Psalms 150:6- Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!
Once again, God has allowed us to live another year so that we may enjoy and participate in another time of celebration for His love and grace shown by the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As joyous as this time of year is for the saints, it is equally depressing to many who are not saints. Statistics compiled by governmental and social agencies continue to show that during the holiday season there is an increase in suicides by people who find no joy in the festivities. They have nothing to look forward to but the distress, the despair and the disappointments in their lives, and the only hope and relief they can find is in the taking of their own lives, and perhaps taking the lives of others. Look around you: listen to the radios, read the newspapers, watch TV. Notice that “fear” is the order of the day (illust.: terrorism, war, bad economy, joblessness, homelessness, etc.). If you look closer, many people see celebrating the birth of Christ as much ado about nothing. But we, as believers, as saints, as children of God, we have much to praise God for because we are not as others who have no hope. We are not like others who are without consolation and support. We are not like others who are depressed and sad because of our plight. No! We are not like unbelievers./ For we, as God’s children, can look to the hills, from where our help comes. We can thank and praise God for who he is, and what He is in our lives. For we have an unshakable and definitive hope. This is why this psalm is so important as a means of inspiration because in it we find the exhortations and praise of a man who experienced trouble in his life, and was yet able to praise and glorify God.
I think specifically of David, the writer of this psalm. Starting from an early age he had to deal with adversity in his life. David knew trouble. But in facing his adversities, David continued to praise God, for he knew that the blessings of God were a clear result of him never failing to acknowledge and praise God. Like David, when situations in your life are unpleasant and unpopular, God is your burden bearer and you’ll find satisfaction in your unpleasantness, when you give Him the praise. When events happen in your life that can emotionally or spiritually tear you apart, like a lion or a bear, because God is a keeper, you can find a firm stronghold, when you give Him the praise. When you are faced with trails that seem insurmountable like unconquerable giants, because God is your sword and shield, you can have victory after victory, when you give Him the praise. When your enemies are coming at you from all sides, because God is your protector, He will make your enemies be at peace with you, when you give Him the praise. When there is traumatic trouble in your home, because God is love, He can calm the storm and you can have happiness and restored fellowship in your home, when you give Him the praise. It is important for you to know that “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” When you understand this truth, you may find out that you are not alone in your acts of praise. For it is not unreasonable to believe that as the angels observe victories in your life and how you respond with giving praises to God, they too join in on the heavenly plane and sing praises and glorify God with you. Jesus said that, “there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents” (Lk.15:10). I can’t help believing that the angels sing the praises of God when they witness the love, goodness and mercies of God that is manifested in our lived everyday. In that the psalms contain so many exhortations of praise to God by people just like you and I, it is only fitting that today’s message, in light of the season, come from the final expression of praise from the last verse, of the last chapter of the Psalms which emphasizes and gives an imperative that “everything that has breath, i.e. everything that is alive, praise the Lord.”
This psalm is part of a series of praise psalms. When we look at this text in its context, we see that David provides a pattern for praising God. He tells us in verse 1, who to praise and where to praise. In verse two he tells us why we praise. In verse 3-5, he tells how to praise. In verse six, he tells us who should praise.
v.1a: Praise the Lord
To appreciate the pattern David provides, we should understand what praise is and the meaning of his opening exhortation, “Praise the Lord.” The Hebrew word for praise is “hâlal”. This word means: to shine; to make a show; to boast; to celebrate; to cheer; to commend. It means to speak of the excellence of a person, object or event. All of these meanings can be summed up in one word, i.e., to glorify a person, object or event. The second part of the phrase, “the Lord.” In Hebrew the word for Lord is Yeh, which is a contraction for Yehovah, the sacred Hebrew name of the true and living God; the supreme God; God of strength and power; the creator of and sustainer of all things; the infinite and self-existing one. (Yahweh, Elohim). By combining these two words, hâlal and Yah, created is the highest praise we have-Hallelujah. And hallelujah calls for celebration and giving glory to God. The only way that Hallelujah has personal meaning is that you first recognize and acknowledge your personal experiences with Him. When you know what He’s been to you and what He’s done for you, you can reach down from the depths of your soul and cry out, Hallelujah. In a number of languages praise can only be expressed by direct discourse which requires some content which provides the basis for praise. David tells us who to praise and what to say. Then he provides the content for the basis for our praise to God. To start, David tells us where to praise God.
v.1b: Praise God in His sanctuary (holy, consecrated place); Praise Him in His mighty (majestic) firmament! (expanse).
Praise God in His holy place (heaven). The holy place is not just heavenly, but also earthly. The earthly sanctuary is that place that has been sanctified and consecrated unto Him where you can go to meet Him. The Bible tells us not to fail to assemble ourselves together as saints so that we may worship and praise God collectively. However, the Bible also teaches us that our bodies are the temple of God and as a saint, you are sanctified and consecrated as a dwelling place of God. Jesus depicted your heart as a secret closet where you can go and be in God’s presence. So not only can you praise God in church, you can go into your inner sanctuary, and shout Hallelujah. But if that is not enough, you can go out under the sky, look up into the heavens, and join in with the universal praise to God offered by the heavenly bodies in the expanse of His heavenly temple, the temple that is manifested by the unlimited vastness of the universe. Not only do we praise God with the right words, and in the proper environment, we have to know why we praise God.
v.2: Praise Him for His mighty (strong, powerful) acts; Praise Him according to His excellent (abundance) greatness (magnitude)!
When I think of God’s mighty acts, I first think of His creative power. For the very first verse of the first chapter of the Bible tell us that, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” As an expression of His omnipotence, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, created all things (illus. summary of creation). Not only is His power seen in creation, but also in His acts of redemption. In the power of His omniscience, before the foundation of the world, the Godhead made provisions for you and I to be saved from the penalty and power of sin. It was that same power that fertilized the seed of a virgin maiden that He, the Christ, the Messiah, the man named Jesus, might walk among men and women to bring light to a darkened world. It was the same power that brought healing, deliverance, and understanding to a world little or no hope. It was the same power that enabled Jesus to endure the pain and anguish of Roman brutality and Jewish scorn, and endure the heaviness of a weighty cross that He had to carry to a hill called Calvary. It was the same power that enabled Jesus to endure the torment of stakes being hammered in His hands and hammered into His feet. It was the same power that darkened the sky at noon day and shook the earth, and tore the veil of the temple forever so that we would have access to our God. It was the same power that early one Sunday morning, Jesus rose from the dead and walked out of a borrowed tomb, proclaiming that “all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” And the angels did sing! It is the same power that takes a sin sick person and regenerates them when, by faith, they believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and receives Him as Lord and Savior. [And] It is the same power that continues to keep all God’s children until that day when we shall be caught up to meet Him in the air and forever be with Him in that place he has prepared for us. We have to praise God for His mighty acts according to His abundant greatness and majesty. Not only do we praise God in His sanctuary, and praise Him for His mighty acts, David says we should praise Him in diverse ways illustrated here as musical instruments that sound in symphony and in harmonious rapture.
vs.3-5: see descriptions of instruments
Finally, David provides the last part of the pattern by telling us who should praise God?
v.6: Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord.
David, without hesitation, command, let everything that has breath, that is alive, praise the Lord. Let all mankind and beast join together and praise the Lord. Let the choirs with articulate expression and skill, celebrate, glorify, and praise God. [And] the final exhortation was for David to end as he began with a resounding, Hallelujuah!
Preaching: Luke 2:8-14- Praise Him whose power and goodness extend through all worlds, and let all the inhabitants share in the grand chorus, that there be universal praise. And the angels did sing!