Psalm 150
The Rev. Dr. Robert S. Langworthy, preaching
March 17, 2024

God wants our entire lives to be one long, happy Hallelujah – a continual joyful song of praise!

Countless scriptures and many church confessions over the centuries make it clear that we cannot fulfill our fundamental purpose in life apart from glorifying God.  Though we can glorify God in many ways, the most obvious is to glorify Him in our praise.

The Book of Psalms sounds out the call to praise God more loudly than any other theme in it.

Today’s Psalm, the 150th psalm, the last psalm of all, sums up them all with this concluding plea: “Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!”

The final book of the Bible, Revelation, tells us about the day when God’s complete will is going to be perfectly fulfilled.  Then all kinds of human beings – “from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages” – will sing God’s praise together; and all kinds of non-human beings – “every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea” – will praise God as well.  It’s why Psalm 148, just two psalms before today’s, calls “sea monsters and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and frost …mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds” to praise the Lord, each in its own way.

So, if the Bible tells us every creature can glorify God, shouldn’t we believe we can…at least as well as, say, an earthworm?  And shouldn’t we think we can do it significantly – particularly when recent scientific research shows that even humble creatures like the earthworm have more of a contribution to make than meets the eye – or the ear?

In his book All In, Mark Batterson cites studies in the field of bioacoustics.  They indicate we’re constantly surrounded by millions of ultrasonic sounds.  The electron shell of the carbon atom produces the same harmonic scale as a Gregorian chant, meadowlarks sing with a range of three hundred notes, and earthworms make staccato sounds with a beat.  The physicist Arnold Sommerfeld once wryly remarked that a hydrogen atom, by emitting one hundred frequencies, is more musical than a grand piano, which emits only eighty-eight.

Science writer Lewis Thomas summed it up this way:  “If we had better hearing, and could discern the [singing] of birds, the rhythmic [drumming] of…mollusks [and earthworms!], and the distant harmonies of [flies] hanging over meadows in the sun, the combined sound might lift us off our feet.”

We do well then to praise God with whomever is there to join us – whether it be angels “in his mighty firmament”, off-key neighbors “in his sanctuary”, or earthworms in the mud.

We also do well to praise God however we can – whether it be to “trumpet…tambourine…strings and pipes…[or] loud clashing cymbals” or to the rhythmic beats of earthworms – whether it be with eloquence or silence, with insight or awed and admitted ignorance – with whatever we’ve got, however grand or modest we think it.  For what matters is that we each do our best with all our heart.

To glorify God is to worship God; and to worship God is, as Tim Keller put it, “to see what God is worth and to give God what He is worth”: that is, give God’s glorification all we’ve got, however little it may seem.

And we are to give all we’ve got to glorify God not just in His sanctuary, but in our workplace, in our home, at the movie theatre, at the gym, in the grocery store, wherever we are.  For while we glorify God most intensely in the praise of church worship, we glorify God most effectively in how we live through the length and breadth of our life.  We reflect God’s glory most brightly when we are fully ourselves and fully alive; and that happens as we offer ourselves into God’s service without reservation and submit to His governance of us without qualification.  In light of this, we can see why that great spiritual writer William Law, whose devotion to communal worship and private prayer was legendary, would assert that those who express appreciation for God in every part of their life because it comes from God, praise God better than, for example, those who sing the psalms every day.

But why, apart from God’s commanding it, should we prioritize praising God?  Because He deserves it and we can then do Him some justice!  Why does He deserve it?  Today’s psalm identifies two reasons.  We praise Him 1) “according to his surpassing greatness” and we praise Him 2) “for his mighty deeds”.

When we praise God “according to his surpassing greatness”, we praise Him for who He is in Himself, apart from what He might do for us: the God who is infinitely kind in mercy and generosity, completely perfect in holiness and righteousness, supremely sublime in majesty and magnificence.

When we praise God “for his mighty deeds”, we praise Him for His loving actions on our behalf: in creating us, sustaining us and saving us by His great feats of grace – most particularly by the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus, which we especially celebrate during Holy Week, starting next Sunday.

We fulfill our highest purpose and attain our deepest pleasure as we live out the Hallelujah life, praising the Lord wherever we are, whenever we can, with whomever will join us, and with whatever we’ve got!  Hallelujah!  Let us pray!

Write a comment:

© 2015 Covenant Presbyterian Church
Follow us: