Praise the Lord!
Psalm 148 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
The Whole Creation Invoked to Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
2 Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
3 Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all stars of light!
4 Praise Him, highest heavens,
And the waters that are above the heavens!
5 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For He commanded and they were created.
6 He has also established them forever and ever;
He has made a decree which will not pass away.
7 Praise the Lord from the earth,
Sea monsters and all deeps;
8 Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;
9 Mountains and all hills;
Fruit trees and all cedars;
10 Beasts and all cattle;
Creeping things and winged fowl;
11 Kings of the earth and all peoples;
Princes and all judges of the earth;
12 Both young men and virgins;
Old men and children.
13 Let them
praise the name of the Lord,
For His name alone is exalted;
His glory is above earth and heaven.
14 And He has lifted up a horn for His people,
Praise for all His godly ones;
Even for the sons of Israel, a people near to Him. Praise the Lord!
The heading of today’s psalm is “The Whole Creation Invoked to Praise the Lord.” In reality it is only man who needs to be invoked to praise Him. It is only man who was given free will and has a choice. Creation the sun, the moon, plants, mountains, rivers, oceans and every living creature, do what they were created to do. They are obedient to the intentions of God, who created them. When Jesus was told to quiet the crowd, to stop them from praising Him, He said: "I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!" (Luke 19:40) In Job 38-42, when God confronts Job, before he is restored, the many ways which all of creation are ordained to function and respond to the creator, God, are described. In Genesis 1:11-12; 20-22;24-25 it says: Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind… “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.” God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”… “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so. God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind.” All of creation was made with a purpose and it is faithful to that purpose. A shrub does not aspire to be a tree. Neither does a bird think itself to be a dog and so on. All of creation, as created and commanded remains “after their kind.” Only man, who was given a free will, an ability, a privilege to choose, questions the plan and the design of God. Only man believes he can be something other than what God intended. Only man has a choice whether to obey and glorify the God of creation or aspire to be something else, trying to become their own god.
I once had a personal encounter, a life impacting example of creations obedience to God, an example of God’s creatures praising God not because of where they are, but because of who He is. It was a time, quite a few years ago. My daughter was in the hospital in Philadelphia. We spent a lot of time there and the stays were often long. One morning, after spending the night, I got up early, as I normally do. I went outside. It was early morning, first light, just before the sunrise. I am not a city person. I prefer the quiet and solitude of a rural setting. I prefer the sounds and the smells of the country over those of the city. That morning I hoped I could find some quiet, some peace, some solitude. Even then though, the city was already waking. There was traffic, with its noise and the smell of exhaust. There were people, hurrying this way and that. There was litter on the streets and sidewalks. As I sat on a bench, in a small area with a bit of grass and a few trees, I was emotionally drained. I was despondent and depressed by everything that was happening and all that was around me fueled those emotions. Then in the midst of the din of the city noise, I heard a song. It wasn’t on a passing car stereo. It was a song from a small bird in the nearby tree. I love the sounds of the many birds that sing to greet the morning in the country. This little bird didn’t know how awful its surroundings were. Despite the noise and the foul smells, despite the litter on the streets, that little bird did what it was created to do. It sang a song to greet the morning. It sang the song its creator had given it, a song of praise and glory to God. Soon, as I focused on the song rather than the noise, I too realized that the God of creation was there. He was with me in that unpleasant place. I found the peace and the solitude I so desperately needed and I too praised the God of creation, not because of where I was, but because of who He is.
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; Praise Him in the heights! Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts! Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all stars
Praise Him, highest heavens, And the waters that are above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the Lord, For He commanded and they were created. He has also established them forever and ever; He has made a decree which will not pass away… Kings of the earth and all peoples; Princes and all judges of the earth; Both young men and Old men and children. Let them praise the name of the Lord… Let them praise the name of the Lord, For His name alone is exalted; His glory is above earth and heaven… Praise the Lord! Amen.