‘Praise the LORD.’ (Psalm 150:1–6 NIV)
The theme of praise dominates all the psalms, but as the end of the Psalter approaches praise rises to a crescendo. Each of the last five psalms begins and ends with “Hallelujah!” – Literally ‘Praise the Lord.’ Psalm 150 is the climax where we are given the where, why, how, and who of praise.
‘Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.’ (Psalm 150:1) God’s sanctuary refers to the place of worship on earth where God’s people gathered. In the psalmist’s day, this was the temple in Jerusalem, in ours it’s gathering together as the church. The
‘mighty heavens’ beckons all of the heavenly hosts to praise God. So the call is for God’s worshippers on earth, meeting at his chosen place, but also to his heavenly host to mingle their praises with ours. Earth and heaven can be utterly at one in this. His glory fills the universe; his praise must do no less.
‘Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.’ (Psalm 150:2). We praise God for who he is, a God of unfailing love (his surpassing greatness) and for what He does, that in his love he draws us to himself (his acts of power).
‘Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.’ (Psalm 150:3-5) Every kind of instrument, solemn or jovial, percussive or melodic, gentle or strident, is rallied here to the praise of God. The sense of these verses is, “Pull out the stops and give it everything you’ve got!” Use your breath to blow the trumpet, use your fingers to play the harp and lyre, use your whole hand to hit the tambourine, move your whole body in the dance.
‘Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.’ (Psalm 150:6) Who is to praise God? Everything that has breath! It sums up the glorious variety that was glimpsed in Psalm 148:7–12, with
‘sea creatures … wild animals and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds’, joined by the whole family of human beings from kings to children praising God.
The sentiment of this psalm was beautifully captured in Matt Redman’s 1997 song ‘Let Everything That Has Breath’
Praise You in the morning,
Praise You in the evening,
Praise You when I’m young and when I’m old.
Praise You when I’m laughing,
Praise You when I’m grieving,
Praise You every season of the soul.
If we could see how much You’re worth,
Your power, Your might, Your endless love,
Then surely we would never cease to praise.
Let’s never cease to praise our great and loving God – Hallelujah!
Father, I will praise you with my whole heart and at all times, I will always honour and celebrate your great love with every breath I have.
Have a good week praising God.