Friday, March 26, 2010

Song of Emphatic, Gut-Rending Praise – Psalm 150

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.”

~Psalm 150:6a (NIV).

The final lap of a NASCAR race is much the same as the first, with a few exceptions—not the least of which, the adrenalin pumps whilst the leading pack of drivers try to remain poised. It is hardly relevant to mention they’re going absolutely flat out!

This helps us understand Psalm 150—a race to the very end.

Destination: God.

Vehicle: Praise!

What a topsy-turvy journey the Psalms are. Though over a third are laments, the progression is positive—the crescendo of praise is noted, building from Psalm 146 onwards, concluding with a heavenly crackle of choral praise in this psalm, where no less than thirteen times are the words, hillel (Hebrew verb for “praise”) and hallelujah (‘praise the Lord’) used; praise starts every line bar one—the one above—and this line ends with it!

The real message is the building imperative toward a concluding trumpeting command—praise the Lord!

According to Mays, “The act of praising the Lord is lifted up as [both] possibility and responsibility. The responsibility is given to all for whom it is a possibility, all who have breath.”[1]

It is due us, if we breathe air, to ascribe volleying harmonies of praise to our living God; the One who gives life and that abundantly.

All in a tizz we are enraptured for the Lord our God, for all the foregoing (psalms) and for the goodness and greatness of God.

Psalm 150 is actually a pretty awkward place to start or to pick-up-from. Its role is conclusion, when things are already at a deafening fever pitch. It is, however, our call to fervently align with the mood chastened forth. We’re to love God so passionately that our very fingers, toes and tongue move and sing with praise to the One who was, and is, and is to come!—the great ‘I AM.’

As both races finish—the NASCAR race and the race for a life praising God—perfection is founded; the crux of performance at the moment of truth.

Praise is first and last for God and about God.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

[1] James L. Mays, Psalms – Interpretation Series (Louisville, Kentucky: John Knox Press, 1994), p. 450.

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