by Pastor Lawrence
The last five chapters in the book of Psalms (146-150) are often referred to as the Hallelujah Psalms for each of these psalms begins and ends with the exclamatory phrase “praise the Lord,” which is the English translation of the Hebrew word “Hallelujah!” This psalm seems to serve a liturgical function in the corporate worship of the Lord for the psalmist first exhorts God’s people in the plural to worship the Lord, then he gives a brief personal testimony of his own praise unto God before instructing the people in why and how they should praise God’s name.
In his personal testimony the psalmist says, “I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to God while I have my being.” Understanding that God has made us in his very image to reflect his glory and has ordered our lives in such a way that our greatest happiness can only be found in reverberating his praise, it is not only a sign of great humility but also of wisdom and honor to view the praise of God as our highest end and to set our hearts and our minds upon it. In fact, when God’s praise is not viewed as our highest aim, every other aspect of our lives is disarranged and disordered.
In the instructional portion of the psalm, the leader points out why God’s people should not put their hope and trust in princes or in the sons of men, for their help is fickle and their plans are foiled by their own finiteness. Just like us, they are merely clay pots dependent upon the Lord for their next breath, which can be cut short at any moment. As sons of Adam, they too are weak and mortal, tempted to sin and given to unfaithfulness. When we really need their help, they may fail us, but God is not subject to limitations, nor is he subject to sin.
As maker of heaven and earth, he has designed the very environment in which we live and have our being. He exerts complete power over our environment and over all the other creatures in our environment, thus nothing can happen to us apart from his sovereign will. Even the elements of the earth themselves are subject to his desires so that nothing can thwart his purposes for us. And He is faithful in his covenant with creation sustaining life, and faithful in his Word to accomplish all the he has promised. Unlike mortal men who can break their word, our Lord Jesus is the great Amen. His words are always true and always come true.
And unlike mortal kings who often overlook the plight of the poor and the weak, our God continually cares even for the least of his subjects. He executes justice for all the oppressed, gives food to the hungry, sets the prisoners free, opens the eyes of the blind, lifts up those who are cast down, upholds the widow and the fatherless and watches over the sojourners. He forgets no one. He fails no one. And unlike earthly kings he cannot be bought by the wicked but turns their riches into ruins. He hates every evil way and thus loves the righteous, exalting them, promoting them and pronouncing his blessing upon them. Because of his righteousness, faithfulness and unrivaled power, we can look to him as our help and our hope in every situation.
And we are not the firstborn of the flesh to know such a God in this way, nor will we be the last. In every generation our God reigns which reminds us that we play a very small role in God’s overall plan. Even though we are called to praise God with our very being each day, our being here on earth will soon be a “has been,” and another generation will take up the mantle that we lay down. And there is a responsibility to declare the glory and the works of the Lord to the next generation so that they too can praise God with their whole being and share these truths with yet another generation in the future, as long as the Lord tarries. Because the Lord reigns forever, we will be praising our God forever, so let us keep up the practice for that chorus that never ends. Even now, let us take some time and praise the Lord!