1 Praise the Lord.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
2 Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
4 praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,
5 praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.
(Psalm 150:1-6 NIV)
As we step into this final entry in the Book of Psalms, we see the psalmist’s continued pattern (Psalms 146 through 150) to begin and end the psalm with worship (“Praise the Lord!” or “Hallelujah”).
Today’s psalm is 100% focused on the Lord, and offering Him the praise and worship He so richly deserves.
While this psalm is short (only six verses), the psalmist has a clear outline of his thoughts and teaching:
- Where we praise the Lord (v. 1)
- Why we praise the Lord (v. 2)
- How we praise the Lord (vv. 3-5)
- Who should praise the Lord (v. 6)
The psalmist begins by telling us where to praise the Lord. Obviously, praising the Lord in His sanctuary is a great start. In the psalmist’s day, the sanctuary was the place God resided among His people. For many generations, God’s dwelling place among His people was a tent structure (the tabernacle). Then the Lord allowed King Solomon to build a permanent structure (the Temple) as God’s residing place among His people (1 Kings 5).
In the New Testament, God resides not in a building, but in the hearts of those who follow and obey Him. As followers of Christ, we gather regularly to worship the Lord. Many folks gather in churches around the world; some gather in homes, in rented spaces like movie theaters or schools or hotel banquet rooms. And Jesus promises to join those who assemble themselves together to worship Him:
[Jesus speaking] “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
(Matthew 18:20 NIV)
In addition to worshipping the Lord indoors, we are also to worship the Lord out-of-doors. The psalmist covers all possibilities for the out-of-doors when he says we are to worship Him “in his mighty heavens” (v. 1).
Where do you like to worship the Lord when outside? Many people tend to gravitate to one of two places – either the beach or the mountains. I understand and appreciate both places. The beach demonstrates the power and vastness of God, and our smallness and limits compared to His creation. The mountains offer perspective and movement, the changing of seasons, the immensity of His creation and His handiwork in both day and night.
While I appreciate the beach and the ocean, my heart is captured by the Lord when I spend time in the mountains. As I see the clouds and weather rolling across the land and sky by day and the stars covering the sky by night, I am in awe of His grand design and how He holds everything together on a daily, hourly, even moment-by-moment basis.
The Apostle Paul summarized these thoughts so well:
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
(Colossians 1:15-17 NIV, underlines added for emphasis)
Now that we have looked at where we praise the Lord, let’s look at why we praise Him. Verse 2 says we praise the Lord for His acts of power and His surpassing greatness. We see God’s goodness in both the great and small things of life – His daily care and provision for our basic needs, as well as His protection for His own and His divine intervention against His enemies.
When you think about God’s acts of power and His surpassing greatness, what comes to mind in your life? What have you seen the Lord do recently in your life or the lives of those around you?
Verses 3 – 5 capture how we are to praise the Lord. Note the wide variety of musical instruments – wind and stringed instruments, percussion, and while not explicitly stated but rather implied in verse 6, our voices. As we know from other Scriptures, there are skilled musicians that play these instruments and lead others in worshipping the Lord.
Verse 6 concludes by stating who should praise the Lord. The psalmist does not limit the worship of God to the Israelites, or even to people in general. Rather, the psalmist invites, even commands “everything that has breath” to praise the Lord. This includes all human as well as all animal life joining together to worship the Lord. Unless you live in a major metropolitan city with buildings all around, it’s hard to miss the worship of God’s creation, through the birds in the morning and the insects at night.
As we wrap up today’s study, what resonates in your soul?
- Where do you worship the Lord?
- Why do you worship the Lord?
- How do you worship the Lord?
- Who do you join to worship the Lord?
May we partner with the psalmist, as we begin, abide in, and conclude each day:
“Praise the Lord”.