Praying with the Psalms – Sunday 26th July

Raise your Hallelujah!

Psalm 150

  1. O praise God in his holiness;
    praise him in the firmament of his power.
  2. Praise him for his mighty acts;
    praise him according to his excellent greatness.
  3. Praise him with the blast of the trumpet;
    praise him upon the harp and lyre.
  4. Praise him with timbrel and dances;
    praise him upon the strings and pipe.
  5. Praise him with ringing cymbals;
    praise him upon the clashing cymbals.
  6. Let everything that has breath
    praise the Lord. Alleluia.

Reflection

So we come to the end of our daily reflections on the Psalms. And fittingly we end with the last Psalm in the book, Psalm 150.

The Book of Psalms, or the Psalter, has often been described as the hymn book of ancient Israel – poems that God’s people could sing to help them through the ups and downs of life. As we’ve seen in our study, there are more hymns of lament in the Psalter than Psalms of other genres. This seems to reflect the reality of our lives, where the fallen-ness of creation often makes our experience of the world and other people painful and sorrowful.

Yet, even if cries of pain and frustration are heard on page after page, the climax of the Psalter is a great blast of praise. The last five Psalms all start and finish with the exclamation, “Hallelujah”, literally “praise the Lord”. The very last word is a joyful shout of praise.

So you and I should be encouraged. Our lives will be blemished with betrayal, filled with failure, and stained with sin. Our tears of disappointment will fill the bottle God holds to our cheek (Psalm 56.8). Yet your destiny, my destiny, is one of endless praise, of celebration and music and vigorous dancing, as the joyful sounds of God’s new creation echo through the halls of unending ages.

That is your destiny, for Jesus Christ has made it so. Hallelujah!

Our brother, the Apostle Paul, in his New Testament letters often exhorts his readers to live up to their true identity as children of God. Again and again you hear him say things such as, “you are already citizens of heaven, so behave appropriately”. It’s where grace and determined discipline meet.

Paul understood that if we are to spend an eternity of joyfully praising and serving God, then we should start practising now. Even if our present circumstances don’t call for joy, it’s right for us to praise God with everything we have, in anticipation of that Day which is to come.

Take time now to raise your Hallelujah. What offering can you bring before God in thanksgiving of his grace and acts of power in your life? Can you make praise a discipline of your life now, just as it will be in the age to come?

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!”

Neil Cook
Team Leader
(Church Wigan)