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Praise the LORD! 

     Praise God in His sanctuary;

         Praise Him in His mighty heavens!

Praise Him for His mighty deeds;

     Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!

The Psalmist in Psalm 150 invites the God-follower to “praise” Yahweh. The word used by the writer of this Hebrew song is “hālal.” Strong defines this word as “to make a show, to boast; and thus to be (clamorously) foolish; to rave;... to celebrate, commend, to give glory, to shine.” In this Psalm, the people of God are encouraged therefore to boast in God when they gather for worship, to shine a light on His glory, to celebrate His mighty deeds in proportion to His excellent greatness.

This modern song encourages us to do the same - to boast in God, to highlight the magnificence of His glory, and to celebrate His mighty deeds, chiefly and most significantly in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Whether in the valley - where we know grief and sorrow, but also the sustaining work of the Holy Spirit to help us endure, or on the mountain - where we experience victory and freedom through the work of the Holy Spirit, we have a reason to praise Yahweh. 

Like King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20 who was outnumbered by the vast combined army of the Moabites, Ammonites, and Meunites, or Elisha in 2 Kings 6 who was surrounded on all sides by the Syrian army at Dothan, we can still know the provision, protection, and power of God in the midst of the overwhelming circumstances of life. Who God is to and for us does not change based on the situations and circumstances we may find ourselves in. And even if the bottom falls out of our lives, nothing can separate us from God’s love for us in Christ. We have a reason to shine a light on God’s glory.

Like David in Psalm 42 who commanded his heart to turn in worship to God in the midst of having no real desire to, or the sons of Korah who celebrated the power and victory of God upon the Assyrian armies defeat at the hands of the Angel of the LORD, we are called to and able to glorify the Lord whether we have the desire to or not. This is no paltry minimizing of the hardships of life. This is a resolute faith in the steadfast love of the LORD that we can call to mind and therefore have hope. We have a reason to make a show of the goodness of God. Like the Israelites in Joshua 6, our clamorous, raving praise of the Most High God can be our response to the promise of God that He uses to bring about the victory of God in our lives. 

Psalm 150 concludes with the call for “everything that has breath” to “praise the LORD.” Any breathing creature, but especially those who bear God’s image, are called to praise the LORD. The book of Psalms closes with this call, and every Psalm up to this point shows that it is possible to cry out to and trust in Yahweh as we experience the kaleidoscope of human emotion - and that includes the experience and emotion of joy. Joy for the deliverance of God, joy for the mercy of God, joy for the forgiveness of God, for the provision of God, the deliverance of God, and joy for who God is as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who has made a way for us to live in communion with God forever. Let everything, including you and me, make a show of, boast in, celebrate, shine a light on the glory of, and rejoice in God according to His excellent greatness. 

Praise the LORD!