Praise you the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.…
This psalm is a rapture. The poet-prophet is full of inspiration and enthusiasm. Lamartine says, "In this closing psalm we see the almost inarticulate enthusiasm of the lyric poet; so rapidly do the words press to his lips, floating upwards towards God, their Source, like the smoke of a great fire of the soul wafted by the tempest." "In former times, when the casting of church-bells was more of a religious ceremony, this psalm was chanted by the brethren of the guild, as they stood ranged around the furnace, while the molten metal was prepared to be let off into the mould ready to receive it."
I. THE SANCTUARY. Not "his holiness," as in the Prayer-book Version, nor merely "his temple;" but the whole earth, as the sphere in which he has displayed his power and his grace. It is quite true that praise is to be offered in those buildings which are set apart for God's worship; but we must always regard them as representative of God's great temple of nature and of human history. The old tabernacle represented wandering Israel as the dwelling-place of God. The temple, later on, represented the organized nation as the dwelling-place of God. But such localization and limitations only represented and taught the truth that the whole earth is the sanctuary of God. In tabernacle, temple, church, whole earth, where God is, God's praise must be sounded forth. He says, "Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me."
II. THE FIRMAMENT OF HAS POWER. This is usually taken to mean "heaven," but it is more in accordance with Hebrew repetition to see in it another figure for what is called the "sanctuary." "Firmament" simply means sphere. Every place becomes a holy place if God's power is put forth in it; then the whole earth, and the entire range of history, become a sanctuary in which God's praise is properly called forth. If we are to praise God in the spheres in which he has put forth his power and grace, we shall have to be praising him everywhere. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.