Theme: Where We Should Praise the LORD
In this week’s lessons, we learn how this last psalm teaches and exhorts everyone, everywhere to praise the LORD.
Scripture: Psalm 150:1-6
Where should this be done? Where should “everything that has breath” praise God? The first verse gives us a comprehensive answer. It is “in his sanctuary” and “in his mighty heavens.”
“His sanctuary” has been understood by some writers to mean the heavenly sanctuary or throne room, in which case the two lines of verse 1 (“Praise God in his sanctuary” and “Praise him in his mighty heavens”) would be precise parallels.1 But the list of musical instruments in verses 3-5 contains some that we know were used in the Jewish temple, and this suggests that we should view “sanctuary” as referring to the earthly temple there. In other words, it is best to see verse 1 calling for the praise of God on earth (“in his sanctuary”) and in heaven (“in his mighty firmament”). We are being told to praise God everywhere.
Today we do not have an earthly sanctuary, though we worship and praise God in our churches. But we do have bodies which are “temples of the living God” (2 Cor. 6:16; see 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19), and we are told to praise God in and with our bodies, which means everywhere we go. The angels of God praise God everywhere they go; they praise God constantly. We should imitate them. Frances Havergal was touching on this idea when he wrote in 1865:
Lord, thou needest not, I know,
Service such as I can bring;
Yet I long to prove and show
Full allegiance to my King.
Thou an honor art to me:
Let me be a praise to thee.
Just as “in his sanctuary” and “in his mighty heavens” mean that God is to be praised everywhere, so do the phrases of verse 2 embrace everything for which God should be praised. God’s “acts of power” refer primarily to his works in creation and salvation history, what some writers list as creation, providence and redemption. God’s “surpassing greatness” refers to God’s attributes, including qualities like sovereignty, holiness, omniscience, immutability, love, grace, goodness, compassion, justice, truth and wisdom. God is to be praised both for who he is and for what he has done.
That is what these psalms have been teaching all along, of course. They are encouraging us to get to know God so we really can praise him. Do you know God? Are you able to praise him for who he is and for what he has done? The only way you will ever come to do it is by studying the Bible.
1For example, H. C. Leupold, Exposition of the Psalms (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1969), p. 1006.
What does it mean to praise God?
What is the temple of the living God? What is the connection of this with praise?
Reflection: How well do you know God? Are you able to praise him for who he is and for what he has done?
Application: Are there things going on in your life that could lessen your praise? Ask the Lord for help and strength to trust him and to praise him continually.