Summary: Psalm 150 answers four basic questions about praise: where, why, how and who.
The predominant note in the book of Psalms is praise. In one form or another, the word "praise" appears in the book of Psalms 164 times, 13 times in our text for today. Each of the five books into which the Psalms has been divided ends with a doxology of praise (41:13; 72:19-20; 89:52; 106:48; 150:6). In fact, the name of the book means "songs of praise." Therefore, if we are to learn the language of faith we must learn how to praise. Psalm 150 will help us do that.
Before we look at our text, I want to offer some preliminary conclusions.
as the introduction and conclusion to the entire book. In so doing, the editors affirmed that the individual whose "delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates day and night" (Ps. 1:2) will eventually praise God "for his acts of power" and "for his surpassing greatness" (Ps. 150:2).
Conversely, if there is no doxology, there probably is no theology.
Second, praise is only one word in the language of faith; it is not the entire vocabulary.
I am told there are 400,000 words in the English language. How impoverished our communication would be if we only used one of the 400,000 words in our conversation. Likewise, there are many words in the language of faith. Our communication with God and about God would be impoverished if we only used the word praise. If you study the Psalms you can learn the other words in the language of faith.
Third, praise is not a denial of reality but a declaration of reality.
For some, the invitation to praise might seem like a mockery in light of the circumstances of our lives. We might protest, "Based on the reality of our lives, we have nothing to praise God for."
Praise does not deny the reality of our circumstances. Praise grows out of the recognition that there is a reality broader than our circumstances, a reality which provides the context for understanding our circumstances, and that reality is God, the God who created our world and who controls it.
More than anything else, I want us to understand this insight about praise.
Praise is a response to the person of God and therefore ought to be a predominant note in the life of every person of faith.
Remember those three preliminary conclusions as we focus our attention on the first word in the vocabulary of faith: PRAISE.
The psalmist answers four basic questions about praise.
Where? Psalm 150:1
The first question is "where?" Where should we praise God? In answer to that question, the psalmist declared: "Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty expanse (heavens)."
Praise is to be a part of our weekly worship when we are in the sanctuary. If we do not recognize and articulate our conviction that God is a great God and worthy of being praised, we have not truly worshipped. Praise is at the heart of worship.
However, praise is also to be a part of our daily walk when we are in the world.
In other words, praise is not to be an occasional action. Instead, it is to be a way of life. Every place we go, in everything we do, every day we live, we are to praise God.
Why should we praise God? The psalmist answered that second question in verse 2: "Praise Him for His mighty deeds; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness."
Claus Westermann, a leading scholar on the book of Psalms, divides the praise psalms into two categories: declarative psalms of praise and descriptive psalms of praise. Declarative psalms declare a specific activity of God for which we should be thankful. Descriptive psalms describe a specific attribute of God for which we should be thankful. Both of these are reflected in verse 2.
We should praise God because of what He has done.
When the Psalmist referred to "His mighty deeds" he was including in that statement all that God has done in creation, in the history of Israel, and in the individual lives of His people.
These "mighty deeds" or "acts of power" are spelled out in some of the other psalms. In Psalm 8 where praise is a response to God