Summary: A call to universal and personal praise.
A SYMPHONY OF PRAISE
The young man whose turn it was to lead worship stood up in front of the whole assembled Bible College. ‘I cannot think of any reason to praise the LORD,’ he announced. With that, he sat down again, hidden from sight behind the pulpit.
There was an awkward silence – a silence which seemed to be going on rather too long. People began to fidget, not quite knowing how to react. The Principal, who was sitting in the congregation two rows in front of me, began to move in his seat, and looked as if he might be about to intervene.
Just at that moment, the young man bobbed up from behind the pulpit, and in a bright and chirpy voice announced, ‘We thank the LORD that it is not like that at all.’ I cannot remember anything else about that young man’s message, but I am sure I shared in a huge sigh of relief.
1. Why do we praise the LORD?
Yet this is enough. The idea of the LORD’s “might” or “power” (the same word occurs at the end of Psalm 150:1) speaks of His kingship (cf. Psalm 24:8). Praise the LORD, not on account of how we may feel at any given moment in time, but simply because He is worthy to be praised.
Revelation 4:11 brings this worthiness into line also with the LORD’s mighty acts of creation. In the context, this no doubt includes the New Creation. That in turn includes our salvation.
The LORD’s mighty acts include the Incarnation, the Cross of Jesus, the Resurrection of Jesus, and our salvation. They include the coming of the Holy Ghost, the establishment of the Church, and the propagation of the Gospel. They include the coming again of Jesus, and the winding up of the ages.
There is reason enough to praise the LORD in this one clause, “mighty acts” - yet there is more. There is His “excellent (surpassing) greatness” (Psalm 150:2).
Quite apart from His acts, we should praise the LORD simply because of who He is: ‘the LORD the highest: a great King over all the earth’ (Psalm 47:2).
2. Where do we praise God?
In His sanctuary (Psalm 150:1). This was first in the Tabernacle, and then in the Temple. Then there was the miracle of Jesus: ‘the Word became flesh, and dwelt (pitched His tent) among us’ (John 1:14). This reaches its culmination in the new creation, when ‘the tabernacle of God is with men’ (Revelation 21:3).
Meanwhile the sanctuary is no longer confined to any one place, but ‘those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth’ (John 4:24).
As the worshippers gathered for worship in the courts of the Temple in Jerusalem, they could look up to the sky and proclaim: “Praise Him in the mighty firmament” (Psalm 150:1). The sun, moon and stars, are not objects for worship, but witnesses to the LORD (Psalm 19:1).
3. How do we praise?
In a word, exuberantly (Psalm 150:3-5).
For King David this included at least a band, if not a full orchestra (1 Chronicles 13:8). Furthermore, despite his wife’s reservations (1 Chronicles 15:28-29), this included ‘tambourines and dancing’ (cf. Exodus 15:20).
In other words, ‘Praise Him with your whole being’ (cf. Psalm 86:12).
4. Who is to praise?
Praise is congregational (Exodus 15:1).
It is also personal (Psalm 103:1).
It is also to be universal (Psalm 150:6).