Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Our Psalm for this week is Psalm 148, a song of praise to the Lord. It opens and closes with an important word. “Hallelujah” means “give praise to the LORD.”
I’d like to take a moment to consider the logical arrangement of this Psalm. Approximately the first half lists heavenly beings and places, calling them to praise to the Lord. They are all to praise him because they were set in order (v. 6). In verse 7 the focus shifts to the earth and the creatures in the earth. What we realize as we sing this Psalm is that all creation praises the Lord, and does so automatically. By nature, the oceans, the hills, the sea monsters, the wild animals all bring praise to the one true God who has created them.
While some would leave the topic right there, saying they enjoy communing with nature because it’s good, the Psalmist then moves to the actual conclusion. The Psalm is not about natural creation being good. It’s about all creation needing to sing praises to God. Who’s left? In verses 11-12 all people are left. Kings, princes, judges, young, old, male, female, all are to give praise to the Lord.
Notice how the Psalm states the obvious first. The heavens and the heavenly beings bring praise to God. Even the earth and wild animals bring praise to God. So how about people? They are called to their rightful duty, that of praise and thanksgiving.
About this time, some readers are likely to turn the message off. After all, who are you to tell me how I should live my life? I should get to understand the god(s) in whatever way(s) seem best to me. That’s fine. The Psalmist gives a response to this. There’s a reason to give praise to God. In verse 14 we see the crown of God’s glory is that He makes a way of salvation. Would you like to work out your place in this world and in eternity? Go ahead. But God has already done it, and the Psalmist says God did it right. We praise the Lord because he is the one who can rescue us through Jesus. That’s enough reason for me. In comparison, my ideas of working everything out seem utterly foolish. I’m going to let the Lord take care of it.
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