1 Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD from the heavens, praise him in the heights above. 2 Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his heavenly hosts. 3 Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars. 4 Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies. 5 Let them praise the name of the LORD, for he commanded and they were created. 6 He set them in place for ever and ever; he gave a decree that will never pass away.
7 Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, 8 lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, 9 you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, 10 wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds, 11 kings of the earth and all nations, you princes and all rulers on earth, 12 young men and maidens, old men and children. 13 Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his splendour is above the earth and the heavens.
14 He has raised up for his people a horn, the praise of all his saints, of Israel, the people close to his heart. Praise the LORD.
Psalm 148 – From Heaven to Earth to mankind
(Verses 1-6) This psalm starts with ‘Praise the LORD from the heavens.’ The word ‘heaven’ has three meanings. First, the ultimate, eternal, and perfect Heaven is pictured in Revelation 21, and referred to there as the ‘new Heaven’ or the ‘new Jerusalem’. It is home to ‘all His angels’, also called ‘all His heavenly hosts.’ (Some rebelled and were cast out of Heaven.) This Heaven is the first one in the ‘choir’ bidden to ‘Praise Him’. Our Three-in-One God reigns over everyone and everything for ever and deserves their praise. It is where saved sinners are with Christ forever, and join in Heaven’s praise of Jesus with ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honour and glory and blessing.’ (Revelation 5:12). Like sinners now, they are ‘saved’ only because the blood of Jesus was shed for them as He bore their sins and judgment on Calvary’s cross in their place. The second ‘heaven’ is the home of the ‘sun and moon’ and ‘shining stars’, which we loosely call ‘space’. Then there is the third heaven where aeroplanes now fly, and where clouds billow and rain falls. Genesis chapter 1 tells us how, by His word, God created in an instant and set in place permanently, these vast and seemingly timeless second and third types of heavens. These created heavens join the praise ‘choir’ and are urged, poetically, to ‘praise Him.’
(Verses 7-10) After the heavens we now ‘praise the LORD’ from Planet Earth. Again poetically, all creation, including all living creatures, are bidden to ‘praise the LORD’. As in the case of the heavens, they already cause open observers to find the urge to praise God arising within them. We do need to carefully consider all God’s design, beauty and power in His Creation, and praise Him for all that even when we feel no ‘inner urge’ to do so. Here are examinable facts. This varied ‘choir of poetic worshippers’ includes the ‘great sea creatures’, the ocean, cold and stormy conditions, mountains and hills. They all make thinking men and women aware of God’s power and design. I remember, even before I came to know Christ, that feeling of ‘There must be a God’ just by gazing around from the top of Ilkley Moor in my native Yorkshire. Cedars and fruit trees, which represent what God grows in His earth, are joined by animals, both wild and domestic (‘cattle’), ‘small creatures and ‘flying birds’.(I assume the birds form the treble section of this great ‘choir’!) But all these are relatively few examples of God’s amazing, miraculous and very varied Creation.
(Verses 12-13) Now we focus on man, God’s steward who oversees Creation. God commands mankind to ‘praise the name of the LORD, for His name alone is exalted; His splendour is above the earth and the heavens.’ Only man, a spiritual and thinking being, can grasp logic like that. But which kind of men are now commanded, not merely recommended, to praise God? In one word, ‘everyone’—young and old, men and women, and children. This universal command is for ‘all rulers on earth’ and ‘all nations’. ‘All’ kings, princes, rulers and people are included, no matter who they are or where their ‘nations’ are. Now God ‘commands all people everywhere to repent’. (Acts 17:30) No exceptions exist: ‘all nations’ and ‘all people everywhere’.
(Verse 14) All the world’s people must ‘praise the LORD’, but we close by focusing on the few who really want to ‘praise the LORD’. It is music in their ears and produces a joyful and willing response. These men and women are ‘His people’ who are ‘saints’ (set apart) for the Lord. Israel was in mind when this psalm was written. Now, it refers to all repentant sinners who receive Christ as Lord and Saviour. Such people then form part of God’s universal church. They should seek to join a local church of ‘born again’ sinners. ‘Horn’ points to strength: God makes believers strong in Christ by praising God together, including you, if you trust and ‘praise the LORD’.