Psalm 150 (NIV)
1 Praise the LORD. 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 tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute,
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.
Each of the last five psalms of the Psalter begins with the same injunction: “Praise the LORD”. When the Psalter was compiled in its current form, those responsible deliberately selected these five for its conclusion. This final psalm gives exuberant voice to its theme. Here is no dour, mindless fulfilling of an obligation to worship. Words burst forth from an overflowing heart and shout praises for the simple joy of being able to bring tribute to the one to whom all tribute is due.
The first two verses perceive God to be in his heavenly (and perhaps earthly) dwelling, present with us and involved in his creation. They recognise greatness and power as attributes that are his alone, far surpassing anything that a human monarch might aspire to claim. (At this time of the year we might make a mental link with the visit of Magi to pay homage to the infant Jesus.)
Then we encounter the orchestra! Brass instruments, strings, percussion and woodwind combine to render praise. Dancing and singing in time and in tune with the orchestral score add to the scene. For those familiar with an Australian summer, this is not just one cicada drumming, nor even a dozen, but a forest full of them as they blend in perfect cadence!
Everything that has breath is to be involved in this proclamation of praise!
The year about to end may have been a good one for you or you may have been confronted by disappointment or disaster. Scripture records for us many characters who could and did praise the LORD, regardless of their circumstances:
- At a time of great loss, Job was able to proclaim, “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised” (1: 21b).
- King David, on learning of the death of his child born of Bathsheba, “went into the house of the LORD and worshipped” (2 Samuel 12: 29).
- Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego would worship no god but the LORD. Their faithfulness, despite the likelihood of execution in a furnace, brought exclamations of praise from the mouth of the king himself (Daniel 3: 16-18, 28).
Regardless of how the events of the year have treated you, it is fitting nonetheless to end the year with praises to our LORD. It is equally as fitting to begin the new year by giving praise to the LORD of heaven and earth.
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.