Praise you the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.…
: — Psalm 150 is a Jewish hymn of praise; but it would not be out of place to describe it as the Psalm of Prepositions, seeing it is only by marking those words that we light on the progression of thought.
I. THE SPHERE OF PRAISE. "In His sanctuary," etc.
1. Saints on earth.
2. Angels in heaven.
II. THE REASON. "For His mighty deeds." The cross of love will become all the more marvellous if it be viewed as the central picture of a universal spectacle. What a new incentive to praise when the universe of the scientist, that staggers us by its vastness and startles us by its awfulness, is recognized as the sphere also of Divine love; and when the Cross is interpreted as focussing eternal power in its tenderness and pity.
III. THE MEASURE AND QUALITY. "According to His excellent greatness." Our praise, to be worthy and acceptable, must be dominated by a due sense of God's character.
IV. THE USE OF INSTRUMENTS. Any musician, apart altogether from questions of moral qualifications and religious fitness, can "play": only a worshipper can "praise." Whether, then, the instrument be an organ or a harp, a violin or a trumpet, it must become a medium between the soul and God.
V. THE INCLUSION OF ALL. "Let every breath you breathe praise the Lord." Thus rendered, it is not an extensive appeal addressed to the universe, including birds, animals, insects, fish; so much as an intensive appeal addressed to the audience already in mind. The thought is climatic. Breathing, with its double function, is to become symbolic of prayer and praise. By every inspiration we are to take in more than breath, viz. the oxygenized air of the Divine presence; and by every expiration we are to give out more than breath, viz. the thought and feeling of the very soul. A worshipper may say when thinking of the service of praise and his own limitations, "I cannot sing, nor can I play, and speech is inadmissible." "Granted," replies the psalmist, "but you can breathe: let that exercise become a medium between you and God. If the vocal and the instrumental be denied you, the inspirational is not."
Parallel VersesKJV: Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.