“Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven.”
~Psalm 148:13 (NRSV).
Think of the entire compilation of creation—the heavenly creatures and features and the earthly creatures and features—blocking out not one from conscious thought—and we begin to comprehend the composition of praise the psalmist calls for in this psalm.
The structure of Psalm 148 is uniform: the angels and heavenly host are called to praise the Lord in verses 1-4, before substantiating reason is given for such praise in verses 5-6; the formula is then replicated in verses 7-12, where this time the things of earth are called to praise, with substantiating reason given in verses 13-14.
The Heavenly Creatures And Features
From a human perspective, thought for praise from a nonhuman source seems inordinate—we think praise is an expression exclusive to thinking-feeling humanity, until we read the Bible and it reminds us what occurs in the heavens. And just the very existence of the constituents in the heavenly realm compels praise (Psalm 19:1).
This section of the psalm harkens us back to the creation story in Genesis 1 and 2. God called these heavenly things into being and assessed them, in Divine knowledge, as “good” or, equivalently, perfect.
One reflective look at the starry host on a clear night commends us to agree with verses 1-6. Wonder there must be in abundance!
The Earthly Creatures And Features
If the heavenly realm can be called to laud God for the finery of creation, the subordinate of creation—the earthly things—must count it privilege to be called in the same way.
Things nearer to humanity’s sight—sea monsters, all the deep, fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind, mountains, the tallest trees, wild animals and cattle, creeping things and birds; kings and all peoples, young and old men and women alike—must address God replete with the respect Divinity deserves: Praise Him.
Of all creation, humanity has most reason to form its existence around praise, for there is no rationality anything close to God as humanity is; we have minds to conceive praise, and hearts upon which to base such awed thoughts.
Praise for God is the emotion of awe in consideration of the nature and works of the Creator. All praise is due such Divine entity, for which all things exist. Everything that is, and ever was, and ever will be, has reason to praise the Almighty God.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.