Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #349 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Psalm 150 today and our focus is on How Many Ways Can We Praise the Lord and Why Should We Praise Him? We are a daily 10ish minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in . Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
We have now reached the last summit of the mountain chain of Psalms. It rises high into the clear azure, and its brow is bathed in the sunlight of the eternal world of worship. It is a rapture. The poet-prophet is full of inspiration and enthusiasm. He stays not to argue, to teach, to explain: but cries with burning words, “Praise him, Praise him, Praise ye the LORD.”
C. H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David: Psalms 120-150, vol. 6 (London; Edinburgh; New York: Marshall Brothers, n.d.), 463.
That is how Charles Spurgeon introduces the last Psalm in the Psalter, or the book of Psalms, and I don’t think I could exceed his majestic wordsmithing there, so it makes a fitting introduction for us today as well. We have reached the end of the Psalms, having read many dozens of them together, and today’s Psalm is short, sweet and wonderfully focused on the first and greatest commandment, exhibiting full-throated and wholehearted worship, praise and love of God. It’s so good, we’ll read it twice today – once at the front of our discussion, and once at the end.
How can we praise God? Where can we praise God? What shall we praise God for? Who should praise God? In less than 70 words, the psalmist answers all of those questions.
We may praise God with our breath – singing and shouting and speaking His praise. We praise him with skilled and sophisticated instruments like the harp, and lyre and flute and stringed instruments. We praise Him with loud and blasting instruments like cymbals and a ram’s horn. We praise Him with tambourine and dance – whoever said Baptists can’t dance has never read and processed the Psalms! Who should praise God – every created being that is able to draw in and expel breath! Where can we praise God? Both in His sanctuary – AND His mighty expanse, which I take to mean basically the totality of creation. We praise God in places of worship and worship gatherings, but also quite literally, all across the multiverse! What shall we praise God for? Why, we praise Him for WHO He is (“His abundant greatness”) and we praise Him for WHAT He has done (“His mighty acts.”) A simple Psalm that captures the very height of what humanity can attain to- the praise and worship of our Great God.
I note that in the CSB, this Psalm begins and ends with the word Hallelujah – which is a one word translation of two Hebrew words – הַלְלוּ יָהּ Halal and Yah – meaning, very simply, “Praise Yahweh.” Interestingly, the Hebrew word for Praise, halal, can also mean shine – as in to shine a light. Perhaps there is an aspect of shining the light on God’s great goodness in our praise and worship, at least in a sense.
I note here that the Psalms – all full of agonized cries and pleas for help and many, many gut-wrenching prayers – closes with a Psalm of absolutely pure, untainted and absolute praise. No requests. No crying out. Just praise. Eugene Peterson has interesting words on this, saying:
“All prayer, pursued far enough, becomes praise. Any prayer, no matter how desperate its origin, no matter how angry and fearful the experiences it traverses, ends up in praise. It does not always get there quickly or easily—the trip can take a lifetime, but the end is always praise.”
“It may take years, decades even, before certain prayers arrive at the hallelujahs at [Psalm 150]. Not every prayer is capped off with praise. In fact most prayers, if the Psalter is a true guide, are not.” Most prayers do not end in praise. We’re in misery. “Prayer is always reaching towards praise and will finally arrive there [when earth and heaven meet].”
Timothy J. Keller, quoting Peterson, The Timothy Keller Sermon Archive, 2012-2013 (New York: Redeemer Presbyterian Church, 2013).
One other thing to observe about our Psalm – note the loudness – the exuberance – the passion. There may be times for solemn worship that is quiet and subtle, but this Psalm shows us most clearly that there will always be a time for LOUD and expressive and wholehearted praise to God. One does not read the Psalms and walk away thinking the best way to worship God is quietly and in a withdrawn and emotionless manner. On this subject, Spurgeon said:
“Let the clash of the loudest music be the Lord’s; let the joyful clang of the loftiest notes be all for him. Praise has beaten the timbrel, swept the harp, and sounded the trumpet, and now for a last effort, awakening the most heavy of slumberers, and startling the most indifferent of onlookers, she dashes together the disks of brass, and with sounds both loud and high proclaims the glories of the Lord”
Sam Storms, quoting Spurgeon, Biblical Studies: Meditations on the Psalms (Edmond, OK: Sam Storms, 2016), Ps 148–150.
And now, one final time – Psalm 150.
And I’ll close with Spurgeon’s closing on this Psalm, which is a call to worship:
Once more. Hallelujah! Thus is the Psalm rounded with the note of praise; and thus is the Book of Psalms ended by a glowing word of adoration. Reader, wilt not thou at this moment pause a while, and worship the Lord thy God? Hallelujah!
C. H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David: Psalms 120-150, vol. 6 (London; Edinburgh; New York: Marshall Brothers, n.d.), 464.
Bible Memory passage for the month of December: Revelation 5:12, “They said with a loud voice: Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing!”
Happy by Mike Leite https://soundcloud.com/mikeleite
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