Praise the Lord.
Praise the name of the Lord;
praise him, you servants of the Lord,
you who minister in the house of the Lord,
in the courts of the house of our God.
Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good;
sing praise to his name, for that is pleasant.
For the Lord has chosen Jacob to be his own,
Israel to be his treasured possession.
I know that the Lord is great,
that our Lord is greater than all gods.
The Lord does whatever pleases him,
in the heavens and on the earth,
in the seas and all their depths.
He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth;
he sends lightning with the rain
and brings out the wind from his storehouses.
He struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
the firstborn of people and animals.
He sent his signs and wonders into your midst, Egypt,
against Pharaoh and all his servants.
He struck down many nations
and killed mighty kings –
Sihon king of the Amorites,
Og king of Bashan,
and all the kings of Canaan –
and he gave their land as an inheritance,
an inheritance to his people Israel.
Your name, Lord, endures for ever,
your renown, Lord, through all generations.
For the Lord will vindicate his people
and have compassion on his servants.
The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
made by human hands.
They have mouths, but cannot speak,
eyes, but cannot see.
They have ears, but cannot hear,
nor is there breath in their mouths.
Those who make them will be like them,
and so will all who trust in them.
All you Israelites, praise the Lord;
house of Aaron, praise the Lord;
house of Levi, praise the Lord;
you who fear him, praise the Lord.
Praise be to the Lord from Zion,
to him who dwells in Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord.(Ps. 135:1-21 NIV)
This is a Psalm that was sung at one of the great festivals. The call to worship summons the servants of the Lord to lead the people of God in the praise of God. The praise of God involves praising the great works of God. The great works of God are His works in creation and His works in redemption. As evangelicals we sometimes don’t give the place to the praise of God for His works in creation. It is worth noting that the praise of God in Revelation chapter 4 is for the God who had created all things and in Revelation chapter 5 the praise is for the work of redemption. God has created us to be in a triad of relationships. We were created to be in a relationship with God, a relationship with one another and a relationship with the creation. The work of redemption will in Christ restore each of those relationships.
We learned in Ps 133 that it was a pleasant thing when the people of God were united. This is further seen when the people of God are united in the praise of God. The praise of God is pleasant and good. What makes praise possible by His people is that God has redeemed His people. The Lord is good and He has been good to us. He has made our lives very pleasant. The praise of the name of the Lord arises out of the relationship that God has brought us into. We can address God as our covenant LORD. We can acknowledge that He is our God and we are His people. God has chosen His people to be His own, not just His own, but above all else His treasured possession. We are the apple of His eye. He stands in the midst of His people and He bursts into song over His people. What was it O our God that caused You to love us like this? It is beyond comprehension but God has placed His Holy Spirit in us and has made us recipients of His love and brought us into His family.
The Psalmist acknowledges the greatness of the Lord. All other gods are false gods, and they cannot respond. It is not possible to be in a relationship with a false god. It is a futile endeavour to seek to oppose the work of the Lord because He will do what pleases Him in the arenas of the heavens and the earth and to the depths of the sea. There are no no-go areas for God. Even in hell the rule of God is seen.
The God of creation continues to work in the creation. The wind and the rain, the lightning, and the cycle of water rising to fill the clouds and the clouds giving up their moisture to water the earth and fill the rivers and lakes – these processes are all controlled by God.
In vs 8-14 the theme changes to redemption. In the great redemption out of Egypt the firstborn of humans and animals were struck down. The people of God were sheltered under the blood of the lamb that was slain.
The LORD also laid His people to defeat many of the enemies of God and God’s people. The people of Canaan had been afforded 400 years, but in that time they grew more wicked and the judgement of God was executed upon the nations and the land was given to God’s people as their inheritance. What the Lord has done has made His name renowned through all generations. The Lord is renowned not just for what He has done in the past but for continuing today to show compassion and vindicate His people.
Why have the nations perished and why will the nations perish before God? It is because they have furnished gods by their own hand out of silver and gold. They have shaped mouths in their idols, but these mouths cannot speak. They have shaped eyes in these idols, but those eyes cannot see. They have been given ears, but they cannot hear. They are helpless and powerless and so is everyone who puts their trust in them.
We should not praise these idols because they can’t even hear or see that praise. They have no words of either anger or joy to speak. In the day of need they cannot deliver.
In the light of the great activity of the Lord in creation and redemption and in contrast to the total inactivity of the false gods, the Psalmist again calls upon the people of God to praise the Lord for who He is and what He has done. He calls upon the priests, the Levites and all who fear Him to respond to the Lord who has set His dwelling place on Mount Zion. Let all who love Him praise His name. Praise the Lord.
O Lord my God when I in awesome wonder:
Lord God we stand amazed in Your presence and wonder how You could love us, love us in Christ and send Your Son to die that we might have our sins forgiven. We give You our praise because You have done all things well. We worship You because You created us and commanded our worship. We worship You because You have redeemed us and have enabled us to worship You. Let all that is in heaven and earth praise Your great name through the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.