Psalms 150
Psalm 150 Kingcomments Bible Studies

Praise God!

The last psalm is one big call to praise God. It begins and ends with “hallelujah!”, praise the LORD” (Psa 150:1; Psa 150:6). First the places where God is to be praised are mentioned: “in His sanctuary” and “in His mighty expanse”. The sanctuary here is the place the LORD has chosen to establish His Name there and dwell there (Deu 12:5). This is about the temple as the meeting place between heaven and earth. During the realm of peace, people are to travel to the temple in Jerusalem to praise the LORD (Zec 14:16).

The heavens, which span the earth, also praise Him. The heavens and the earth, created by Him in the beginning, are full of His praise here. Everywhere, throughout His creation, He is praised. How wonderfully beautiful it is that heaven and earth are united in a harmonious song of praise to magnify the LORD. We also see this in Revelation 5, where men and angels together magnify the Lord Jesus (Rev 5:11-13).

Next are the reasons for praising God. He is praised “for His mighty deeds” and “according to His excellent greatness” (Psa 150:2). Among His mighty deeds are His work of creation and its upholding, but certainly also the redemption of His people. That redemption concerns above all the redemption of their sins, and then also their redemption from the power of their oppressors. In all His mighty deeds, His excellent greatness is revealed. What reasons to praise Him!

Then a selection of wind, string and percussion instruments are mentioned to be used, to which the round dance is added as a physical expression (Psa 150:3-5). Music and dancing are expressions of joy for blessings obtained after a time of misery because of straying from the place of blessing (cf. Lk 15:21-25).

The trumpet is an instrument for the priests. The harp, lyre and cymbals are instruments for the Levites. Timbrel, stringed instruments and pipe are instruments for the laity. In other words, all the people are called to praise the LORD. It is all about the heart turned toward the LORD; the instruments are merely tools to support the songs of praise.

Music is not made to entertain a particular audience (cf. Gen 4:19-21), but to glorify God. Every musical instrument serves to increase the praise of God. It is to be done “with trumpet sound” and “with harp and lyre” (Psa 150:3). The music begins with the “trumpet sound”. This recalls the Feast of the blowing of trumpets, the Feast of New Beginnings, the feast that prophetically announces the restoration of Israel (Lev 23:24). That restoration is now a reality.

The trumpet is not really a musical instrument. It is blown at the beginning of a new moon or a feast (Psa 81:3). It is mentioned here to emphasize that the priests also sing along. The trumpet is also mentioned first, possibly as a starting signal.

The blowing of the trumpet also recalls the year of jubilee (Lev 25:8-13). In that year the trumpet sounds not only on the first day of the seventh month, but also on the tenth day, which is the Day of atonement. The trumpet is heard throughout the land (Lev 25:9), which means that all the tribes are back in the land and each tribe lives again in the inheritance that God has assigned to it (Lev 25:13). This is the “restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time” (Acts 3:21). Through the coming of the Lord Jesus, that time has arrived.

After the trumpet sound, the praise is enhanced by “harp and lyre”. The harp and lyre are stringed instruments. They add to the clear sound of the trumpet the feeling through the lovely tones of a stringed instrument. At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, which prophetically also refers to the time for which the LORD is praised in this psalm, harp and lyre sound among other instruments (Neh 12:27).

Praising the LORD is also to be done “with timbrel and dancing” (Psa 150:4; Psa 149:3). The timbrel is a kind of hand drum with bells or small pieces of metal, which ring, when one swings or strikes it. This instrument is used on festive occasions, such as celebrating a victory (Exo 15:20; Jdg 11:34; 1Sam 18:6). It is notable that it is mentioned several times in the hands of women. The dance, i.e. a round dance, is consistent with its use.

To this is added the use of “stringed instruments”, which does collectively refer to the use of all kinds of stringed instruments.

The “pipe”, which is mentioned next, is, like the trumpet, a wind instrument. Unlike the trumpet, the flute can be used to play a melody. It is a kind of pan flute, an instrument made up of straws of different lengths.

The list of instruments concludes with the “loud cymbals” and resounding cymbals” (Psa 150:5). The cymbal is a percussion instrument that in Bible times consisted of two round metal discs (cymbals) that were struck against each other. They indicated the beat, as is done by clapping hands.

Finally, it is said who “praise the LORD”: it is done by “everything that has breath” (Psa 150:6). Man and all living beings are characterized by breathing (Gen 7:22; Psa 104:29; Isa 2:22). It begins with God’s people, the Israelites, God’s godly ones. Then it happens through all the nations. Even the animals participate in their own way in singing the praises of God:
“And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, [be] blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped” (Rev 5:13-14).

Just as the Word of God is food for the believing heart, prayer and praise are the breathing of that same believing heart. The book of Psalms is the breathing of the believing heart of all ages and is an encouragement and comfort to all believers, including 21st century believers, to cultivate a living relationship with the Lord Jesus and praise to God.

The book of Psalms concludes with a final “hallelujah!”, “praise the LORD!” This “hallelujah” reverberates after, without dying away. It reverberates eternally through …

It is our wish and prayer that the contemplation of this rich book of Psalms will also have this effect on us: that this “hallelujah!” will continue to reverberate in your and my heart.

© 2021 Author G. de Koning

All rights reserved. No part of the publications may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the author.

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