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Sunday, August 22, 2021

“Let Everything That Has Breath Praise the LORD” Psalm 150 [Matt's Messages]

“Let Everything That Has Breath Praise the LORD”
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
August 22, 2021 :: Psalm 150

For the whole last year we have been studying a different psalm each Sunday, and bouncing all over the Psalter. And we’ve seen that the Psalms are songs, and that there are a variety of different kinds of Psalms with different moods and themes and keys. The Psalms aren’t just happy or joyful. Many of them are sad and mournful and full of lament. Some are full of questions. Some are full of wisdom. Some are long. Some are short. Some tell a story. Many are prayers directly to God but sometimes they are songs that we sing to one another, to encourage or to challenge one another.

But there is one key theme that runs straight through the book and gains steam as it gets closer to the end, and that the theme of praise. The Hebrew name for the book of Psalms is “Tehillim” which can be literally translated, “Praises.” The Book of Praises.

We’ve mentioned that the 150 psalms are divided into 5 big books of Psalms, and it turns out that each of the books ends with a praise. Psalm 41:13, Psalm 72:19, Psalm 89:52, Psalm 106:48, and then our Psalm for today, Psalm 150. And it’s the whole thing, not the just the last verse.

In fact, the last 5 Psalms–Psalm 146, 147, 148, 149, and 150–are each bookended,  beginning and ending–with the phrase, “Praise the LORD.”

Do you know what the Hebrew is for that?

“Hallelujah”

“Praise Ya!” Short for “Praise Yahweh.”

“Hallelujah”
“Hallelujah”
“Hallelujah”
“Hallelujah”

“Praise the LORD!”

And so the very last Psalm cranks that to 11! It’s very “Psalm-y” in that respect.

I count 13 times in just 6 verses that the psalmist calls everybody everywhere to praise God and is doing so himself at the very same time!

Have I ever mentioned that the ancient Hebrews liked to repeat themselves?
“Hallelujah”
“Hallelujah”
“Hallelujah”
“Hallelujah”
“Hallelujah”
“Hallelujah”
“Hallelujah”
“Hallelujah”
“Hallelujah”
“Hallelujah”
“Hallelujah”
“Hallelujah”
“Hallelujah”

Praise the LORD!

This is a song to end the book of songs calling for more songs of praise.

Today, I want complete our series on the Psalms and then move on next week to a book in the New Testament since it’s been a year.

But I urge you to never move on from the Psalms in your own life.

We may move on and closely study other parts of the Bible on Sunday mornings, but the Psalms are good for all of life. They give us a prayer language and a worship language no matter what is going on in our lives, good or bad.

And one of the things they teach us to do is to praise the LORD.

Verse 6, the very last verse of the Psalter says this, “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.”

And so that’s our title for our very last message in this series putting a cap on the book of Psalms with the last Psalm, Psalm 150.


We start in verse 1 where the songwriter begins his song with a call to praise the LORD wherever you are. Psalm 150, verse 1.

“Praise the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.”

That’s three times in just one verse.

Hallelujah! Praise the LORD. Praise God!

#1. PRAISE THE LORD WHEREVER YOU ARE.

Verse 1 is all about location. “Praise God in his sanctuary.”

For the ancient Hebrews, that was the temple in Jerusalem, or the tabernacle. 

For you and me, the closest thing is the gathering of the church. Not a church building  but a church family gathering together to praise the LORD.

In other words, worship is essential!

In times of crisis and disease, we may have to find creative ways of doing it, but worship is absolutely essential.

The psalms cry out for us to do it. “Praise God in his sanctuary!”

And more than that. “Praise Him in his mighty heavens.” Literally, “In the expanse of his power.”

And when you put the two parts of the first line together, you’ve got worship in God’s earthly temple and worship in God’s heavenly temple, and that means worship of God anywhere and everywhere!

The stars in the sky and the sun in the sky stretch out there to lead us to worship.

The very first psalm we studied a year ago was Psalm 8 in which King David talks about the heavens as God’s fingerwork, His handiwork, and it calls us to praise Him. “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”

Do you praise God wherever you are?

Secondly, do you praise God for what He does and Who He is? Listen to verse 2.

“Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.”

Here the idea is not just location but reason. It’s the why we praise Him.

#2. PRAISE THE LORD FOR WHAT HE DOES AND WHO HE IS.
 
The psalmist doesn’t just say that we ought praise God, but gives us good reasons to do so. And it’s like summary of all of the good reasons that we’ve seen for the last year.

Number one, what he does and number two, just who He is. V.2 again.

“Praise him for his acts of power...”

What are those?

Well, that’s about everything God does.

Creation, Redemption, Restoration.

Whenever I go away on vacation, I am led to worship just thinking about how big and awesome God is.

When we are in Cook Forest (you knew there would be a Cook Forest story, right?), I look up at the Milky Way, and I’m amazed that God made all of that in His mighty heavens.

But I also am amazed when I sit by the river and watch the water flow by.

And think God, didn’t just make all of this, but He knows the location of every fish in this river. Every duck, every water spider, every biting fly! Every bald eagle or hawk swooping overhead.

And those things are happening right now on the Clarion River. And He knows them all. I just watch them for a few hours for a week while eating my ice-cream on vacation. God sees all of them. And not just on that river but every river. And every ocean.

And then we went to New York City and saw all of the buildings and all of the vehicles and all of the people. On the subway, in the streets, on the river, at the Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island.

And He knows and see all of them. Not just when I am there, but right now. And not just there but everywhere. Including Haiti and Afghanistan and Tokyo and Lanse, Pennsylvania.

It’s good for me to go away and think about how big God is!

Praise Him for His acts of power.

And not just for His creation and His omniscience, His knowledge of His creation, but also His mighty acts of redemption.

What happened on the Cross.

And what happened at the resurrection when Jesus Christ came back from the dead.

Praise Him for His acts of power.

“Praise him for his surpassing greatness.”

I love that! That’s not just praising God for what He does, but just simply praising God for Who He is.

He deserves it.
God deserves this praise.

I heard Ira Glass recently on This American Life on the radio wondering why God needs all of this praise. “What does God get out of it?” he was asking.

Because all of these psalms demand our praise. Why does God need our praise so much.

Of course, the answer is that God does not need our praise. He just deserves it.

When other people call us to praise them, they are needy and it shows.

But we’re the needy people, and what need is a God like this who does things like this and is surpassingly great like this.

And it’s we who need this praise! We NEED to praise Him!

Because He is worthy.

Hallelujah!

If verse 1 says WHERE to praise Him and verse 2 say WHY to praise Him, verses 3,4, and 5 tell us HOW to praise Him.

And that is with everything in us. Verse 3.

“Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.”

It’s the whole orchestra, isn’t it?!

It’s the whole band.

It’s the whole kit and kaboodle.

The psalmist calls for every kind of musical instrument to be broken out, dusted off, and put to use. Wind instruments, string instruments, percussion instruments.

They might have been a little different from our modern versions. The trumpet was made from a rams horn. The harp and lyre were like a big string instrument and a smaller one. Kind of like our harp or big standing bass guitar and then the lyre was like our guitars or mandolin or even a banjo. Though I don’t think they’ll be any banjos in heaven. (Just kidding!)

Why do you think the psalmist writes a song about how many instruments should be used to praise God?

I think he’s saying that we need to give it everything we’ve got!

Music, yes. Do it with excellence. 

But I also think it means noise.

This psalm leads me to believe that God wants us to get loud. Loud and strong.

To worship with noise. To pull out all of the stops. To throw in the kitchen sink.

To give it everything you’ve got.

#3. PRAISE THE LORD WITH EVERYTHING YOU HAVE.

I mean, he says to DANCE here!

When was the last time you danced in worship?

I’m not saying that we need to draw attention to ourselves. I’m saying that we need to throw our whole selves into it.

When was the last time you gave your all in worship?

If the LORD is worthy of all our worship, why wouldn’t we give Him all of our worship?

Praise the LORD with everything you’ve got.

And while you still can. That’s verse 6.

We’ve seen WHERE to praise the LORD, WHY to praise the LORD, HOW to praise the LORD, and the very last verse says WHO should praise the LORD.

And it’s everybody who still can. Verse 6.

“Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.”

That’s everybody. That’s you and me. That’s every living creature to the degree that they can according to their sentience. 

We are called not just to worship God with our constructed instruments but with the greatest musical instruments every constructed, the human voice.

“Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.”

Hallelujah!

I think that the reference to breath there is twofold. One is that it is about using our breath to praise God.

To lift our voices. To say, “Praise God!” And use our voices to sing, “Praise God!”

But I also think there is a warning there to praise God while you still can.

While you have breath.

Breathing is a gift, and it’s a fleeting one. [As we found out with our brother Pat Quick this last week.]

Take a breath right now.

That was a gift.

You aren’t promised your next one.

But you are called to use your next one to praise the LORD.

#4. PRAISE THE LORD WHILE YOU HAVE BREATH.

Don’t miss an opportunity.

Especially out of concern of what other people might think.

Don’t worry about what other people think.

Praise God wherever you are.
Praise God for what He does and just Who He is.
Praise God with all you’ve got.
Praise God while you still can.

Hallelujah!

Listen to the whole thing:

“Praise the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.
 Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.
 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre,
 praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute,
 praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.
 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.”


***

Fortifying Truth - Psalms - Fall 2020 to Summer 2021

01. Majestic and Mindful - Psalm 8
02. All Our Days - Psalm 90
03. "The LORD on High Is Mighty!" - Psalm 93
04. "The LORD Is My Shepherd" - Psalm 23
05. "Praise the LORD, O My Soul!" - Psalm 103
06. "The Blessing of Aaron's Oily Beard" - Psalm 133
07. "A Dying Thirst for the Living God" - Psalm 42
08. "Our Fortress" - Psalm 46
09. Unrestless - Psalm 131
10. "Sun and Shield" - Psalm 84
11. "With Songs of Joy" - Psalm 126
12. "His Love Endures Forever" - Psalm 136
13. "How Many Are Your Works, O LORD!" - Psalm 104
14. "My Soul Waits for the Lord" - Psalm 130
15. "Remember David" - Psalm 132
16. "My Son" - Psalm 2
17. "Search Me" - Psalm 139
18. "Cleanse Me" - Psalm 51
19. "A New Song" - Psalm 96
20. "Hear My Prayer, O LORD." - Psalm 86
21. "May All the Peoples Praise You" - Psalm 67
22. "A Wedding Song" - Psalm 45
23. "My Feet Had Almost Slipped" - Psalm 73
24. “Rejoicing Comes in the Morning" - Psalm 30
25. 'The Waters Have Come Up To My Neck" - Psalm 69
26. "Cast Your Cares on the LORD" - Psalm 55
27. "“My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?" - Psalm 22
28. "You Will Not Abandon Me To the Grave" - Psalm 16
29. "He Will Rule" - Psalm 72
30. "Taste and See That the LORD is Good" - Psalm 34
31. "Since My Youth" - Psalm 71
32. "Your Statutes Are Wonderful" - Psalm 119
33. "The LORD Our God Is Holy" - Psalm 99
34. "Not To Us, O LORD" - Psalm 115
35. "Blessed" - Psalm 32
36. "Sit At My Right Hand" - Psalm 110
37. "Your Love Is Better Than Life" - Psalm 63
38. "Blessed Is the Man Who Fears the LORD" - Psalm 112
39. "If the LORD Had Not Been On Our Side" - Psalm 124
40. "Shout for Joy to the LORD, All the Earth" - Psalm 100
41. "You Have Raised A Banner" - Psalm 60
42. "Unless the LORD Builds the House" - Psalm 124
43. "Praise Be To The LORD My Rock" - Psalm 144
44. "Consider the Great Love of the LORD." - Psalm 107

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