The Book of Psalms is the greatest worship handbook ever compiled, the greatest hymnal ever penned, and the greatest collection of exhortations to worship ever assembled. Every worship pastor or worship leader is wise to throw him/herself into the sacred Psalms. The Book of Psalms ends with:
Hallelujah! Praise God in His sanctuary.
Praise Him in His mighty heavens.
Praise Him for His powerful acts; praise Him for His abundant greatness.
Praise Him with trumpet blast; praise Him with harp and lyre.
Praise Him with tambourine and dance; praise Him with flute and strings.
Praise Him with resounding cymbals; Praise Him with clashing cymbals.
Let everything that breathes praise the Lord.
Hallelujah literally means, “Praise the Lord.” In the text, the word is in the imperative, which means it is a command. The psalm is one massive and repetitive command to praise the Lord. The editor of the Psalms believed Psalm 150 is the right and appropriate conclusion to all of the Psalms. The Psalms are loaded with incredible content: godly people crying out to God in the midst of pain, joyful celebrations in good times, and psalms that point to Jesus hundreds of years before His birth. And in conclusion to all the rich content in the Psalms, the Psalmist opens and closes the last Psalm in this incredible book on worship with the same statement: “Praise the Lord!” The right and appropriate conclusion to the entire Book of Psalms is simply and profoundly: Hallelujah.
The text flows beautifully and answers some logical questions for us:
Where do God’s people praise Him?
The text instructs us to praise God in His sanctuary and in His mighty heavens. We are to gather together and praise Him in His sanctuary just as those in the heavens gather together and praise God. Right now in this very moment, He is worshipped perfectly and purely in the heavens.
Why do we praise God?
Praise Him for His powerful acts; praise Him for His abundant greatness! We praise Him for who He is, His excellent greatness. The Psalmist says He is more than a great God. His greatness is abundant, over-flowing. He is greater than we can imagine. His holiness is infinitely more holy than our possible understanding of holiness. His love is infinitely more loving than our understanding of love. His power is infinitely more powerful than anything powerful we can conceive. He is awesome and we should stand in awe of Him. We praise Him for who He is. But we also praise Him for what He has done. He has created us, forgiven us, and been gracious to us. His deeds are great. The God who created the world also placed himself in a manger and on a cross. When we remember what He has done, our response is to praise Him.
How do we praise Him?
Notice the array of instruments: trumpet, lute, harp, tambourine, strings, pipe, and loud clashing cymbals. Some should circle the word “loud.” It’s in the Bible. Yes I know that there is such a thing as too loud. But in the Psalms – God says get those loud clashing cymbals out and praise Me with those. It’s as if God is saying, grab everything you can and praise Me. Whatever you can use–use it. Let everything that breathes praise the Lord. Hallelujah!