Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord. — Psalm 150:6
The journalistic strategy informally deemed the “five Ws and an H” is frequently used to ensure thorough investigation of a topic. The simple, one-word questions Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How? are designed to cover all the bases and assist a writer in obtaining critical details for a news story or report. In Psalm 150, the author answers each of these questions, thus providing in six short verses a fitting conclusion to the Book of Psalms. The prayers, tears, laments, exhortations, songs, and meditations of the previous psalms all lead to this final call: to praise the Lord God of Heaven and earth.
Who? Verse 6 specifies that nothing with breath is exempted from the duty of praise. That includes us! Every person in the history of the world has been impacted by the greatness of God. While some people are blessed with extensive and personal knowledge of God, everyone can see His greatness through His mighty acts of creation.
What? Praise! The psalm opens with an injunction to praise. And its conclusion — and the final statement of the Book of Psalms which was written over a period of many years and by many authors — admonishes once again that we are to praise the Lord. An attempt to define the word praise brings to mind synonyms such as commend, applaud, pay tribute to, and acclaim. However, none of these are sufficient to describe the glory and honor due to our Creator.
Where? Verse 1 describes two places where praise should be offered to the Lord: in the sanctuary and in the “firmament of His power.” The sanctuary is the holy place set aside for worship. In Old Testament times, this was the Tabernacle and Temple. In this New Testament dispensation, God’s people — those who have been made holy by the Blood of Jesus — are His temples (see 1 Corinthians 3:16-17). The “firmament of His power” could also be translated as “the expanse of His strength.” All around us, God displays His majesty and power through creation. In response, we are to praise Him.
When? God’s excellent greatness (verse 2) surrounds us at every moment, so the implication is that praise is due His great Name at every moment as well. The Psalms teach us that when things are going well and life is easy, we are to praise the Lord. And when things are hard and there seems no end to the problems, we are still to praise the Lord!
Why? Verse 2 says that we are to praise God for His mighty acts. Consider how He died on Calvary, delivering all who come to Him in repentance and believe on His Name. Consider how He calls lost sinners to Himself, raising them to new life and freedom from sin. Consider His mighty works in your own life! The more we meditate on His goodness, the more we sense the need to praise Him.
How? Verses 3-5 give directions for praising God with instruments. You may not be a trumpet player. Perhaps you have never touched a psaltery or harp. You can still praise God! The author of this psalm fairly bursts with enthusiasm, and he directs us to participate in praise as fully as we can. This is not a time of private reflection or personal prayer, although other psalms encourage both of those. This is a challenge to exuberant and audible expressions of glory to God. To all who will listen, let us join in joyous declaration that our God is great and worthy of praise!
The theme of Psalm 147 is the extensive span of God’s gracious works in creation. Both animate and inanimate creations are called to praise Him. The verses are divided into three sections, each providing both a reason to praise the Lord and direct instruction to do so. Verses 1-6 describe God’s redemptive involvement with humanity, both corporately and individually. Verses 7-11 show God’s power in nature, evidenced by His provision for His creation. Verses 12-20 announce the goodness of the Lord as revealed in historical events and in His provision for His people.
This psalm takes the form of a hymn. While its date and author are not known, it may have been a post-exilic composition (based on verse 2), and likely was written after the rebuilding of Jerusalem (see verse 13).
Psalm 148, sometimes referred to as “The Creation Chorus,” continues the counsel to praise the Lord. This psalm begins with the heavens praising God (verses 1-6), moves down to earth (verses 7-12), and concludes with a universal encouragement to all things to praise the Lord (verses 13-14). This structure follows the pattern God established at creation, in which the elements of the firmament above were created before mankind.
A new song is commanded in the first verse of Psalm 149, which is a celebration of victory. This could refer to a new song based on new deliverance, new understanding, or new mercies from the Lord. It also could point prophetically to the new hearts promised (Ezekiel 36:26). Verses 2-5 invite the listeners to revel in the glory of their relationship with the Lord. Verses 6-9 describe the deliverance God provided for His people, and a description of the fate of the enemies of the Lord.
As the conclusion to the Book of Psalms, Psalm 150 exults in the joy of praise. It both instructs the listener in what to do on earth and foreshadows the primary event of eternity: exuberant praise for the mighty works and excellent greatness of God. Verse 1 indicates that praise should be offered in the sanctuary but also in the firmament, or expanse, of God’s power.
Musical instruments — the trumpet, psaltery, harp, timbrel, stringed instruments, organs, and cymbals — were to be used in this final clear note of praise. The “trumpet” (shophar) was a long, slender horn with an upturned end, which was used at military and religious occasions to summon the people. The “timbrel” was a type of tambourine which was held and struck with the hand. The exact nature of the instruments identified as “organs” is unknown, but they probably were some form of pipes.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. Book I (1:1 — 41:13)
II. Book II (42:1 — 72:20)
III. Book III (73:1 — 89:52)
IV. Book IV (90:1 — 106:48)
V. Book V (107:1 — 150:6)
Take a moment to consider the mighty works and excellent greatness of the Lord, and then praise Him!