The Living Word for the week leading up to Sunday, December 31: Part 2 of 5
Tuesday, December 26: Psalm 148
A psalm which invites praise from a wide category of land, weather, trees and creatures. This is put in parallel with people of different stations in life and ages.
1-2 Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens! Praise Him from the skies! Praise Him, all His angels! Praise him, all the armies of heaven!
- Angel armies of heaven perhaps giving a lead to the praise party
3-4 Praise Him, sun and moon! Praise him, all you twinkling stars! Praise Him, skies above! Praise Him, vapours high above the clouds!
- Waters above the heavens, Genesis 1:7
5-6 Let every created thing give praise to the Lord, for He issued His command, and they came into being. He set them in place forever and ever. His decree will never be revoked.
The Lord commanded, and they were made.
- Sun, moon and stars – Genesis 1:14-19. The sense of this psalm is that He set them in place, for His praise.
- The created order is a stable order because of the Lord’s word, or decree: “For He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood firm.” Psalm 33:9
7-8 Praise the Lord from the earth, you creatures of the ocean depths, fire and hail, snow and clouds, wind and weather that obey him,
9-10 mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all livestock, small scurrying animals and birds,
- Creeping things and flying birds, Genesis 1:20-25
11-12 kings of the earth and all people, rulers and judges of the earth, young men and young women, old men and children.
- All creatures should praise God according to their natures, as they were created to do – which makes the point that mankind, all people in their diversity, are made for the praise of the Creator, Psalm 103:22.
13 Let them all praise the name of the Lord. For His name is very great; His glory towers over the earth and heaven!
- The praise that comes from everything listed should result in the praise of all mankind – that is God’s intention and the way creation is designed to work.
14 He has made His people strong, honouring His faithful ones – the people of Israel who are close to Him. Praise the Lord!
- “Made His people strong” – literally, “He has raised up a horn for His people, praise for all His saints” See Psalm 75:4 “I say to the boastful, ‘Do not boast’, and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horn…” The horn is a symbol of power or a king Daniel 7:24; 8:20; to lift it up (or exalt it) is to make a statement about power, and attitudes that accompany a power play; on the other hand, God promises to lift up the horn of the faithful, as here, or to be our horn of salvation Psalm 18:2.
With the birth of Jesus a new world order begins to break in. It is an event of such magnitude that spontaneous praise is the only response – and it is not too much of a stretch of the imagination to see everything formed or created joining in tjhe praise.
The psalm works its way towards the people made in God’s image. Their praise of Him is classless and levelling of generational and other social boundaries – all are submitted to Him in exalting Him. And so He, in turn, lifts up and empowers those who are close to Him, those who are faithful through the tests of life. It is a season where Mary comes into close focus. God has raised up a horn for her and for Joseph and for ordinary but faithful people everywhere as all eyes are on the young family in the poverty of the stable, receiving unkempt visitors from the sheep fields around who were the very first to be told of the Messiah’s arrival.
How vital it is not to slip into raising our own horn of power or control or self-promotion, because it raises a barrier to what may do in our lives. How vital it is to be able to wait for God to raise our horn in His time and according to His purpose
2. Where do we see the place of praise, in our lives and in our church life?