Psalm 150 September 11, 2016
Sermon Series: “Short and Sweet Summer Psalms”
Today’s Sermon: Psalm 150 “Sing Praise to the Lord”
Pastor Louis Prontnicki Maple Glen Bible Fellowship Church
As we come to the end of the Psalms, we notice the priority of praise. Each of the last five psalms (146-150) begins and ends with the Hebrew word, “Hallelujah!” Praise is the theme of each of these psalms and Ps. 150 is like a mounting crescendo at the climax of a great symphony of praise to the Lord. Here is Ps. 150 we are exhorted 13 times – in six short verses – to praise the Lord. We could say that every verse, every sentence, is an invitation, a divine summons, to praise the Lord. Yet most of the time we are not praising the Lord; we are complaining, criticizing, gossiping, and making much of ourselves! So, how do we turn this around and put the focus on praising Him?
This psalm answers four questions about praising the Lord: the questions of where, who, why, and how:
- Where is the Lord to be praised? Answer: Everywhere! In every place! (v. 1) As Ps.
103:22 tells us: “Praise the Lord, all His works, everywhere in His dominion.”
He is to be praised in His sanctuary, which 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 is the church.
The “mighty heavens” is a call to praise God in all the heavenly places. Thus the psalmist is saying, “Praise God everywhere! Praise Him on the earth! Praise Him in the heavens!” Derek Kidner writes, God’s “glory fills the universe; His praise must do no less.”
Let’s go back to the idea of praising the Lord in His sanctuary. This refers especially to the corporate gatherings of God’s people. It means that our main business when we gather as the church should be the praise of our God. We gather primarily to meet with God, to corporately offer praise to Him. “Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise” (Ps. 100:4).
At the same time, our corporate worship will be enhanced if each of us has been praising God wherever we’re at throughout the week. Each of us should begin our day by focusing our thoughts on God, on who He is and on what He has graciously done for us in Christ. As we do, our hearts will be filled with praise, adoration, and joy. And then our Sundays should be the great crescendo as the many individual worshipers gather corporately to praise our great God.
2. Who should praise the Lord? The answer: Anyone who has breath! Anyone and everyone who is breathing, for that is what we were created and redeemed for. In Gen. 2:7 we read that the Lord breathed His breath into us, that we might breathe it back to Him, in praise and worship!
So the only qualification for praising God is that you are breathing. All people everywhere are to worship the Lord. Therefore, the fact that God can command us to praise Him means that praise is not just a feeling based upon your mood or circumstances. Praise includes our feelings, but it is not at its heart a feeling. Praise is a matter of obedience to our great God. It flows from deliberately focusing on Him. It is the result of being willfully God-centered in your thinking. If you are breathing, praising God is not an option; it is your responsibility, your calling, and your delight. Who should praise the Lord? Everyone!
3. Why is the Lord to be praised? Answer: for what He has done (“His acts of power”) and because of who He is (“His surpassing greatness”). The fuel for the fire of our worship is the greatness of God displayed in all His works: in creation, providence, redemption, judgment, etc.
Think through the Psalms, and you will be reminded of some of the great things God has done. In Psalm 139, He formed you while you were in the womb, and ordained all the days of your life. In Psalm 22, He sent His Son to die for our sins. In Psalm 23 He provides for our every need as our good Shepherd. Psalm 32 tells of the forgiveness of sin which God gives to the repentant sinner. Psalm 57 describes how God is sufficient in a time of trials. Psalm 119 extols God’s Word which He has graciously given to guide us. Truly, God has done mighty deeds!
Think of how he has dealt with you. He chose you in Christ before the foundation of the world. He sought you when you were dead in your transgressions and sins, when you were hostile toward Him. He caused you to be born again to a living hope. He has dealt graciously and patiently with you to lead you to the place where you are today. And He who began this good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
He is “the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God” (1 Tim. 1:17); “the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light” (1 Tim. 6:16). “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created” (Rev. 4:11). “Praise God according to His excellent greatness.”
Praise God for His mighty deed and His surpassing greatness! The Lord is to be praised for his acts of power and His surpassing greatness.
4. How is the Lord to be praised? Answer: With everything we have: with all instruments,
with dancing, and with our breath (vv. 3-6). These instruments include wind, string, and percussion instruments. The trumpet is the shofar, the ram’s horn. The two types of cymbals (v. 5) refer first to “cymbals of hearing” and then to “cymbals of loud shouts. Like unmistakable war cries.” Note that the praise is not in the instrument; it is in what our hearts express through the instrument. The psalmist is commanding us not to hold back as we worship the Lord. The sense of verses these 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.
Where is the Lord to be praised? Everywhere!
Who is to praise the Lord? Everyone!
Why should we praise the Lord? For everything He’s done and everything He is!
How should we praise the Lord? With everything we’ve got!
But one question remains. As the last psalm, there’s no doubt that this is a fitting and grand climax of praise to the Lord. Yet we might say that the psalm expresses an unresolved vision. How so? Well, at this present time, we don’t see everything that has breath praising the Lord, everywhere, with everything they’ve got, do we? We wish that it were so… but it isn’t. So perhaps the psalmist is asking us: “What do you propose to do about this unresolved tension, between what ought to be, and what actually is?” Let me suggest three answers:
First, each of us must purpose to praise the Lord, with all we are and all we have, as we respond to all that He is and all that He has done, in Christ.
Second, we should all purpose, desire, and pray that the praise of the Lord would go out to all the nations, so that everyone who has breath would worship Him!
Ps. 96:3 “Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all the peoples.” Ps. 96:10 “Say among the nations, ‘The Lord reigns’.”
Third, we must trust that in the final analysis, in the last day, the Lord Himself will make Ps. 150 a complete and wonderful reality, by His own acts of power, when Jesus Christ returns in power and in glory!
When this psalm was first sung, it was sung only by the people of Israel, in one small part of the world, on a few musical instruments, in one language out of many. Today, some 3,000 years later, this psalm and these praises of the Lord are being sung by people in almost all the ethnic groups in the world, and in thousands of languages, with perhaps hundreds of different instruments.
But the time is coming when every people from every tongue and tribe and language, with every known instrument, will rise up to sing the Lord’s praises!
Rev. 7:9 “There before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb..”