June 14, 2015 | David Crosby
Passage: Psalms 150:1-6
Last week I talked briefly about the mandate we have from God to give him praise. Here the command is explicit.
This psalm is the resounding and climactic conclusion to the Book of Psalms. It is the final hallelujah. Perhaps it was even written for that purpose, to bring the book of poetry to its proper conclusion.
This psalm anticipates the presence of God’s people in a gathering of worship. It anticipates the presence of musical instruments such as we have here on our stage. It anticipates the choir gathered to lead in song.
It is a call to praise for everyone, everywhere, in every time, in every way.
The psalm suggests a scene of corporate worship, that the congregation is gathered together to give God praise. The sanctuary is mentioned in the second phrase. The musical instruments are recounted in the middle.
Personalize Your Praise: "Praise the Lord."
- Parentheses. As with Psalm 8 this Psalm begins and ends with the same phrase: Praise the Lord. It the the Hebrew Hallelu Yah. The Yah is the shortened form of Yahweh.
- Second Person. The Hallel is the standard word for praise in the second person. “You” is understood just as it is in English. “Praise the Lord” means “You praise the Lord.” The subject is understood in both English and Hebrew because of the form of the verb.
- Imperative Mood. The phrase is also in the imperative mood. It is a command, not an observation or a suggestion. The worshiping community of the Hebrews gathered to read or sing this psalm, and they all felt the obligation to join in the saying or singing of it.
- Praise has got to be personal. Someone else cannot do it for you. It is an offering you bring to God.
- It's not like your money, although you can praise God with your money.
- The offering of praise has to come right out of your heart. If it is faked or forced, it is not praise. By definition, praise must be willing.
- The offering of praise is tied to your love for God. You are not always happy when you come to your loved ones. That is okay. You are not always at peace. But you come anyway because they are the ones you love.
Socialize Your Praise: "Praise God in his sanctuary."
- There is a sanctuary on the Temple Mount. It is the center of the social and religious life of ancient Israel. It represents their solidarity as the people of God. It is a symbol of the covenant God made with them. It is a statement of their corporate identity.
- They go to this building, this house of worship, regularly, every week, to give God praise together. This strengthens their resolve, to see each other at the house of worship. It strengthens their friendship, their love, and their faith.
- Here they raise their voices together. The sound swells louder than any single voice could speak or sing. They are able to add their individuality, their personality, to the corporate praise. They sing bass or alto or tenor as some sing lead. Each note that is added as harmony enriches the praise, increases the volume, and makes it all more beautiful.
- The social aspect of praise is powerful in every individual life.
Magnify Your Praise: "Praise God in his mighty heavens."
- Geographically--so that praise belongs in every space in your life. You magnify praise to God by bringing praise to every room in your house, every space in your life.
- Chronologically--so that praise belongs in every second of your life. There is no time in your life when you are bereft of praise.
- Geometrically--Raise the Praise. The heavens are as high as we can think. They stretch the mind to its outer limits. You make your praise celestial by transporting your mind to the outer limits of your consciousness, of all that you know, and praising God on the margins of your soul as well as in the center.
- Your praise is appropriate when it is very small, touching the tiniest part of your life, your inner being. You are grateful that someone gave you a call or flashed you a smile or spoke a word to you. And you are thanking God for sending that two-second message to your heart.
- Your praise is appropriate when it is on the grandest scale, when it is elevated to the highest place.
- All of these times and all of these spaces belong to God. They are His mighty heavens.
- Literally, “Praise God in the expanse of his power.” So, praise God in the expanse that displays or symbolizes his power or in which his power reigns.
- This phrase points out the truth that the all the heavens and earth belong to God, that they are literally His Sanctuary.
Diversify Your Praise: "Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness" (v2).
- Thank God for his works of power in history and in your life.
- Historical acts of power are always to be celebrated.
- Personal experiences of the power of God as well.
- Thank God for the perfection of His being: his character, his surpassing greatness.
- It surpasses human language, human comprehension.
- It surpasses all that we can imagine or conceive.
- His greatness is beyond any human position or achievement.
- God is alone in his majesty.
Vocalize Your Praise
- Turn your praise into sound waves.
- God wants to hear it. God knows everything. He already knows how deeply grateful you are. He already understands better than you do the condition of your heart toward him. but, he still wants to hear it from you. Your vocalization of praise, your formulation of the words, your creation of the song, these things in themselves are praise to him.
- You need to hear it.
- Those around you need to hear it.
- Your friends, your spouse, your children
- The strangers next to you in your pew
- ***Dr. Chuck Kelley and I will never get a Grammy Award for our vocalizations. That’s for sure. Does that prevent either one of us from opening our mouths and singing God’s praises? Not on your life. We do so from the bottom of our hearts.
- You can do this with your mouth or with your instruments, according to this psalm. You can praise him by blowing your breath into a trumpet or strumming the strings of your guitar, striking the keys on your keyboard, or tapping the cymbals on your drumset.
Intensify Your Praise: "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord." (v6).
- Some of you are picking up the pace in your exercise routine.
- ***A friend of mine came to the door this week covered with sweat. He had been on the exercise machine, hitting it hard, and he was breathless. He had a band on his arm monitoring his heartbeat. He wanted to get that heartbeat into the right range.
- Go cardio with your praise. Physically, get up your heartbeat. That is a sign that your body is doing what your mind says to do. The way you express yourself is through your sounds and your motions, audio and video.
- Get up your heart rate. Use your strength that God supplies to give him the honor and praise due his name. Everybody in this room knows this is good for you.
- ***My father told me when he was a couple of months from dying that he had given up singing. He could still preach, he said. But singing took too much out of him. He just did not have the strength of heart anymore to sing. While you still can, use your heart muscle to give God praise.
- Use your breath, your lung capacity, to lift the praise to him. It will leave you breathless, praising God.
- Use your time on this earth, in this mortal body, to give him praise. “God breathed into him the breath of life, and man became a living soul.” One day that breath will be gone. You will not be able to give him praise with the breath that he gives you every day.