by Pastor David Groendyk
We’re jumping into the middle of Book V of the Psalms. Book V is the last of the five divisions of Psalms and includes Psalm 107 to Psalm 150. The whole of Book V is a great big crescendo for the psalter, emphasizing the praise of God for his wonderful deeds and our call to worship and obey him. Psalm 135 easily breaks down into a number of sections which all explain why we ought to praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord because he has chosen his people (vv. 1–4). The Lord is good, and all of his servants who have been chosen by him should praise him. Deuteronomy 7:6–11 highlights why the Lord’s election is such an important reason for praise. When the Lord chooses us, it’s not because we are great or powerful or important or moral. He chooses us merely because it’s his good pleasure to do so. We become treasured possessions of the Creator of the universe because he is merciful and loving. We ought to be humbled by that truth.
Praise the Lord because he is omnipotent (vv. 5–7). He controls all of Creation. Every rain drop and gust of wind occurs only because God has decided it to be so. Everything that happens is due to his will, and nothing that happens occurs apart from his decision. God and God alone is all-powerful. No other god or enemy can ultimately harm you. God and God alone holds the universe in the palm of his hand.
Praise the Lord because he is the Savior (vv. 8–14). The psalmist references the events of Israel escaping Egypt and wandering through the wilderness. The Lord sent ten cataclysmic plagues on Egypt out of thin air, parted the Red Sea for Israel to walk through, defeated an entire Egyptian army, and overthrew the kingdoms of Canaan. All of these events were precursors for the salvation we have through Jesus on the cross, and one commentator, Derek Kidner, helpfully points out how wholly undeserving God’s people are of his deliverance. Both for Israel and for us, his deliverance is a deliverance of fools and apostates. And yet, he continues to promise defense, vindication, and compassion for his people as long as they shall live.
Praise the Lord because all other idols are absurd (vv. 15–18). God is not merely greater than all other gods (v. 5); in fact, there are no other gods. We carve idols out of inanimate material and then expect them to have sovereign control of the universe? How foolish! Likewise, how foolish our modern day idols are as well—status, money, retirement savings, etc. Our false gods cannot hear our cries for help, nor do they have power to help. There is only one true God.
Let everyone praise the Lord (vv. 19–21). Six times in three verses, we’re commanded to praise the Lord. There is no more fitting response to our God than blessing his name. Spend some time today—especially as we prepare for Sunday worship—meditating on the reasons for praising the Lord.