“Let everything that Hath breath praise the Lord”
Psalm 150: The first psalm contains only six verses and speaks of the man who is blessed. The last psalm also contains six verses but speaks of the God who is praised. No more fitting conclusion to the book could have been written. While the other four books of the Psalms end with a brief verse or two of doxology, Psalm 150 in its entirety forms the doxology to consummate the fifth book. As the final song of praise, it appropriately answers four key question about praise.
(1) Where should God be praised? Everywhere, from His sanctuary of earth to His heavenly creation (verse 1);
(2) Why should God be praised? For His powerful deeds on behalf of men and for His inherent greatness (verse 2);
(3) How should God be praised? With every suitable instrument man can offer with his God-given creativity and artistry (verses 3-5);
(4) Who should praise God? Everything that breathes (verse 6).
Verses 1-6 (see note on Psalm 146:1-10). This concluding psalm fitly caps the Psalter and the Final Hallel (Psalms 145-150), by raising and then answering some strategic questions about praise:
(1) Where? (150:1);
(2) What for? (150:2);
(3) With What? (150-3-5); and
(4) Who? (150:6).
The author and occasion are unknown.
I. Place of Praise (150:1);
II. Points of Praise (150:2);
III. Proper Means of Praise (150:3-5);
IV. Practitioners of Praise (150:6).
Though every verse of the psalm is cast in the form of a call to praise, the hymn is certainly prophetic of a day when every creature will in fact bow in praise to the Almighty God (Phil. 2:11; Rev. 5:8-14).
Verses 1-6: Psalms closes with magnificence and majesty. “Praise” comes from every creature; every instrument of joy and gladness and triumph and jubilee is summoned to raise its voice, and every heart and tongue engages to help the choir. This concluding crescendo is full-toned and jubilant. Each of the four preceding books is concluded by a brief doxology, a hymn praising God (41:13; 72:18-20; 89:52; 106:48). Nothing could be more appropriate than to have a lengthy doxology for the final chapter.
Psalm 150:1 “Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.”
“Sanctuary … firmament of his power”: “Sanctuary” most likely refers to the temple in Jerusalem, so the sense would be “Praise God on earth and in heaven”.
The psalmist here is filled to overflowing with praise. This praise to the Lord here, is to everything that hath breath, as we will see as we go on. God, in the praise of God above, is EL, or Elohim. Praise Father, Word, and Holy Ghost. His sanctuary is His church. This praise is similar to the sweet-smelling savor that rose in the tabernacle. This is very pleasing to God. This power is mixed with the greatest love known. God’s love is so much greater than what man is capable of giving.
Psalm 150:2 “Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.”
Praise should be for:
(1) What God has done; and
(2) Who God is.
His mighty acts have all been to benefit mankind. We could start listing them, and days later still be listing them. His greatest act of Love was taking our sin on His body and giving us His righteousness. The greatness of God is not even something that we can understand. He is Holy, He is righteous, He is Love. He is all things combined that make up perfect goodness. You could think of anything good or positive, and it would be part of His character.
In the next few verses, we see many ways to praise Him. We also see that it is right and in order to praise God with instruments of music.
Psalm 150:3 “Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.”
“Harp”: A smaller, portable version of the harp, most likely played with a plectrum (pick).
Psalm 150:4 “Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.”
Or “pipe”. “Timbrel and dance” (see note on Psalm 149:3).
“Praise him with stringed instruments”: or different “kinds” of instruments not named. And which, as Aben Ezra says, had all one sound or note. What they were is not known, as also many of them that are particularly mentioned.
“And organs”: Which have their name from the loveliness of their sound. These are of ancient origins and use (Gen. 4:21). But were not of the same kind with those now in use, which are of much later invention.
Psalm 150:5 “Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high-sounding cymbals.”
Or “cymbals of hearing”; that were heard with pleasure and delight, and afar off. The Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions render it, “well sounding cymbals”. Which give a grateful sound to the ear. These were made of brass (1 Chron. 15:19). To which the apostle alludes (1 Cor. 13:1).
“Praise him upon the high-sounding cymbals”: Or “cymbals of shouting”, ovation or triumph. Which were used on joyful occasions, as victories, deliverances, and the like. And were used also in the temple service (see 1 Chron. 16:5). According to the Targum and Septuagint version, these were three stringed instruments; for so they render the word then in (1 Sam. 18:6). Now these several instruments of music are named, not as to be used in Gospel times; but, being expressive of the highest praise and joy shown in former times. Are mentioned to set forth the highest strains and notes of praise in New Testament saints. As well as to denote their heartiness, agreement, and unanimity in this service (Rom. 15:6).
These are all fine to praise Him with, but the one instrument that He most wants to praise Him, is the voice of man.
Psalm 150:6 “Let everything that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.”
“Everything”: All of God’s living creation. This is the fitting conclusion to Book Five of the Psalms (Psalms 107-150), and to the entire Psalter.
We discussed earlier that this breath is life. This breath is the spirit that God breathed into mankind on the sixth day of creation, and man became a living soul. If you have life, if you have the spirit, if you have breath, praise God with everything within you.
Psalm 150 Questions
- Where are we told to praise God in Psalm 150:1?
- God, in verse 1, is whom?
- What is this praise in the church similar to in the tabernacle?
- Praise Him for His mighty ______.
- What are we to use to praise Him?
- Let everything that hath __________, praise the Lord.
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