died and rose again from the grave with life and liberty for all who believe; He sent His Spirit to indwell believers and empower us for the fruits and the gifts, He gave us the New Testament through His Apostles which included a formerly cussing fisherman and a formerly hated tax collector and a formerly savage persecutor of the church to show His grace extends to all who will repent and believe, and He promised to come back and receive us unto Himself that where He is there we may also be! I encourage you to look at your life and see what God has done. If you’re a believer then He has saved you and forgiven you and sees you as having the righteousness of Christ! If you’ve ever been healed in your body, that’s Him! If you’ve been encouraged in your heart, that’s Him! If you’ve ever had prayers answered, that’s Him! If you’ve ever seen a sunrise, felt a refreshing breeze on your face, been warmed by the presence of family, been able to go to work to provide for those you love, had a good night’s sleep, had your belly full, walked safely across the street, been comforted in times of sorrow, been elated in times of joy; all that’s not you, it’s all Him, and it is reason to Praise The LORD! And don’t forget, we still need to talk about praising Him for Who He is! He is the Lord, compassionate and gracious and abounding in lovingkindness and truth. He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. He is the Lord our provider, the Lord our healer, the Lord our righteousness, the Lord our Shepherd, the Creator, the Redeemer, and the Word made flesh. He is the Bread of Life, the Light of the World, the Door of the Sheep, the Resurrection and the Life, the Good Shepherd, the Way-the Truth-and the Life, and the True Vine. He is Lord, Savior, and soon coming King! He is Omnipotent (all powerful), Omniscient (all knowing), and Omnipresent (everywhere at once)! He is fully loving, fully righteous, fully just, and fully forgiving. He is Light and in Him is no darkness at all, there is no imperfection in any of the attributes of Him who is Holy, Holy, Holy! For what He’s done, for Who He Is, we Praise The LORD!
The Way To Praise The LORD (vs. 3-5)…These verses tell us to Praise The LORD with trumpet, harp lyre, timbrel, dancing, stringed instruments, pipe, loud cymbals, and resounding cymbals. Now, not everybody is proficient at these instruments. I marvel at those who can play pianos, guitars, drums, and the like. I am amazed at musicians who can match keys by ear without even looking at a piece of music. The only thing I can play is the CD player and I’m happy if I can find the car keys in my pocket. However, while instruments are listed in this Psalm and certainly are to be employed in praise, the main thrust of the passage is that we are to Praise The LORD with all that we have and all that we are for all of our days! Certain people are more exuberant than others and some are more emotional than others and some are gifted in different ways than others. But I encourage you, and more importantly this Psalm teaches you, to not hold anything back when we Praise The LORD!
The Ones To Praise The LORD (vs. 6)…The last verse of Psalm 150, indeed the last verse of the entire book of Psalms, the hymnal of the Word of God, directs everything that has breath to Praise The LORD! Certainly all of Creation groans to give God praise (Romans 8:19-23 ), but mankind is especially in view here. Man was the only member of Creation that God breathed life into from His very nostrils. Our natural life comes from His hand and we should give Him praise. More importantly of course is the fact that the “Wind” of God, the Spirit of God, “Ruach” in the Old Testament and “Pneuma” in the New Testament, has convicted and now filled those who are believers in Christ and we have had new life, everlasting life, breathed into us by God Himself! Our natural life and our spiritual life comes from His Hand and we should give Him praise! Praise The LORD!