Praise truth # 29: “Praise the Lord!” is not a suggestion. It's a command.
The message of Psalm 150: Praise the Lord! “Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty firmament; praise Him for His mighty deeds! Praise Him according to His excellent greatness! Praise Him with trumpet sound; praise Him with lute and harp! Praise Him with timbrel and dance; praise Him with strings and pipe! Praise Him with sounding cymbals; praise Him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that breathes praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!” — Psalm 150:1 – 6 (all verses)
Ten times in the six verses that make up Psalm 150, we are told to “praise God”, “praise Him”, or “praise the Lord”. The “WHY” of praise that's mentioned here (for His mighty deeds) is certainly reason enough to praise God with all that we are.
We're told HOW to praise Him: “according to His excellent greatness” and with all of the instruments and the implied exuberance that are mentioned in the Psalm.
We're told WHERE to praise Him: “in His sanctuary” and “in His mighty firmament”. The two locations that are mentioned for praise to God are interesting because I believe that these locations represent the dwelling place of God. When it comes to our own praise, the physical location for our praise could certainly be inside a house or center of worship (church), which would correspond to one interpretation of the word “sanctuary”. The playing of all of the instruments mentioned here may also indicate that the Psalmist is talking about praising God in a corporate worship time, which we certainly need to do as well.
However, since God is everywhere and is, at the same time, on His throne, the location of His presence is a rather mysterious concept. Most importantly, our praises should be genuine and thereby reach the heart of God no matter where we are. Whether you are in a workplace, your home, in a public gathering place, or in a place of worship, your genuine praise glorifies the Lord. His presence is with you in that place, and His presence also fills the mighty firmament. God can remain on His throne while also fulfilling His promise to be in our midst any time that we gather in His name.
The heart of our praise is always most important and matters much more than our physical location or our understanding of where God is. Like a parent who is pleased when His child expresses appreciation for parental love and care, God is pleased when we praise Him more for what our genuine praise says about who we are becoming than for any other reason.
When our understanding of God’s loving heart allows us to genuinely praise Him, we become more like Christ, whose most important task was to bring glory to God through fulfilling the divine purpose for His earthly life.
4 “I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.
5 “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” – John 17:4-5
The Psalmist also speaks of playing instruments and even dancing for joy as well. If there are instruments that you can play in genuine praise, do so. I love to play the guitar while leading in the 11:11 Worship with the UNLEASHED band. I also enjoy playing the piano or other keyboards. You may want to sit at the piano and play a hymn or sing along with Christian radio in your car or with a CD at home.
Whether an individual is praising the Lord in any location or whether we are meeting together for the purpose of corporate worship and praise, we obviously are supposed to praise God with enthusiasm. We should not be more excited about a win by our favorite team than we are by thinking about God’s power and mercy and grace and patience (long-suffering) and His infinite love, so freely given.
So, praise Him with joy and abandon (even dancing with joy!… you know, your happy dance!). Praise him with your whole heart and being. Make some noise! Praise Him because He is great and because He does great things. Praise Him in congregational worship and family worship and private worship. As long as you are breathing, praise the Lord!
Memory Challenge: How are you doing on memorizing Psalm 150? Are you still saying both Psalm 100 and Psalm 150 every day? Put in a little extra time, and make sure that you have both Psalms (all 11 verses) memorized by the end of the month. You can do it! When you have them memorized, begin working on Psalm 100 in your family worship times so that your entire family can learn it, too!