Theme: A Comprehensive Praise Psalm
In this week’s lessons, we see the comprehensive scope of worship—that all creation, both in heaven and on earth, is to praise the LORD.
Scripture: Psalm 148:1-14
We are asking a lot of questions about worship in our study of the last few psalms of the Psalter: what worship is, how we should worship, where we should worship, and so on. In Psalm 148, we find who should worship or praise God and where, the answer being everyone everywhere should praise God from the highest heavens to the lowest spots on earth. And not just human beings! Angels should worship God. So should the fish of the sea, wild animals, cattle and birds. Even the inanimate creation should worship God, such as the sun, moon and stars, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, mountains, hills, fruit trees and great cedars. Everyone and everything should praise God. 
Derek Kidner says of this psalm, “Starting with the angelic host, and descending through the skies to the varied forms and creatures of earth, then summoning the family of man and finally the chosen people, the call to praise unites the whole creation.”1
Could any writer possibly be more comprehensive? It is hard to think so. Roy Clements, pastor of Eden Baptist Church in Cambridge, England, notes that 
the psalmist explores just about every area of human knowledge to catalogue the potential members of his cosmic congregation. He begins in the field of cosmology: angels, stars and waters above the skies. Then when he has satisfied himself that he has exhausted the celestial realm, he turns to the terrestrial. Marine biology: great sea creatures and all ocean depths. Meteorology: lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding. Geomorphology and dendrology: mountains and hills, fruit trees and all cedars. Zoology and ornithology: wild animals, cattle, small creatures and flying birds. And to cap it all, political geography, sociology and anthropology: kings of the earth, all nations, princes and rulers, young men and maidens, old men and children. There really can’t have been many unthumbed articles left in his encyclopedia.2
The preceding psalm told us why we should praise God: for his care of his people, his care of animals, his delight in the godly, his provision for Jerusalem, his rule over all creation, and for the gift of his written word. This psalm calls on the creation to acknowledge this and worship God. 
This psalm is so all-embracing in its call to worship God that not a few poets have labored to express its thoughts in common verse. John Milton put words like these into the mouths of Adam and Eve in their morning worship of God in Paradise before their fall (Paradise Lost, Book V, lines 153-209). William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878) wrote a poem that expanded on verse 6. A lesser-known poet named Peter Pett wrote a poem similar to Bryant’s in the fifteenth century. The verse we probably know best is from the Bible Songs Hymnal of 1927:
Hallelujah, praise Jehovah, from the heavens praise his name;
Praise Jehovah in the highest, all his angels, praise proclaim.
All his hosts, together praise him, sun and moon and stars on high; 
Praise him, O you heav’ns of heavens, and you floods above the sky. 
Let them praises give Jehovah, they were made at his command;
Them forever he established, his decree shall ever stand.
From the earth, O praise Jehovah, all you seas, you monsters all,
Fire and hail and snow and vapors, stormy winds that hear his call. 
All you fruitful trees and cedars, all you hills and mountains high, 
Creeping things and beasts and cattle, birds that in the heavens fly,
Kings of earth, and all you people, princes great, earth’s judges all;
Praise his name, young men and maidens, aged men, and children small. 
Let them praises give Jehovah, for his name alone is high, 
And his glory is exalted, far above the earth and sky.
1Derek Kidner, Psalms 73-150: A Commentary on Books III-V of the Psalms (Leicester, England, and Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1975), p. 487. 
2Roy Clements, Songs of Experience: Midnight & Dawn through the Eyes of the Psalmists (Fearn, Scotland: Christian Focus, 1993), pp. 197, 198.
Study Questions: 

What answer does Psalm 148 give for who should worship God? 
According to Roy Clements, in what areas of knowledge is God’s congregation? 

Reflection: How encompassing in praise and worship of God is this psalm? Note how many parts of creation are told to praise the LORD. Given the comprehensive nature of God’s praise, how should that enhance your own worship? 
Key Point: Everyone everywhere should praise God from the highest heavens to the lowest spots on earth. 
For Further Study: As we have gone through the book of Psalms together in this devotional, do you know someone who could really benefit from these studies? They are available in paperback, and would make a great Christmas gift. The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals is offering the three-volume set at 25% off the regular price.

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