The book of Psalms ends with a profound emphasis on praising the Lord. This emphasis is revealed by the following points in the final five Psalms:
A. Each Psalm begins and ends with the same command, “Praise ye the LORD” (146:1, 10; 147:1, 20; 148:1, 14; 149:1, 9; 150:1, 6).
B. Commands to praise the Lord occur at least 36 times, with a magnificent crescendo consisting entirely of commands to praise Him in Psalm 150:
—146:1 [2x]; 10;
—147: 1, 12 [2x]; 20;
—148:1 [3x]; 2 [2x]; 3 [2x]; 4; 5; 7; 13; 14;
—149:1; 3; 6; 9;
—150: 1 [3x]; 2 [2x]; 3 [2x]; 4 [2x]; 5 [2x]; 6 [2x]).
C. Through these commands, God teaches us many truths about the theology of praise:
1. Praise must be given to the LORD, who is my God, your God, and our God: His name is to be praised!
2. The commands to praise Him are directed universally—all must praise Him: everyone who reads these Psalms; the believer’s own soul; Jerusalem and Zion; all His angels and His hosts; the sun, moon, and all the stars; the heaven of heavens; the waters that are above the heavens; the dragons and all deeps; fire, hail, snow, vapors, and stormy wind; mountains and all hills; fruitful trees and all cedars; beasts and all cattle; creeping things and flying fowl; kings and all people; princes and all judges; young men, maidens, old men, and children; everything that has breath.
3. God must be praised everywhere: from the earth and the heavens; in the heights; in the congregation of the saints; in the dance; in His sanctuary; in the firmament of His power.
4. God demands praising Him with singing and numerous musical instruments: upon the harp, the loud cymbals, and the high sounding cymbals; with the timbrel, harp, psaltery, the sound of the trumpet, stringed instruments and organs.
5. God must be praised for a vast number of reasons:
—He is the help and hope of His people;
—He keeps truth forever;
—He executes judgment for the oppressed, feeds the hungry, looses the prisoners, opens the eyes of the blind, raises up those who are bowed down, loves the righteous, preserves the strangers, relieves the fatherless and widows, and turns the way of the wicked upside down;
—He will reign forever;
—He builds upJerusalem, gathers together the outcasts ofIsrael, heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds, and tells the number of stars and calls them all by their names;
—He is great, of great power, and His understanding is infinite;
—He lifts up the meek and casts the wicked down to the ground;
—He covers the heaven with clouds, prepares rain for the earth, makes grass to grow on the mountains, and gives food to the beasts and the young ravens;
—He delights not in the strength of horses and does not take pleasure in the legs of man;
—He takes pleasure in those who fear Him and hope in His mercy;
—He has strengthened the bars of the gates ofJerusalemand blessed her children within her;
—He makes peace in her borders and fills her with the finest of wheat;
—He sends forth His commandment on the earth, and His Word runs very swiftly;
—He gives snow like wool, scatters the hoarfrost like ashes, casts forth His ice like morsels, and none can stand before His cold;
—He sends forth His Word and melts His ice;
—He causes His wind to blow and the waters flow;
—He shows His Word unto Jacob, His statutes and judgments toIsrael;
—He has not dealt in this way with any other nation, and no other nation has known His judgments asIsraelhas;
—His name alone is excellent;
—His glory is above the earth and heaven;
—He exalts the horn of His people, the praise of all His saints, even the children ofIsrael, a people near Him;
—it is good to sing praises to our God;
—praising Him is pleasant and comely;
—He commanded and all things were created;
—He has also established His creation forever and made a decree that will not pass;
—He takes pleasure in His people and beautifies the meek with salvation;
—His mighty acts.
6. God specifies that we praise Him according to His excellent greatness, and with thanksgiving and dance.
7. All His saints have the honor of having His high praises in their mouth along with a two-edged sword in their hand in order to execute vengeance on the heathen and punishments upon the people, to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron, and to execute upon them the judgment written.
D. In addition to these commands, statements of resolve to praise the Lord occur two times (146:2 [2x]).
In view of the immense divine emphasis directing us to praise Him that we find in this marvelous ending of the book of Psalms, let us with the Psalmist resolve to praise Him while we live, while we have any being!
Praise ye the Lord.