Praise ye the Lord! —Psalm 149
As we begin this next-to-last psalm, which is one of the Hallel psalms, we’ll see several elements in common with the other Hallel psalms, and we’ll be reminded once again of the words of King David in Psalm 34:1: “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
Some things that we’ve learned from previous Hallel psalms have reminded us that we don’t praise the Lord because things are good. We praise the Lord because He is good. This means that we can, and should, praise Him at all times because He is always good!
Psalm 32:3 reads, “When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all day long.” If we put this together with the psalm in the first paragraph, we realize that not only should we bless the Lord at all times, but if we grow silent in our praise, we suffer, being robbed of joy and peace, and we end up groaning rather than praising. Of course, praising the Lord continually doesn’t mean just obliviously, robotically, and insincerely mouthing “praise” words. Nor does it mean that there aren’t appropriate times for sorrowful groaning.
What we’ll be looking at over the next few days is the importance of corporate praise, personal praise, and public praise. Some beautiful words from the King James Version of the Bible are recorded in Psalm 22:3: “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” You may recall that “Israel” means “governed by God,” so the words are not limited to national Israel. God inhabits our praises as well! (By the way, the word “inhabits” means “enthroned,” or “settled in,” or even “married to.”) As temples of the Holy Spirit, God is always with us. But the idea of God “inhabiting our praises” should tell us that God manifests Himself in a special way that is exclusive to our praising Him.
“But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God; yes, let them rejoice exceedingly. Sing to God, sing praises to His name; extol Him who rides on the clouds, by His name Yah, and rejoice before Him” (Psalm 68:3-4).
We’re instructed throughout the Bible to praise the Lord. But do we realize what a privilege it is to praise Him and to know that He actually hears what we’re saying? A person may have great words to say to and about a famous individual whom they respect and admire, but the chances that one would ever have an opportunity to actually express that admiration even once to the individual would be pretty slim. Not so with our God! He not only hears us, but He loves us, and He loves to hear us speak to Him! This should cause us to joyfully say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord with exceeding joy!” We can sing praises to His name corporately, privately, and publicly with more zeal and passion than ever before because we’ve come to understand not only the importance, but the privilege, of praising our God.
Don’t let your “bones grow old” through your “groaning all day long.” The Lord is with you and in you! He reads your heart and mind; He comprehends your path and your lying down and is “intimately acquainted” with all your ways (Psalm 139:3). And you can freely cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). Praise the Lord!
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