Sunday, March 4, 2018 pm                                                        Psalms index


Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah
Psalm 148


Tonight, we study another of the final group of psalms, and the second grouping of “Hallelujah” psalms.  As with previous psalms, these are pure praise to God.  This psalm calls for praise more than any other.  We sing a song based upon this psalm occasionally.

Genesis 1:1, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.   This is a fundamental to our faith.  We are here because we believe in God of heaven.  The same God of Abraham, David, and Christians of the first century.  Our faith professes that He created the worlds by His word (Hebrews 11:3).  Sadly, much of the world today doesn’t get this, which is why we are so broken.  And it is a willful ignorance, as the more we examine the intricacies of this universe (and world), we see the hands of a creator.  Paul in Romans 1:20-25 spoke of this.  David in Psalm 14:1 declared, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” Whoever wrote this particular psalm declares that ALL creation praises him.  And it with these eyes that we notice God is worthy to be praised.   This psalm describes how ALL things praise Him. 

 I.                     Praise the LORD From the heavens (1-6)

a.       Hallelujah!  Means, “Praise YHWH”

b.       From the heavens, IN the heights – all throughout “the heights”. 

c.        the psalmist begins by addressing how the heavens declare the glory of God – Psalm 19:1.

d.       Angels and hosts (crowds) – the idea of hosts is a large number – we do not know how many angels there are – Hebrews 12:22 speaks of an innumerable company of angels; Jesus spoke of 12 legions of angels coming to rescue Him if He desired (Matthew 26:53) – sources say a legion in the Roman army was 6000 soldiers – that would be 72,000 angels. 
Angels, their very appearance throughout Biblical history praised the Lord.  One example would be Luke 2:9-14 – where angels appear to shepherds when Jesus was born.  They were praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”  (14)

Similarly, the hosts around the throne of God in Revelation 4 & 5 praise Him.

e.       Sun, moon and stars, all you stars of light – God has given us these “stars” as a source of light.  Of course, we now know so much more about their power and influence upon the earth.  They are positioned in such a way as to sustain life on this planet.  We know the influence of the moon on gravity and other forces. 

f.         Heaven of heavens (highest heavens)

g.       Waters above (rain, etc.) – from the heavens, our sustenance begins.  Nature doing its part to sustain the earth.

h.       Let them praise His name, for He commanded and created (5) – the point of this psalm.  Genesis 1:1, 4-6 – God created light on the first day (night and day); 14-19 – on the 4th day, sun, moon and stars was created to rule over the day and night.
We are also reminded that was the WORD of God that spoke the world into existence.  Genesis 1:3,
“Then God said…”; Hebrews 11:3, “by faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God…”  2 Peter 3:5, reminds us that we must never forget this!

i.         Established forever and ever, a decree that will not pass away (as long as He wills, they will remain).  And that is so as long as heaven and earth lasts – I think of Genesis 8:22 where the LORD made a promise that while the earth remains, there will be seasons and days. 
IN describing the certainty of His covenant with David the LORD through Jeremiah said, “If you can break My covenant with the day and My covenant with the night, so that there will not be day and night in their season, then My covenant may also be broken with David My servant…” (Jeremiah 33:20-21)

j.         One of the great demonstrations of our creator is to look up at the vastness of this universe.  A study of the heavens makes the case for God. 
The size of the universe is mind boggling.  WE cannot begin to comprehend how big it is.   Its vastness causes some to question the existence of God, but in reality, it our LIMITED minds that are the challenge.
However, science and laws of nature concerning “the heavens” present some challenges to naturalism (the fact that all things natural just came into existence).
1) Laws of energy show the universe is deteriorating – this includes the energy of the sun, as well as all other things. 
2) The universe is expanding showing there was a starting point.
3) Furthermore, naturalism theorizes that the universe just came into existence from nothing (the big bang).
All of these elements of the universe call for a CAUSE to start things (both time and matter).  GOD, as an all-powerful, all-knowing and all-seeing Creator, is a plausible answer for this (because He is of a realm outside of the natural realm). 
ADD TO THIS, the incredible order and various constants (things that must ALL be present for a system to work) that need to be in place for this world to sustain life, shows a designer at work.  Examples of this are the distance from the sun and moon, rotations of the planets including earth, etc.
WHEN we look to the heavens, and even more now so (with our abilities) than when this psalm was written, we see just how glorious God is. 
Psalm 8:1-4 shows the humility of man as he considers God’s creation.

k.       ALL that is “out of this world” praises Him!

 II.                   Praise the LORD from the earth (7-14)

a.       We now turn to the forces ON earth, again a testament to His creation and thus they praise Him.

                                                   i.      Sea creatures and all depths – the existence of various creatures in the sea, from the greatest of animals (Whales, etc.), to the smallest of them are all part of God’s creation and together they sustain this earth.  Their complexity as individual and distinct creatures shows design and an ORDERLY system!

                                                 ii.      Fire and hail and snow and clouds (vapors) - weather patterns.  Water that furnishes the earth.  The processes of nature – He created this world to sustain itself.  We need weather (and at times it is catastrophic in size) to sustain us.  Man thinks he can (or we are) destroy nature, but in cyclical fashion, the world seems to heal itself.

                                                iii.      Mountains and hills – also a part of the system of nature.  We need the heights and depths of this world to sustain it.   Consider how weather is affected by terrain (e.g. storms tend to follow patterns, often confined by mountains, etc.)

                                                iv.      Fruitful trees and cedars – our source of oxygen that we need to survive (and plants need our carbon dioxide emitted to survive). 

                                                  v.      Beasts, cattle, creeping things and flying fowl: Again, all part of our eco-system.   They also provide us with wonder as we examine their varieties and complexities. 

                                                vi.      NOTE: A discussion of evolution here would be beneficial (but time will not permit such in detail) as we see various types of life and nature described.   It is worthy to note, that there is NO concrete evidence of evolution between different classes of animals. 
Also, dealing with living organisms, I am reminded of DNA, something that we have discovered shows incredible organization and design even greater that what our best computers are able to do.

                                              vii.      I JUST WONDER, how much of these processes were understood when this psalm was written?

b.       Mankind – next the psalmist issues a call to all mankind!

                                                   i.      Kings of all the earth – those entrusted with rulership

                                                 ii.      All peoples – EVERYONE

                                                iii.      Princes and judges – again rulers and those entrusted with justly enforcing laws or delivering the people

                                                iv.      Young men and maidens - male and female
Old (aged) men children – all ages

                                                  v.      Mankind is God’s greatest creation.  We are created in His image (Genesis 1:26-27).  We have abilities to reason, think, and create unlike any other part of creation.  WE ALSO have the abilities with our minds to PRAISE God directly. 

                                                vi.      Yet, it seems that only mankind FAILS to give Him the praise He is due!  He fails to be grateful to God and rebels against Him.  It is because of this that our world is so broken! 
Imagine a world where our leaders feared God and loved the people? Psalm 2:10-11, Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, And rejoice with trembling.

Imagine a world where all were taught to respect each other and together bow humbly before our Creator – cf. Philippians 2:3-4 – looking out for each other’s interests.

                                              vii.      How does man praise God?   First, there is the exalted praise as described here.  Psalm 50:23, Whoever offers praise glorifies Me; And to him who orders his conduct aright I will show the salvation of God.”

Second, when we obey God we are in essence acknowledging Him and thereby praising Him.  John 15:7-8 – by bearing much fruit because His word abides in us. 
Third, through our example – Matthew 5:16, 1 Peter 2:11-12

c.        His name is to be exalted

                                                   i.      A name means many things – 1) an identity; 2) reputation; 3) authority. 
All of these belong to our LORD

                                                 ii.      His name alone is exalted – let no name be put above His.  Psalm 8:1, “How excellent is Your name in all the earth. Who have set Your glory above the heavens!”

                                                iii.      His glory above earth and heaven - we see the glory of God in His creation.  As we understand who He is, what He has done, may we glorify and praise Him!   Hebrews 13:15.

                                                iv.      Let us treat His name with reverence – Psalm 111:9, “Holy and awesome is His name.” 
Also think of this when we use the expression “Hallelujah” and the like. 

d.       He has exalted the horn of His people (14)

                                                   i.      The idea of a horn as used here is the horn of an animal used for thrusting.  Symbolically, it meant strength or dominion.  The point of this verse is that the LORD God recognizes those who genuinely are His and praise Him.  You might say it is accepted praise.

                                                 ii.      He knows those who are His – 2 Timothy 2:19, Romans 8:28 – all things work together for good to those who are called according to His purpose.

                                                iii.      When we are faithful, He will praise us in the end – cf. Matthew 25:21 – “Well done good and faithful servant…enter into the joy of your Lord.”

                                                iv.      This is a final cause to praise Him – because we belong to Him.  Because we consider what He has done so that we CAN belong to Him!

                                                  v.      Thought: If we (His people) don’t praise Him, who will? 


Let us resolve that we WILL praise the LORD.  May our lives reflect that praise, not just in word, but also in deed (cf. Matthew 5:16).  Think about it!