PSALM 150 TALK:  THE ROAD OF PRAISE

PSALM 150 TALK:  THE ROAD OF PRAISE

 (This is the fifth and last of the final five Psalms of the book of Psalms often called The Hallelujah Psalms and this Psalm features a call to praise God with all our life, music and breathe as the fitting conclusion to the book of Psalms. According to this Psalm and the whole book of Psalms God has a way for us to go or a road for us to travel on and by going this way or travelling on this road we are on a road of praise and worship.)

(THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide”.

INTRODUCTION

Psalm 150 is fitting Psalm to end the book of Psalms which is obviously a specific Psalm written by original editors of the fifth and final book of Psalms to express a fitting conclusion to the entire Hebrew songbook we call Psalms. Each of the four books of Psalms has a final verse or two that acts as a doxology for that book (see Psalm 72: 18 – 19) but Psalm 150 is a whole Psalm doxology or short expression of praise devoted to the fifth book of Psalms and the entire book of Psalms.

The actual Hebrew word “Psalms” or “tehillim” means “praises” and when we put this title into the context of the whole the five books of Psalms we come up with a wonderful bit of teaching about God and life. Psalm 1 sets the scene for the five books of Psalms with the presentation of two ways or roads we can take, the way of life and the way of death. Then we read in Psalm 2 of the great opposition of the nations or the world of men to God and his chosen anointed king who is David and his faithful followers in the first two books of Psalms but as the books of Psalms develops particularly after the return from exile and captivity in Babylon God’s anointed king is the Promised Messiah who is the Lord Jesus Christ and the book of Psalms moves to look forward to his coming to the nation of Israel and the world.

This opposition and the many problems and difficulties of living in a sinful fallen world cause great pain and stress for David and his faithful followers just as it did for Jesus and those who follow him which includes us today.

Many of the Psalms are called “Laments” and a lament has been described as,

“Apassionate expression of grief or sorrow” (Google dictionary)

These Lament Psalms often end up on a high note of praise as the Psalmist realises that even in times of trial, sorrow, tears, pain, temptation, sickness, bereavement and persecution God is there with him helping him, saving him and comforting him as he walks the road or lives the life God has called him to walk or live.

I read these words in my NIV bible study notes that perfectly puts this Psalm 150 in the context of the entire book of Psalms,

“As the wise faithful person’s life draws to an end, he or she realizes clearly that God’s road is the right road. Knowing this will cause us to praise God for leading us in the right direction and for assuring our place in the perfect world God has in store for those who have faithfully followed him”.

 Thirteen times the writer of Psalm 150 use the ultimate term for praise of the God of the Bible, “Hallelujah” or “Praise to Yahweh” which our NIV bible translates as “Praise the Lord”. This final Psalm then answers four important questions concerning Praising Yahweh:

  1. Where should we praise God?
  2. Why should we praise God?
  3. How should we praise God?
  4. Who should praise God?

My answer to these four questions form four headings for this Psalm and I will endeavour to flesh out my answer to these four important questions with what this Psalm says, what others Psalms say, what other parts of the Old Testament says and finally what the New Testament says.

My prayer is that after you have read this Psalm talk God will have helped to equip you to walk his wonderful road of praise.

  1. (vs. 1)   WHERE SHOULD WE PRAISE GOD
  1. (vs. 1a) Praise God on the earth
  2. (vs. 1b) Praise God in heaven

      2     (vs. 2)   WHY SHOULD WE PRAISE GOD

  1. (vs. 2a) Praise God for his acts of power
  2. (vs. 2b) Praise God for his surpassing greatness

      3     (3 – 5)   HOW SHOULD WE PRAISE GOD

  1. (vs. 3) Praise God with triumphant music
  2. (vs. 4) Praise God with joyful dancing and music
  3. (vs. 5) Praise God with powerful and mighty music

      4    (vs. 6)   WHO SHOULD PRAISE GOD

  1. (vs. 6a) Praise God everything that has breath
  2. (vs. 6b) The final “Hallelujah”

 Let’s then have a closer look at this Psalm as it answers the four important questions on praising God which is walking the road of praise.

  1. (vs. 1)   WHERE SHOULD WE PRAISE GOD
  1. (vs. 1a) Praise God on the earth

As each of the past four Psalms have done this last Psalm in the book of Psalm begins and ends with the main Hebrew term for “Praise God”, “Hallelujah” which of course means “Praise Yahweh” and “Yahweh” is the wonderful covenant name for God so revered by the ancient Hebrews they never wrote the actual vows of the Hebrew word just the consonants and in English “Yahweh” would look like “YHWH” but most biblical scholars agree it was probably pronounced “Yahweh” with the possible missing vows.

The reason the vows were never written down was because “Yahweh” was such a sacred holy name for God and this is believed to be a reason why the second book of Psalms was put together. In the second book of Psalms the sacred name “Yahweh” was generally replaced by the general biblical name for God “Elohim” so that non – priestly Hebrews could say out loud the name of God in their prayers and worship songs outside of the Temple.

However, as the history of Israel developed “Yahweh” and particularly “Praise Yahweh” or “Hallelujah” became popular particularly in the prayers and worship songs of Israel.

Then the writer of Psalm 150 gives us the place this praise of “Yahweh” should take place and for me it covers the full road to God which I call the road of praise because we are, according to verse 1 to praise God in:

  1. The Earth (the Sanctuary)
  2. In Heaven

In this part I will seek to explain what the writer of the Psalm is actually saying when he writes:

“Praise God in his sanctuary”

 This term “The Sanctuary” crops up over and over again in the book of Psalms and is the term most used in the book of Psalms for the earthly dwelling place of God which is of course is also known as The Temple.

In the early Psalms of books 1 and 2 “The Sanctuary” was literally for David “The Tent of Meeting” which was used from Moses to Solomon in Israel before the Temple was built as we read in Psalm 15: 1,

“Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain”.

 The concept of God dwelling in the Sanctuary or later Temple was because of The Ark of the Covenant was placed in it and it symbolised God’s covenant agreement with his people which Ezekiel explains so well in Ezekiel 37: 26 – 28,

“I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. 27 My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 28 Then the nations will know that I the Lord make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.’”

 So, in the terms of Psalm 150 to praise God in his sanctuary is to praise God on earth particularly at the chosen place of worship and praise his Temple the place the Ark of the covenant dwelt.

This Old Testament place of worship remained as it was for centuries unto the coming of the Messiah who is the Lord Jesus Christ and it is very significant that at the very moment of his death on the cross, Matthew tells us in Matthew 27: 51,

“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split”.

 No more would God have to be approached in worship by way of the Sanctuary and the Ark of Covenant cut off from everyone by a curtain behind which only the High priest could offer animal sacrificial blood but through the perfect sacrificial blood of Jesus we can approach God in praise and worship directly as the writer to the Hebrews speaks of in the New Testament book of Hebrews in chapter 9 verse 14 says,

“How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death,so that we may serve the living God!”

This praise on earth to the great “Yahweh” God is described this way by the writer to the Hebrews in Hebrews 13: 15,

“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name”.

 The road of praise then for the Christian is the way of Jesus who made for us the way to God as Jesus spells out in John 14: 6,

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”.

 The Temple sat on the large hill in Jerusalem called Mount Zion that is spoken about over and over again in the book of Psalms but in the New Testament Mount Zion becomes the symbol for God’s new dwelling place on earth the Church of God spoken about so clearly in Hebrews 12: 22 – 23,

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect”.

 Note how this church of the firstborn are spoken of as being those who names are in heaven which means to me we are not on the road of praise that leads to a dead end but this way or road Jesus has made for us leads to the Church of God gathered in heaven with the Angels for all eternity.

   2.   (vs. 1b) Praise God in heaven

 So, as we have just seen this road of praise leads us to heaven the place of heavenly praise joined with the angels called the “angels in joyful assembly” in Hebrews 12: 22. Now in Psalm 150 the writer says,

“Praise him in his mighty heavens”.

 Most commentators speak of the term “his mighty heavens” as literally “His mighty firmament” which is the vast extent of earth, the universe and heaven as well. Here in this vast firmament we see the wonders of this world, the universe, stars and heavenly bodies and the wonders of heaven itself. This reminds me of words I read and studied in Psalm 103: 20 – 22,

“Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding,who obey his word.21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,you his servants who do his will.22 Praise the Lord, all his workseverywhere in his dominion Praise the Lord, my soul”.

 In the previous term, the praise of God on earth this term is used for praising God in the sanctuary but according to Revelation 21: 22 – 27 at the end of the road of praise there is no temple or sanctuary because we will be with the Lord Jesus in the splendour of heaven.

 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendour into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honour of the nations will be brought into it.

 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life”.

So, on earth we are to praise and worship God particularly as we gather as the church of God and of course in heaven we are to praise God along with all the heavenly hosts and all of those who have walked the road of praise to get there.

      2     (vs. 2)   WHY SHOULD WE PRAISE GOD

  1. (vs. 2a) Praise God for his acts of power

Our writer of Psalm 150 then tells us two reasons why we should praise God and the first is stated this way:

“Praise him for he acts of power”

 All through the book of Psalms and indeed the Old and New Testaments the God of the bible is not a God who made the world and then left it to fend for itself, no he is a God who acts continually out of love for his creation and particularly for his faithful followers as David expresses so well in Psalm 57: 3,

“He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me – God sends forth his love and his faithfulness”.

 And in verses 9 and 10 of that same Psalm David declares,

“I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples.10 For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies”.

 David knew the great God who saves with his mighty acts of love and many Psalms speak of God’s powerful acts of salvation in how he brought his people out of the slavery of Egypt as we read in Psalm 106: 7 – 12,

“When our ancestors were in Egypt, they gave no thought to your miracles;they did not remember your many kindnesses,and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea.  Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, to make his mighty power known.He rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up; he led them through the depths as through a desert.10 He saved them from the hand of the foe; from the hand of the enemy he redeemed them.11 The waters covered their adversaries; not one of them survived.12 Then they believed his promisesand sang his praise”.

 Note how Israel so easily forgot God’s acts of power and wandered from the road of praise but God continued to show his love for them bringing them back sometimes even through great pain and difficulty to a place of security and hope on the road of praise.

In the New Testament Paul reminds the Ephesian church of God’s mighty acts of salvation and power in the Lord Jesus Christ in these words in Ephesians 1: 18 – 21,

“ I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come”.

 Paul goes on in chapter 2 of Ephesians to explain that this act of mighty salvation power was an act of grace by God for us and grace simply means love we don’t deserve.

God’s love saves us from our state of death in our many transgressions to be able to sit with Christ in the heavenly realms, the end of the road of praise, verses 4 – 7,

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus”. 

  1. (vs. 2b) Praise God for his surpassing greatness

The second reason why we should and indeed must praise God is expressed this way in the second half of verse 2,

“Praise him for his surprising greatness”

 This phrase has been translated by an old commentator named Trapp as,

“Greatness of greatness”

 It is not enough to praise God for his acts of powerful and loving salvation for we should also praise him for who he actually is, The Great God of heaven and earth which the book of Psalms continually uplifts as the one great God of all our praise that should be praised because of who he is as we read in Psalm 96: 4 – 6,

“For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;he is to be feared above all gods.For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens.Splendour and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary”.

 Mathew Henry commenting on the concept of praising God’s surprising greatness writes this,

“Not that our praises can bear any proportion to God’s greatness, for it is infinite, but, since he is greater than we can express or conceive, we must raise our conceptions and expressions to the highest degree we can attain to”.

 In Philippians 2 Paul speaks of the humility and love of Christ in his act of the great rescue mission he performed in becoming human and even the form of a servant descending from highest heaven to die on the cross like a common criminal. However, that was not the end of it because we read these words in verses 9 – 11,

“Therefore, God exalted him to the highest placeand gave him the name that is above every name,10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”.

 At the end of the road of this world will be according to verse 11 a great universal praise of the greatness of The Lord Jesus Christ, a praise that some will do in what Jesus calls,

“Weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13: 42)

For they will be those who chose the road of rebellion to the rule of Christ but for those who followed the road of praise they will join with the angels in great and glorious praise of Jesus as he sits on the throne in heaven surrounded by all his faithful followers both human and angelic as we read in Revelation 7: 9 – 12,

“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:“Salvation belongs to our God,who sits on the throne,and to the Lamb.”11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying:“Amen!Praise and gloryand wisdom and thanks and honourand power and strengthbe to our God for ever and ever.Amen!”

      3     (3 – 5)   HOW SHOULD WE PRAISE GOD

  1. (vs. 3) Praise God with triumphant music

The Psalm then moves into three verses that express something of how we should praise God Allan Harman points out that the writer of this Psalm uses double phrases that gives us the feeling of movement to a dramatic climax.

The problem for us today is to get a sense of both what Old Testament worship music was like and what the sound of these ancient instruments would both convey and even emote. To say that the music of the Old Testament was used to cause effect on the worshippers emotions sounds very controversial today but the problem is what we have in the bible accounts of worship and its music points to an atmosphere of often loud and highly emotional moving praise.

Is the stirring up of emotions wrong or even sinful?

First of all, the bible seems to present the idea that there are good or Godly emotions like loving others and God, peace and of course joy. However, there are wrong or sinful emotional behaviour like hate, pride or even sinful sexual lust.

To me those who have journeyed down the path of giving up all music in worship because it stirs up sinful emotions and detracts from the message of the bible are suffering from what is known as throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

I like this comment I read in my NIV bible on some of the verses in Psalm 89,

“Music and worship go hand in hand. Worship should involve the whole person, and music helps lift a person’s thoughts and emotions to God”.

These three verses of Psalm 150 as I now understand them instruct us to both use God honouring, praising music that stir God honouring emotions that all true worship should have.

The first verse here, verse 3 which says,

“Praise him with the sounding of trumpets, praise him with harp and lyre”.

 Many Old Testament references like Leviticus 25: 8 – 9, show how the trumpet was used in ancient Israel as a loud triumphant instrument.  Or as we read in Psalm 81: 3 – 5, the sounding of the rams horn another form of Old Testament trumpet was commended for the worship at the “New Moon” festival. The trumpet or horn was also used in battle as we see in Joshua 6: 8 and many other places in the Old Testament. I’m sure the blowing of those trumpets as Israel’s army marched around Jericho would have stirred the emotions of the people living behind the walls of Jericho. It was a kind of victory march before victory was even secured.

In the book of Revelation, the trumpet is used in heaven as a loud triumphant instrument of worship and praise as we read in Revelation 11: 15,

“The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:

“The kingdom of the world has becomethe kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah,and he will reign for ever and ever.”

 Verse 3 also speaks of the use of the harp and lyre and a lyre is an ancient form of a modern guitar. David was a great harp player and both harp and lyre would allow the player to be able to sing as they played as we read David did in many references in the Old Testament. Psalm 71: 22 speaks of praising God by singing while playing the harp and lyre,

“I will praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, my God;I will sing praise to you with the lyre,Holy One of Israel”.

 In the New Testament, the use of the harp as an instrument of triumph and praise with singing is again in Revelation 14: 1 – 3,

“Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth”.

 The 144,000 is the symbolic number in the book of revelation for the large and complete number of true believers in heaven. If John was anti – musical instrument in the New Testament church he would have had a big problem with this teaching seeing and hearing lots of musical instruments played in heaven. Also, to recognise the sound of harps playing John must have been familiar with how that instruments sounded.

So, on my road of praise the use of music has been for me a major way I have both privately and corporately praised God. I don’t play a harp or lyre but a Ukulele and I love joining with other musicians and singers to help lead congregations of God’s faithful followers in triumphant stirring praise of the God of the bible.

  1. (vs. 4) Praise God with joyful dancing and music

The next set of instruments would have had a different type of tone and dancing is included here giving us more a sense of joy in our corporate worship, verse 4,

“Praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with strings and pipe.”

 I think this Psalm would cause problems for some Christians who have a heavy emphasis on no musical accompaniment and now the mention of dancing in worship.

I remember growing up in a conservative evangelical church in the 1960’s and being blasted for dancing in the parish church hall one Friday night at a youth fellowship meeting as we played music on a record player. I was caught jigging around with other young people to the music. I have never been a great dancer but even then, I could not see why our minister was so anti – dancing. I did not know then that dancing in worship is spoken of in the Old Testament.

The interesting thing I discovered from my study of dancing and timbrel playing (an ancient version of a Tambourine) in Psalm 149 verse 3 is that whenever these two things are mentioned together in other parts of the Old Testament it is women who are doing it like Exodus 15: 20,

“Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women followed her, with timbrels and dancing”.

 The previous verses set of instruments were usually played by Levite’s as are the cymbals in the next verse but here we have instruments played by Old Testament lay people. Which means the Old Testament worship orchestra was a combination of priestly men and lay men and women pointing to an activity God has ordained as something for all people to do in praising and worshipping him.

The note of joy in worship features in another famous worship Psalm, Psalm 100 verses 1 and 2,

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.Worship the Lord with gladness;come before him with joyful songs”.

 I remember a man coming up to me after a church service I was helping to lead the singing at saying to me he was tone deaf and was a lousy singer but he still joined in singing the songs I was leading because he said the bible says, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord not a tuneful one”. I’m sure it would not be advisable for a person like that to be out the front leading the congregation in singing but as part of the larger body of Christ his voice would be welcomed by the Lord if he sang with true joy and faith.

The pipe mentioned here is said to be associated with common people like shepherds Judges 5: 16 and common people in general praising God with joy and rejoicing, 1 Kings 1: 40,

 “And all the people went up after him, playing pipes and rejoicing greatly, so that the ground shook with the sound”.

 Twice Paul encourages the church to engage in making music to the Lord and I think he strikes the note of joy and rejoicing in his words in Colossians 3: 15 – 17,

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him”.

 The anti-musical accompaniment Christians would argue that Paul does not mention here or anywhere musical instruments and therefore he banned them from the New Testament church. However, I feel this is a dangerous way of building a teaching in the church on the basis of silence or no mention of something.

I’m sure if Paul believed for some reason or another the New Testament church should not use musical instruments in worship he would have given a direct instruction on this and there is no instruction in the New Testament to say that musical instruments are not to be used in church worship.

Personally, I would have no trouble worshipping in a church that has no musical instrument accompaniment as I have been involved on many occasions with groups of singers in church singing my tenor parts for four part harmonies in what is called A Cappella style in fact they would probably would want me to come every week because I have a real God given gift in singing this style of music.

I think these Christians will have a real problem when they get to heaven because there the joy and rejoicing in worship is certainly accompanied by musical instruments, Revelation 15: 2 – 4,

“And I saw what looked like a sea of glass glowing with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and its image and over the number of its name. They held harps given them by God and sang the song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb: “Great and marvellous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are

your ways, King of the nations, Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name?
For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

 Please note who gave these worshipping people in heaven the harps to play the musical accompaniment, non- other than God himself.

  1. (vs. 5) Praise God with powerful and mighty music

 As I said in my introduction to this third section of this Psalm Allan Harman points out that this Psalm uses double phrases that gives us the feeling of movement to a dramatic climax and verse 5 is that climax,

“Praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals”.

 I am not a great fan of percussion instruments but recently I was part of a group of performers that played a variety of instruments and I stood next to a bongo player with a large bongo set of drums and next to her was a drummer with a full set of drums which also feature modern forms of cymbals. Let me tell you those two talented musicians could really make some mighty sounds and added to the over-all powerful performance our group made that night.

Cymbals in the bible are always spoken of as playing with other instruments by the Levites and it has been suggested that they were used for music for processions as well as Temple staged performances. There are many Old Testament descriptions of these worship orchestra’s but I like the one in 2 Chronicles 5: 13 – 14, and how it mentions cymbals as an accompaniment instrument,

“The trumpeters and musicians joined in unison to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang:“He is good; his love endures forever.”Then the temple of the Lord was filled with the cloud, 14 and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God”.

 Even though Psalm 150 does not mention directly singers as well as musicians playing their instruments as part of the praise and worship of the Lord it is implied especially when we get to the last verse of this Psalm.

The cymbals then speak to me of how our praise of God through music is to be both mighty and powerful.

However, loud music without any connection to the word of God or if it is again loud but is only a performance of the talented people making that music then it is not what I would call a mighty and powerful praise of God.

The only New Testament reference I could find on cymbals is 1 Corinthians 13: 1 and this is a very telling verse for any act of service or worship that is not done out of love for God and others,

“If I speak in the tonguesof men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal”.

 There are many churches today who are known for their often loud, lively and modern music and I am not one who says this is wrong but even traditional forms of worship can fall into the same trap of it being just a musical event rather than an act of loving powerful and mighty praise for God.

The question to ask about any act of worship is,

Is this worship God centred and God honouring?

When Paul speaks of the use of music in worship to two different churches, Colossi and Ephesus he closes that instruction of singing Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with a direction to do this honouring and praising God,

Ephesians 5: 20,

“Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ”.

 And Colossians 3: 17,

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him”.

 As one of the leaders of the musical part of worship in my home church I must always keep these words of Paul in my mind making sure we are making we are not just making beautiful music but we are doing this as an act of mighty and powerful praise of the God it should be

directed to.

      4    (vs. 6)   WHO SHOULD PRAISE GOD

  1. (vs. 6a) Praise God everything that has breath

We come then to the last verse on our journey of praise not only through Psalm 150 but for me the entire book of Psalms which I have been studying now for ten years. This verse makes it clear who is to give this triumphant, joyful and powerful praise to God,

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord”

 So, even though we have just had three verses that speak of musical instruments being used to praise God now we have a verse that directs the voices of creation to give praise to God. As I inferred in my comments on verse 5, if the human heart offering praise and worship to God is not inspired and directed to and by the love of God then as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13: 1, without love,

“We are only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal”.

I really like Albert Barnes comments on verse 6 of Psalm 150 when he writes,

“Let his praises be celebrated not only with instruments of music, but let all living beings unite in that praise; let a breathing universe combine in one solemn service of praise”.

 Which reminds me of what the Apostle John wrote in Revelation 5: 13,

“Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honour and glory and power,for ever and ever!”

 This is a fitting end to this Psalm and indeed the entire book of Psalms. In this life if we are going God’s way we are travelling down what I have been calling a road of praise and this is because life itself is probably the greatest gift of God and that gift alone deserves our thanks and praise not only with our lips but also with our very lives.

As Christians, we should praise God not only for the breath of life God gives us in physical life but also for the breath of God’s Holy Spirit that gives us new life in Christ. As Paul speaks of in Romans 8: 10,

“But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness”.

This points again to the love or grace of God which is also called “The Mercy of God” particularly in the book of Psalms and Paul declares in Romans 12: 1 that our praise and worship of God should be inspired and driven by this mercy of God,

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship”.

 This verse also tells us that the road of praise or the life of praise and worship is not just the corporate gathering we call a church service where we gather with others to sing and speak the praises of God together but is a life of what Paul calls sacrificial service and he then says,

“This is your true and proper worship”.

 We must always keep in mind that every breathe we breath is a gift of God just as any spiritual knowledge, talent, opportunity or blessing is also a gift of God and so we come the full circle of the book of Psalms with the first two verses of the first Psalm says,

“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wickedor stand in the way that sinners takeor sit in the company of mockers,but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,

 and who meditates on his Law Day and night”.

 The road of praise is the life of praise that day and night is centred on the word of God and the great God that word speaks of.

Note also it is a blessed road for those that do not walk the way of those who refuse to acknowledge God and go his way. These two roads or ways of life are summed up in the final verse of Psalm 1 that simply says,

“For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction”. 

  1. (vs. 6b) The final “Hallelujah”

The final word of the entire book of Psalms is the distinctive favourite expression of praise so prominent in the book of Psalms that the ancient Hebrews called their book of prayers and songs, Psalms or “Praises” which is what Psalms means in the Hebrew language. That expression is of course,

“Hallelujah”

 Or as our English translations translate it,

“Praise the Lord”

 This phrase should not only sum up the book of Psalms but our lives for even if we should face on the road of praise a time of sickness, pain, persecution, depression and even death we know from the word of God that he is with us helping us to cope and leading us through to the eternal home of praise, heaven itself and that should always lead us to say,

“Hallelujah”

I close as usual with an original poem / song and prayer for the final time in these Psalm Talks.

THE ROAD OF PRAISE

(Based on Psalm 150 and the entire book of Psalms)

 

I’m travelling on a road of praise

To a mighty God whose been with all my days

And I will praise him in his church on earth

And I will praise him in heaven where I’ll be hence forth.

 

I’m travelling on a road of praise

A road that God made by his loving powerful ways

And I will praise him for his surpassing greatness

For the road of praise is the life of thankfulness.

 

Refrain:

 

Praise the Lord with your trumpet and guitar

Make music to the Lord with all that you are.

 

I’m dancing on the road of praise

To the beat of the drum of God’s blessings all my days

And I will praise him with the music God’s Son gave us

When he won our forgiveness by his death on the cross.

 

Come join me now on the road of praise

And praise him with every breath you have all your days

For every creature that breaths owes its breath to God

So, a life of praise must be the road we trod.

 

Refrain:

 

Praise the Lord with your trumpet and guitar

Make music to the Lord with all that you are.

 

By: Jim Wenman

 

PRAYER:

 I thank you Father in heaven for all you have done for me, providing me with the breath of life and the new spiritual life through the breath of your Holy Spirit. I thank you for your Son who made the way for me to go in life to heaven by his death on the cross. I praise you Lord with my music, my life and my all for your great love that made all this possible for me and many others, in Jesus name I pray, Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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