We have come once again Brethren and Sisters to remember our Heavenly Father’s faithfulness as exhibited in the emblems before us upon the table. Our fellowship together in remembrance is not only of our Heavenly Fathers and our beloved Master’s sacrifice. But it is, also importantly a reminder of the certainty of the fulfilment of the purpose of God, because of that sacrifice, we are shortly to remember.
The Psalms provide us with a window through which we can more fully understand our own current state. Particularly the intense emotional struggle against the nature we bare and the fullness of the victory of our Master in that battle. Yet at the same time the Psalms also present us with a window through which we can contemplate that state for which we all long. “Even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (Rom 8:23).
So on one hand we are able to see into the hearts and minds of those that have gone before and gain valuable insight, exhortation and comfort. This is especially true with regards to the one we have come to remember the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet on the other hand through the Psalms we can also gain a glimpse and enter into the joy and ecstasy of that time yet to come. So that we too might be victorious in faith, enduring unto the end, because of the joy set before us, after the example of our beloved Master.
Thus the Psalms have tremendous power to impact us in the present to rise us up out of our complacency and lift our feelings towards our Heavenly Father whom we have come to worship. Now this impacting aspect of the Psalms, especially with regards to their ability to speak to us emotionally is no accident, the Eternal Spirit designed them so. That we might be aided in the process of coming to terms with enormity of the change that Yahweh desires to achieve not only in us, but also more especially through us in his service.
Turn with me to Psalm 150 pause and read:
“Praise ye Yah. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let every thing that hath breath praise Yah. Praise ye Yah.”
Psalm 150 is a Psalm that takes us from the present into the glorious future age and reveals to us that our Heavenly Father is indeed faithful and what He has promised He is more than capable and able to perform. Therefore my dearly beloved brethren we ought to be fully persuaded that He which, has begun a good work will perform it.
This Psalm is therefore prophetic in that it takes us to a time when Yahweh is all and in all in that it ends with “let every thing that hath breath praise Yah.” Yet brethren and sisters it does not start in that time and place.
Come back to verse one “Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.” Here we have a picture of the angels of God glorifying the Father at the time of creation.
Job Chapter 38 and verse 7
“When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy”
The Lord Jesus Christ taught us to pray in similar terms “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”
So this Psalm takes us from the very beginning at creation to the time of the end of the millennium. When the glory of Yahweh fills the earth, so shall the earth be equally filled with the vocal praising of our God brethren and sisters?
Turn back to Psalm 148 and verses 11 – 14
“Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth: Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children: Let them praise the name of Yahweh: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven. He also exalteth the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise ye Yah.”
Now if you are like me brethren it is difficult to contemplate, for the earth is far removed from that glorious state at this present time. And in that regard it does presently seem as if all things continue as they are from the time of the fall?
Yet let us not despair for the psalm instructs us to take heart brethren and sisters for what we experience today will not always be the case. Indeed we know from the signs of the times that the time when these things shall begin to change in the direction spoken of in this jubilant psalm is fast approaching.
Personally brethren and sisters the psalm takes each of us in the mercy of our Father from worshipping now in this obscure little hall too the time, when we shall not rest day or night crying “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty”. It is lifting us into the temple worship of the millennium in the first place. Can you see yourself there? Are you able to close your eyes and imagine the scene and the sounds of the music lifting up as a joyful noise as an acceptable offering unto our God?
Can you here your voice being added to the great throng gathered in the temple to praise the exalted name of Yah?
We need to be able to see ourselves taking part in such activities for them to become visions that truly orient and motivate us in the present. The scriptures here endorse years of psychological research that states “it is not the past, but the future that conditions you”. Because what you commit yourself too determines what you are and become. The Eternal spirit through the psalmist is both encouraging and inspiring us with this vision of the future.
Let us then let this scene instruct, uplift and exhort us brethren and sisters with regards to our worship. Undoubtedly although the psalm is prophetic the scene pictured has to some degree already occurred during the days of Solomon in the temple worship of his day. We see the order and arrangement of Israel’s worship worked out under inspiration by his father David applied here.
Indeed I am convinced that 1st Chronicles twenty-three to twenty-nine actually provide us with a representative picture of worship in the age to come in the temple for all nations as Ezekiel’s visions describe.
Our Psalm opens then with the collective worship of Yahweh in his sanctuary. We have seen that in the first instance this performed by the Angels, then later Israel carried out this same function of praise in the temple in Jerusalem. In the apocalypse we find both groups combining along with the saints to fulfil these verses, before they are finally completed at the end of the millennium.
Revelation Chapter 5 and verses 10 – 11
“And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.”
Thus the psalm both begins and ends with “praise ye Yah” or “HalleluYah” a refrain that is exclusive to the Psalms. Now it is important to understand brethren and sisters that this refrain was not only sung, but also played upon the instruments. Hebrew as a language not only has numerical values assigned to the various twenty-two letters in the alphabet, but also musical notations, so that words could be set to music and sung.
This refrain meaning, “thou Yah are our boast” is actually the key, which sets the musical tone led by the “loud cymbals” of verse five of the psalm. These cymbals exclusively used by the Levites were used to provide the pitch reference to both the musicians and the singers. Most fascinating is the fact that the very noise they gave to set the pitch to guide the worship was the notes representing the name Yah.
In 1st Chronicles Chapter 15 and verse 16
“And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers with instruments of music, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy.”
To this we add Ezra Chapter 3 and verse 10:
“And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of Yahweh, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise Yahweh, after the ordinance of David king of Israel.”
Thus they literally played the name of Yah and He became their melody or their song, as Psalm 118 records “Yah is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.” This surely is the sense of the Eternal Spirit’s instruction through the Apostle Paul in Ephesians? “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”
Thirteen times in this psalm we are instructed to “praise or have our boast” in Yahweh our God. Thirteen of course is the number of rebellion in this case it is against the flesh. If we desire to overcome brethren and sisters we must make our God our boast rather than our own selves or anything of flesh, such as wealth, power or influence.
It is fascinating that twelve of these occurrences in the psalm are in the strongest and most emotionally intense form in the Hebrew, plus they are imperative commands. Speaking to us of the necessity of praise for our sakes, because praise is a gift so that we might learn to place worth where it truly belongs and to deepen our love for our God. Indeed such praise becomes then a means of developing and enhancing us both individually and collectively as we both worship and serve.
The number twelve also speaks to us symbolically of the whole Israel of God rendering unto him the perfection of such praise.
What about the other one of those praise statements, since there are thirteen in all. Well the only difference is in the first occasion in verse six “Let every thing that hath breath praise Yah”. Where the imperfect form is found indicating that such praise from those Yahweh has given life to, shall never end. Finally in this regard we are instructed nine times in the psalm to “praise him”, indicating to us that finally all praise will be directed to the Father.
The Psalmist now moves onto describe why we should give such praise to our Heavenly Father in the rest of verses one and two:
Verses 1 & 2
“Praise ye Yah. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.”
Thus the next phrase in that first verses is to “praise God” the Hebrew word for God is El or Ail indicating to us that Yah is the source of all power. He is the one who will bring about this jubilant state spoken of in the psalm through the work firstly of his Son, whom we shall shortly remember. Then through the saints and Israel restored under the direction of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This fact is borne out by, the further use of a different word for “power” at the end of the first verse. This word meaning “might” comes from a root word, which carries the idea of “prevailing”.
Herein is great comfort brethren and sisters “for if God be for us, who can be against us?” The answer to this rhetorical question is no-one, there is no power in heaven or earth can prevail against him and his will, except of course our free will, which our Heavenly Father has chosen himself to be limited by, because of his principle characteristic of love. The only thing then that will stop you or I brethren and sisters from entering into this joyous scene of worship in our psalm is our own unbelief.
The scriptures already declare that our Heavenly Father has prevailed in that our Lord whom we have come to consider has been raised from the dead, the outcome is already assured. The only question left remaining is can we believe it?
Yahweh has prevailed in the firmament we are told. Now this word is speaking of the expanse of heaven, but it is also used symbolically of the ruling powers over the earth. In terms of firstly the physical natural creation; secondly of the political powers and finally of religious powers.
Now this word “firmament” only appears in a few key places in scripture, namely it is concentrated in both Genesis chapter one and also in Ezekiel chapter one. It is found in three other places once in Daniel twelve speaking of the future role of the saints and twice in the psalms, here and in Psalm nineteen. Speaking of the rule of Christ.
Psalm 19 and verse 1:
“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.”
Thus since Yah is the ruling power in the firmament then all that is under it, is likewise under his control and subject to his will. Thus the psalmist continues that we are to praise our Heavenly Father “for his mighty acts and according to his excellent greatness.”
These mighty acts are those things that relate to the fulfilment of his plan and purpose, which have prevailed against the will of men and the strength of flesh.
The focus then is upon those acts that have to do with salvation. Such as the sacrifice we have come to remember. We know this is the case because this same expression is used twice in Psalm 145 to speak of the preaching during the millennium to the people still mortal.
Now the mightiest of all Yahweh’s acts is recorded for us in Ephesians:
Ephesians chapter one and verses 19 – 22
“And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us–ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the ecclesia.”
Thus the “excellent greatness”, being spoken of in verse two of Psalm 150 is the work of the new creation in and through the Lord Jesus Christ. This phrase is highlighting for us the abundance, the magnificence and the magnitude of these mighty acts.
Again we note the descriptions here brethren and sisters it’s His mighty acts & His excellent greatness. Drawing attention to the quality of the person of Almighty God and particularly his actions. For in those actions we see the very character of the Almighty revealed.
Thus all Yahweh’s powerful acts and His surpassing greatness call for praise. As Yahweh himself is superlative, then the praise rendered unto him should likewise be unlimited.
The Psalmist having explained why Yahweh is to be so praised and boasted in now moves onto how the praise that is Yahweh’s due is to be expressed. Thus in verses 3 – 5 the central and main body of the psalm, we have a glimpse backward to the worship, of Israel under its past glory. Also we have window to see forward into the worship of the temple in the age to come. A temple brethren and sisters that you and I will have a part in which we will sing and praise Yahweh throughout the period of the millennium.
Such worship as described here is totally foreign to us brethren and sisters. We generally worship with only one instrument at best and most of us if we are honest struggle with singing. Yet here we have ten instruments listed, trumpet psaltery, harp, timbrel, dance, stringed instruments, organs, cymbals two types and finally the human voice.
The number ten speaks firstly that this praise is according to law, as was revealed unto David in 1st Chronicles 23 & 25, then secondly it speaks of the corporate nature of worship in the age to come. There are only a few instances in scripture where we have this picture of the full range of music for worship used by Israel.
- David bringing up the ark unto Zion
- Jehoshaphat in the crisis with Ammonite
- The completion of the wall in the days of Nehemiah
Our Heavenly Father has given us the language of music, as it is firstly a powerful aid to help us assimilate divine ideas. For example one of the tests to see if a person has been drink driving that the Los Angeles Police Department use is the ability to verbally recite the alphabet. Apparently if you are under the influence you cannot recite the sequence properly. But you can still sing it correctly, because the music layers the alphabet concept much deeper in your brain.
Music also carries with it the ability to engage our emotions and our body, so that our whole being becomes involved in the worship. This is clear from verse 4 where dance is cited as an instrument of music and worship. Yet our Heavenly Father regards dance as an acceptable form of worship.
In Biblical antiquity, as in many eastern cultures, dancing was the bodily expression of music. It was performed to the accompaniment of musical instruments, especially the timbrel, to convey feelings of pleasure and joy. The use of the body as a musical instrument involved stamping of the feet, clapping of the hands, rhythmic twisting and writhing, and using accompanying instruments such as timbrels and small cymbals. The Hebrew word here for “dance” in verse 4 means, “to whirl around”, obviously with great activity and joy. Thus dance was considered an instrument producing music in its own right.
If you glance at the first three verses of Psalm 149 it seems to indicate brethren and sisters that we shall likewise so dance before Yahweh in the age to come.
Good music brethren and sisters according to scientific studies actually enhance the natural rhythms of the body and mind creating feelings of harmony and peace. Music appears to have many positive properties, which can be utilised brethren to aid in our worship and praise of our Heavenly Father.
The psalmist then having described this incredible noisy and jubilant worship scene of the age to come, brings the psalm to a close in verse six:
“Let every thing that hath breath praise Yah. Praise ye Yah.”
Thus the psalm ends with the same refrain it began with the “HalleluYah” a call to give praise. Yet before that in the first part of the verse we read “let every thing that hath breath praise Yah”.
The Hebrew here actually only has “all breath”, to which the translators have given the sense. This undoubtedly is a subtle reference back to Genesis chapter two and the creation of Adam and Eve into which Yahweh breathed the breath of life. Yet this praise “all breath” rings true of the one we have come to remember in which every breath taken was used to praise his Father.
In another sense this phrase “all breath” likewise stands collectively for what shall be the case at the end of the millennium when all shall be like the Master and “with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
We must brethren and sisters, learn to make scenes from the future like the worship and praise depicted here in the 150th psalm part of our desires and longings as they must have been and still very much are a part of our beloved Master. These windows into the millennium were designed by the Eternal Spirit to develop our longing “for (that) new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness”.
Now as we finally come to break bread and to drink wine in memory of our Lord until He comes to make this wonderful scene of complete praise a reality in our lives. We see in the bread brethren and sisters our forerunner the Master the word made flesh. This bread which speaks to us of the power of the word of life to enlighten our minds and set before us and fill our thinking with that joy of the realities of the age to come. That we might be comforted encouraged and inspired to see their fulfilment.
Likewise in the wine we see the Master the lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Who was slain to redeem us to the Father for the purpose of being able to both serve and praise him throughout the ages of eternity? Thus in the wine we see not only the price that was paid, but also more importantly the choices that the Master made. His faithful worship of his Father in a life of praise, where every breath he took was used to fulfil the Fathers will, even to the laying down of his life, as the acceptable sacrifice for sin.
What of us brethren and sisters are we equally willing to make the same personal choice to give our lives in praise in service, as living sacrifices for one another. So that we might one with one voice praise the Father throughout the ages of eternity, as depicted here in this final psalm?