Psalm 148 (NRSV)
Praise for God’s Universal Glory
Psalm 148 calls upon all creation to praise Yahweh. “What a wonderful song this is! Look over it again, and note the fact that there is no reference in it, from first to last, to the mercy, or pity, or compassion of God. But that is because there is no reference to evil in any form.”
–G. Campbell Morgan
This call to all creation to praise Yahweh was not an empty wish. Revelation 5:11-13 tells us specifically that it will be fulfilled.:
Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice,
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
To receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!”
And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying,
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”
“O what a hymn of praise is here! It is a universal chorus! All created nature have a share, and all perform their respective parts.”
Heartfelt praise from the lesser to the greater. The Psalmist leaves no doubt that God is God, above all creation including the world (seen and unseen), plants, creatures, and humankind.
1 Praise the Lord!
Psalm 148 begins and ends with hallelujah, which is both an exclamation of praise to Yahweh and an encouragement to praise Him.
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
Psalm 19 told us that the heavens declare the glory of God by their very nature and being. Here the Psalmist speaks to the heavens that they continue this praise.
2 Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his host!
3 Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars!
4 Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!
5 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for he commanded and they were created.
6 He established them forever and ever;
he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.
We, in this dark and sinful world, know little of the heavenly world of light. But we know that there is above us a world of blessed angels. They are always praising God, therefore the psalmist shows his desire that God may be praised in the best manner; also we show that we have communion with spirits above, who are still praising him. The heavens, with all contained in them, declare the glory of God. They call on us, that both by word and deed, we glorify with them the Creator and Redeemer of the universe.
7 Praise the Lord from the earth,
The first part of Psalm 148 called upon things in the heavens to give praise to Yahweh. Earth should also not fail to give its praise to God, and all the earth should join in this praise.
you sea monsters and all deeps,
8 fire and hail, snow and frost,
stormy wind fulfilling his command!
9 Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars!
10 Wild animals and all cattle,
creeping things and flying birds!
11 Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the earth!
12 Young men and women alike,
old and young together!
“The young man’s strong bass, the maiden’s clear alto, the old man’s quavering notes, the child’s fresh treble, should blend in the song.”
It is certain that all men and women will one day praise the LORD: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:10-11)
13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his glory is above earth and heaven.
14 He has raised up a horn for his people,
praise for all his faithful,
for the people of Israel who are close to him.
Yahweh deserves such praise from all things on earth because He has drawn near to His people. He is with and for His people, which is a blessing and a benefit greater than any other.
Praise the Lord!
Even in this world, dark and bad as it is, God is praised. The powers of nature, be they ever so strong, so stormy, do what God appoints them, and no more. View the surface of the earth, mountains and all hills; from the barren tops of some, and the fruitful tops of others, we may fetch matter for praise. And assuredly creatures which have the powers of reason, ought to employ themselves in praising God. Let all manner of persons praise God. Those of every rank, high and low. Let us show that we are his saints by praising his name continually. He is not only our Creator, but our Redeemer; who made us a people near unto him. We magnify Christ, whom God has exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour, who is indeed the defense and the praise of all his saints, and will be so for ever. In redemption, that unspeakable glory is displayed, which forms the source of all our hopes and joys. May the Lord pardon us, and teach our hearts to love him more and praise him better.
Recently I read something interesting. Psalm 103 begins with an invitation, “Bless the Lord, O my soul,” and then proceeds to list the benefits of praising God, one of which is that he “satisfies your mouth with good things” (Psalm 103:6 NKJV). The suggestion is this — that filling our mouths with praise and thanksgiving is one way God satisfies us. So let us open our mouths to be satisfied by filling our mouths with praise and his word!
HERE is one of the great praise hymns of the faith: “When Morning Gilds the Skies.” I pray that every day will find us praising our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!