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What Do Psalms 146-150 Teach Us About Worship?
Praise the Lord
Hallelujah Psalms (146-150)
The Book of Psalms concludes with another set of “Hallelujah!” compositions (146-150; cf. 104-6).
The psalmist first makes a lifelong promise to praise the LORD (vv. 1-2). He then advises his hearers not to hope in frail, mortal human beings for salvation (vv. 3-4), but to trust in the truth-preserving Creator who administers justice to the needy and gives the wicked his due (vv. 5-9; cf. 145:20). If they practice this grace, they will be truly happy (v. 5). He ends the first in this series of five psalms by declaring that Jerusalem’s Yahweh will reign eternally (v. 10).
Comment: Trusting even the noblest governmental officials to help is not altogether wise. According to the psalmist; these exalted human beings cannot begin to approach what the LORD can do.
The Lord of Creation
The act of praising God is at once good, pleasant, and beautiful (v. 1).
Verses 2-6 combine the thoughts of God's compassion with His power, offering significant reasons for human beings to praise Him.
The psalmist calls upon everyone to worship the Creator and Provider (vv. 7-9) Who favors those who fear Him, but opposes those who boast in their own strength (vv. 10-11).
He further encourages Israel to praise God for His protection (vv. 12-14a), provision (v. 14b), sovereign control of nature (vv. 15-18), and His exclusive favor toward the nation (vv. 19-20).
Comment: Developing and sustaining this godly practice—praising the LORD—could prevent the saint from lamenting continually about the bitterness of life.
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Worship: Just Music?
Is worship just spiritual music?
The writer creates an exuberant, rousing call to universal praise of the LORD, the Creator of the angels, the heavens and the atmosphere (vv. 1-4). Angels who will endure forever (vv. 5-6), and all nature and its inhabitants from greatest to least are exhorted to worship Him (vv. 7-12).
The LORD is greater than all (v. 13), and He made Israel great during the writer’s day (v. 14); therefore, He deserves all praise.
Comment: This is an entirely logical conclusion that should receive immediate assent, but does not. Yet one day every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
The phenomenon of the "new song" appears again; it is peculiar among saints (v. 1; cf. Ps. 33:3; 96:1; 98:1). The author exhorts Israel to rejoice, dance, and play instruments in their praise, because it pleases the LORD when they behave this way (vv. 2-4).
Then he makes an abrupt turn from joyful song (vv. 5-6a) to judgment upon enemies (vv. 6b-9). Holy war—God using Israel to punish enemies—seems to be indicated.
Comment: Israel's salvation from flesh-and-blood enemies often took on the character of personally shedding that blood. What may seem extreme to us today was God's way in those days.
One final call for universal vocal praise of the LORD (v. 1), accompanied by various instruments (vv. 3-5), concludes the Psalms. The author emphasizes a total, holding-nothing-back-type of praise of God not only for who He is (v. 2b), but also for what He has done (v. 2a).
Comment: The psalmist pens an ending that fits perfectly the whole tenor of the book.
SUMMARY QUESTIONS OF BOOK FIVE
1. What is the fountainhead of good works and right speech?
2. To what activity does the refrain of Psalm 107 exhort believers?
3. How should we interpret imprecatory prayers?
4. What is the prerequisite of a blessed life (Ps. 112)?
5. What divine attribute does Psalm 114 highlight?
6. Why do idols have control over so much of humanity?
7. What are some Messianic psalms in this portion?
8. What are some prominent themes in Psalm 119?
9. Where was the destination of the worshipers chanting the songs of ascents?
10. What psalms especially deal with the blessings of family life?
11. What three attributes of God does the psalmist discuss in Psalm 139?
12. What do you think about "holy war?"
13. What psalms comprise the Hallel? the Songs of Ascent? the Hallelujahs?
14. How is Psalm 119 arranged?
15. What is the theme of the shortest psalm?
16. According to Psalm 112, what are the “blessings” of a blessed man?
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