Heavenly Father, you have given me so much. I only asked for one thing – grant me a heart of praise.
Read PSALM 150
1 Praise the Lord.[a]
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
2 Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
4 praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,
5 praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.
- Psalm 150:1 Hebrew Hallelu Yah; also in verse 6
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘Sing joyfully to the Lord.’1
Praise God for psalms of praise! Sometimes our circumstances or state of mind make it hard to turn our hearts to praise: this psalm, composed like all psalms for use in contexts of corporate worship, enables us to praise God regardless. Like the four psalms before it, Psalm 150 starts and ends with the exhortation to worship, ‘Hallelujah!’ (translated ‘Praise the Lord’), and every line in between contains the word ‘praise’. It is fitting that the psalter ends in this way: at the end of all things, what is left but praising God for ever?
The psalm itself is unusual in that it contains only one mention of a reason for praising God – his ‘acts of power’ (v 2). Otherwise, it simply keeps urging praise, praise, praise! Do you find it hard to praise God simply for his own sake, not for the things he gives us? When we seek simply to praise God continually for who he is, we can run out of human words. So the worship represented in this psalm, like that in many cultures then and since, found expression in musical instruments and dancing too.2 The picture is of tremendous noise and exuberance. Is your experience of worship as effusive? If not, how might you seek to praise God more abundantly?
In Jewish understanding, the ‘sanctuary’ where God is to be praised (v 1) was not merely a functional place to gather for worship, but where God was understood to dwell on earth.3 As Christians, we know that God’s dwelling is with us through his Holy Spirit. Wherever we gather, it is appropriate and right that we give voice to our praise. Let our vision be grand – one in which the whole earth, ‘everything that has breath’ (v 6), praises the Lord.
Praise God! Use the words of this psalm, over and over. If you are able, stand and use your arms and body. Sing the words if you like.
On this Lord’s Day, I join with all peoples in all places, who rejoice and give thankful praise to you.
1 Ps 33:1 2 Nancy deClaissé-Walford, Book of Psalms, Eerdmans, 2014, p1009–1010 3 deClaissé-Walford, Psalms, p1009