The final psalm – Psalm 150 – continues with the direction for us to Praise the Lord. In fact, the entire psalm is about that topic. The who, what, when, where, how and why all wrapped up in one short psalm. Let’s take a look at what we can learn about praising God:
- The Lord
- Everything that has breath
- In His sanctuary
- In His mighty heavens
- With the trumpet sounds
- With the lute and harp
- With tambourine and dance
- With strings and pipe
- With sounding cymbals
- With loud clashing cymbals
- For His mighty deeds
- According to His excellent greatness
There is no question that praise is to be how we live in relationship with God. We sometimes get confused and think that life is about us. It isn’t. God is the center of the universe. We’re merely a part of His much bigger story. We are but a blip on the radar, our lives are so short and will be gone in an instant. But God is forever. He will reign eternal. And we need to give Him the praise and adoration that He deserves.
Praising God is not sitting in the pew on Sunday morning. It isn’t even singing the worship songs at church. It’s far more than that. Praising God is a lifestyle that should consume us and be on our lips all the time. We have so much to be grateful for. God is worthy of our praise. He deserves our adoration. Let all who breathe praise the Lord. He is King of Kings and Creator. He is worthy!
Psalm 149 reminds us again to praise the Lord. The psalms are filled with this exhortation, over and over again we are told to praise Him. This psalm tells us to “sing to the Lord a new song”. Praising God should never get stale or old. After all, the praise is for a living God who continues to bless His children each and every day. Our praise should change with His love and blessing for us. We’re also told to sing it “in the assembly of the godly”. Who we praise God with matters too!
In fact, who we hang out with makes a huge difference in our lives. If we surround ourselves with godly people who are walking with God and living a life full of praise, it is far more likely we’ll experience Him in the same way. If we instead surround ourselves with folks who are negative and bitter toward God, and choose not to walk with Him on a day by day basis, the potential certainly exists for us to be drawn away from God and if we hang there long enough to be completely pulled away from Him.
It is another reason that who we are around matters. We want to be surrounded by folks who are glad to be in His presence and rejoice in His Kingdom. We’re also told to praise Him with dancing. That is quite a stretch for me personally as I have no rhythm, but for those with some talent God desires our praise in many ways. We are also told to praise Him with the melody of instruments. There are many ways we are to praise Him. In fact, it should consume our entire relationship with Him. It is a vital part to walking well with Him.
But praise isn’t reserved just for the times we are assembled with His people. We’re also told to “sing for joy on their beds”. Praising God is to be a way of life. It should permeate all we are and do. It is how we give Him the glory He is due and how we exalt Him above all else. God is worthy of our praise. He is in control of all things, and will deal with evil and the punishment of those who are against Him. God will set the record straight in every way. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords and worthy of our praise!
Psalm 148 continues the focus on praise. This time, the author tells us how and who should praise Him.
- “Praise the Lord from the heavens
- praise him in the heights
- Praise him, all his angels
- praise him, all his hosts
- Praise him, sun and moon
- praise him, all you shining stars
- Praise him, you highest heavens
- and you waters above the heavens”
We are to praise God anywhere and everywhere. God is not only deserving, it is our duty.
“And he established them forever and ever; he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away”. God’s in it for the long haul. His creation is forever. And His plan for us is the same. Jesus came to earth to offer us a way to spend eternity with God. Sin got in the way back in the Garden with Adam and Eve. It wasn’t God’s original plan for man to fall to sin. But it happened, and is still happening, and so He provided a different way for us to be able to spend eternity with Him. Salvation through His saving grace and mercy provided for us through Jesus Christ on the Cross. It’s our only way, but it is free if we simply accept it. Forever is a very long time. We have to address the reality that our spirit will exist eternally, either in heaven with God, or apart from Him in Hell. There is no other option. We need to think long and hard on that and make sure we are ready to meet our Maker!
“Let them praise the name of the Lord! For he commanded and they were created”. All creation is charged with the task of praising God. He is the Creator. He is the one who spoke everything into existence. The psalmist calls us all out. We are all to praise His name:
- “great sea creatures and all deeps
- fire and hail
- snow and mist
- stormy wind fulfilling his word
- Mountains and all hills
- fruit trees and all cedars
- Beasts and all livestock
- creeping things and flying birds
- Kings of the earth and all peoples
- princes and all rulers of the earth
- Young men and maidens together
- old men and children”
That pretty much covers it, doesn’t it? We are all responsible to praise our God!
“Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his majesty is above earth and heaven. He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his saints, for the people of Israel who are near to him. Praise the Lord”! Here the writer goes again – he gives us a list of why we should exalt His name:
- “his name alone is exalted
- his majesty is above earth and heaven
- He has raised up a horn for his people
- praise for all his saints
- for the people of Israel who are near to him”
Praise the Lord! That’s our charge! Don’t wait – do it today!
Psalm 147 continues the focus on praising God. “Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting”. The psalmist points out three things about praise:
- It is good
- It is pleasant
- It is fitting
God is worthy. We should spend far more time praising God. He is worthy of our praise. Our praise should flow from our lips and be music to His ears. God is good, and we need to sing His praises.
The writer goes on to remind us just how awesome God is. “Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure”. Look at the words used to describe Him: great…..abundant power…..understanding beyond measure. Our God is far beyond what we can truly comprehend. His goodness to us is beyond our ability to understand. God is worthy of our praise – now, today, tomorrow, forever. How much time do you spend in praise and adoration? It’s how we need to begin our day and end it. It’s how every prayer should start.
The majority of the chapter lists the why behind the focus on praise. The list is long, because God is so amazingly good:
- “The Lord builds up Jerusalem
- he gathers the outcasts of Israel
- he heals the brokenhearted
- he binds up their wounds
- He determines the number of the stars
- he gives to all of them their names
- he lifts up the humble
- he casts the wicked to the ground
- he covers the heavens with clouds
- he prepares rain for the earth
- he makes grass grow on the hills
- He gives to the beasts their food
- he strengthens the bars of your gates
- he blesses your children within you
- He makes peace in your borders
- he fills you with the finest of the wheat
- He sends out his command to the earth
- his word runs swiftly
- He gives snow like wool
- he scatters hoarfrost like ashes
- He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs
- He sends out his word
- he makes his wind blow and the waters flow
- He declares his word to Jacob, his statutes and rules to Israel”
Wow, what a list. Is God worthy of our praise? Absolutely. He wants us to see His goodness and relate to Him through praise. “The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love”. God demands some respect from us – He is in control of all things and makes all things. This is His domain, and we are merely passing through. We need to recognize Him as King of Kings and fear Him as the Creator and Keeper of all. God is Lord of Lords. He is over all!
Psalm 146 is full of praise for God and His interaction with man and creation. The psalmist starts out with the focus on praise. “Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being”. Praising God is not a once in a while thing. It is continual, comes from the depths of our soul, and will last as long as we have breath. God is worthy of our praise. We should make praise part of our daily routine, finding time to give God the focus and place He deserves in our lives.
The writer reminds us that God alone is the source of our salvation. If we put our trust anywhere beside Jesus, who is God’s plan for salvation, we will be sorely disappointed. Man can never save us. We can never meet God’s standard for holiness and righteousness on our own. “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation”. There is only one place we can find salvation, and that is in God’s provision of His Son Jesus Christ. All others fail. “When his breath departs he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish”. Anything else will come up short.
God alone is our hope and salvation. “Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God”. The psalmist goes on to remind us of who God is and what He has done:
- “who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them
- who keeps faith forever
- who executes justice for the oppressed
- who gives food to the hungry”
These are things the Lord does.
But the writer goes on to show us more of who God is:
- “The Lord sets the prisoners free
- the Lord opens the eyes of the blind
- The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down
- the Lord loves the righteous
- The Lord watches over the sojourners
- he upholds the widow and the fatherless
- the wicked he brings to ruin
- The Lord will reign forever”
This is the God we serve – the one and only true God who cares for us deeply and has provided the only way to live everlasting. God is our keeper and our Savior!
Psalm 145 has David singing praises to God. Remember, David is king himself, yet he puts God in a very different place of praise. “I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever”. David knows that God is the King of Kings, not merely another king among kings. He has a daily relationship with His King. “Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever”. It is the dailyness of our relationship with God that is so important. This isn’t a couple hours on a Sunday morning. It is day by day, moment by moment. David walked with God that way.
He also knew of God’s greatness and how worthy He was of praise. “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.” God sits on His throne above all. He is so far above mankind that we truly can’t even comprehend His greatness. Part of our role as humans is to pass on that message and make sure the next generation knows who God is and how great is His majesty. We’re falling short on that job. “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts”. We aren’t telling the story of God’s goodness and blessings well at all. The coming generations have little if any understanding of the greatness of our God.
Our example and the words we speak are self-centered, not God centered. We take credit for the good that occurs rather than pointing to the One who actually deserves the praise and glory. We need to get focused on God, not self. We don’t deserve credit for anything. God is the One who creates and controls all. We need to focus on Him. We need to meditate and talk about His power and goodness. “On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate”. That’s what David did.
Fortunately for us, “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made”. God puts up with our selfish focus, at least for a while. But His patience will run out and we’ll have to give account for how we live and what we do. He never changes. He isn’t going anywhere. He wants to be known to all mankind. He wants His message of grace and mercy shared among all peoples. It is a forever message. “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations”. Are you telling the story?
Psalm 144 has David praising God for His steadfast protection. “Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle; he is my steadfast love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield and he in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me”. He begins this passage by being grateful to the God who is our Rock and shield. God alone can protect and deliver us. We need to take refuge in Him and cling to His steady place in our life.
We’re reminded just how short life is. “O Lord, what is man that you regard him, or the son of man that you think of him? Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow”. First of all, we’re nothing in comparison to our God who created us. We aren’t the center of the universe, God is. We aren’t even the center of our own little universe, He is. And we need to be careful not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought. Our life is fragile and short in comparison to God’s place.
Although it may seem like we have plenty of time for whatever we want to do, the reality is that life is but a breath that is here today and can be gone tomorrow, or today for that matter. There is no guarantee that there will be a tomorrow. So we have to make the most of today, and every day, because our 168 hours for next week is not certain. We have to live like there will be no tomorrow and be grateful if we’re allowed to wake up and be part of it. God is in control of all of life. He knows our days. They are numbered and short.
David asks for God’s blessings. He asks very specifically that God will deal with his enemies, but also that He’ll bless him:
- “May our sons in their youth be like plants full grown
- may our daughters like corner pillars cut for the structure of a palace
- may our granaries be full, providing all kinds of produce
- may our sheep bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our fields
- may our cattle be heavy with young, suffering no mishap or failure in bearing
- may there be no cry of distress in our streets”
He asks for a detailed list of blessings, and then ends with this truth. “Blessed are the people to whom such blessings fall! Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord”! God loves to bless us. We need to ask for His blessing and live in such a way that He is able to do so!