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PSALM 148

A Hallelujah Psalm!

1 Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights. 2 Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts. 3 Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light. 4 Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. 5 Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created. 6 He hath also stablished them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass. 7 Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps: 8 Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word: 9 Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars: 10 Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl: 11 Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth: 12 Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children: 13 Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven. 14 He also exalteth the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise ye the LORD.

 

 A Preacher in his Study

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LESSON 1, VERSES 1-2:

The Psalm is beautiful not only for what it says, but for how it says it! Truthfully, it's a delight to try to preach Psalm 148.

Let me explain.

Psalm 148 belongs to a group of Psalms named, or nicknamed, by a number of Bible teachers "The Hallelujah Psalms."

They include Psalms 146-150. Each begins and ends with the same words, "Praise ye the Lord." In Hebrew that clause is spelled "Halel Yah," or "Hallelujah" when fused together.

"Halel" clearly means "praise" in Hebrew. And "Yah" is a shortened Form of God's great Name "Jehovah!"

Hence, ten times, "Hallelujah," two from each Psalm, Psalms 146-150.

Thus, the Psalms end on a very high note! With a grand finale! They build in intensity! A symphony of praise!

Psalm 148 begins with an exhortation.

"Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights. Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts." Psalm 148:1-2

Five times the same verb is used! Each time "halel" is expressed as an imperative! Someone is being commanded to praise God! The root meaning of "halel" is "to shine!" To brighten up! To flash forth light! It can also mean "to brag" on someone! To commend him! And the particular verb form used here, all five times, means to do so intensely!

Twice "Lord" is used, with the all caps spelling, "LORD." That means "Jehovah" God. However, here in Psalm 148, this Name is shortened in its first occurrence! It's just "Yah." But the second time it's "Yhvh," called the four-letter Tetragrammaton. When the vowels are added to "Yhvh" you read "Yehovah," or "Jehovah" in English.

The heart of this Name for God is the verb "to be." In other words, "Jehovah" is the God Who "is." He always is! He's not the "was" God! He's not the "going-to-be" God! He's the "I am right now" God! Eternally so! He never changes!

But notice here, in our Verses today, who is supposed to praise God! First of all! "Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights. Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts."

The first implication is that everybody is to do so! "Praise ye the Lord," with no specific worshipper implied! It's like Psalm 150's "Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD."

But then immediately comes more information. "Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights. Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts." 

"From the heavens!" The noun "shamayim" means "lofty, exalted, elevated." It's translated "heaven" 398 times in the King James Bible and "air" 21 more times. This area can include anything from where the birds fly to where the comets soar to the very Abode of Almighty God! "The third Heaven" as Paul would later call it.

"The heights" is just another way of renaming the heavens. It's an example of Hebrew poetic "parallelism." That's just saying the same thing in another way. It's often done in the Psalms and Proverbs of Israel. "Marom" means "a raised place." It's verbal foot, "rum," means "to be exalted, to be uplifted, to be tall." Way up yonder!

But then the Psalmist gets even more precise. "Angels" are now required to praise the Lord! In Hebrew "angel" is represented by the noun "malak," just "messengers, representatives, deputies, ambassadors." How many angels are there? Paul tells us, "an innumerable company of angels," from Hebrews 12:22.

Seraphim, cherubim, archangels, regular angels, maybe even some who are now fallen angels! All at one time praised the Lord! Most are continuing to this very second! Heaven is now, among other things, a great angelic choir loft! Glory to God!

Then again, in parallel, are God's "hosts." Spelled "tzsaba," and based on a verb meaning "to go forth," we here have the Hebrew noun for "army!" Soldiers, men of war!

Yes, angels protect!

Angels fight!

Angels defend!

Speaking of angels, Hebrews 1:14 reminds us: "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" Here's an idea in seed form, the implication of guardian angels! To "minister" is "to serve!"

The armies of God consist of angelic hosts, throngs, multitudes upon multitudes!

All of whom here are demanded to praise the Lord God Almighty!

What a sight!

What a sound!

More angels than democrats!

More angels than republicans!

More angels than atheists!

More angels than even Christians!

"Innumerable," remember?

All worshipping our great God!

Makes me want to sing too!

"And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne ... and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing." John from Patmos in Revelation 5:11-12

Go ahead, angels of God, praise Him more and more!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

Oh, by the way, when God is in His "warring" Role, when the battle is raging, He is often called "the Lord of Hosts!" The Lord of the armies! The Commander of all the angels! I've found, by computer search, the Name "Lord of Hosts" 245 times in the Word of God!

Here they are! "And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha." The angelic hosts of Heaven, the armies of God! Yes, "Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them." 2nd Kings 6:16, Elisha to his attendant.

Amen!

 

 

LESSON 2, VERSES 3-4:

Many Churches still have one, a "call to worship." Usually it's a hymn of praise and adoration. Literally a summons to magnify the Mighty Name of God!

Well, Psalm 148 is, perhaps more than any other Bible Psalm, an invitation to praise! To keep things parallel, a "call to praise." 

Listen to today's verses: "Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light. Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens." Psalm 148:3-4

Here's a trip through space! Both orbital and sub-orbital!

With three more "Praise Him" imperatives, this Psalm is setting some kind of record!

Remember that Verses 1 and 2 had six such admonitions! Count them. I'll help you with some underlining. "Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights. Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts." Psalm 148:1-2

Wow, eight times in four verses, "Praise the Lord!"

The angelic hosts began the chorus! Again that's in the first two verses.

But, today, other heavenly phenomena are invited! Verses three and four.

"Sun" is "shemesh" in Hebrew, "that which is brilliant!" To know the role the sun is playing every day, see Psalm 19:4-6. "He set a tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof." A bridegroom and a strong man, both pictures of Christ Jesus!

"Moon" is "yareach," having something to do with "monthly" cycles of time. Think of the phases of the moon each month! The night time praises God in Psalm 8:3-4. "When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?" The moon, no source of light itself, merely a reflector, is a picture of the Church or perhaps the individual child of God! Reflecting the light of the Sun, the Son really!

"Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light. Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens." Our Text again, Psalm 148:3-4

Next the "stars" are conscripted! "Kobab" just means "blazing," how very appropriate! I am reminded of the stark brevity of Genesis 1:16. "He made the stars also." Yes, and man is still counting them! Perhaps each has a story to tell, a testimony to give!

Notice they are called "stars of light" too. This might imply that certain stars exist that have quit giving light! That maybe are ingesting light! Black holes, I think they're called today. 

In the Hebrew language "superlatives" are made by doubling the noun and placing "of" in between. "Song of songs" is the best ever written! "King of Kings" is the most sovereign of all! And the "Holy of Holies" was the most sanctified place on earth!

Thus, "heaven of heavens" must be the very Abode of God! And even there, He is to be praised! Especially there!

Then a bit of science. I dare say science that had not yet been discovered when the Psalmist wrote these words. "Praise God ... ye waters that be above the heavens."

Yes, with satellites we now know of the vast resources of water flowing through the skies, suspended in the atmosphere! One science text I studied several years ago suggested several aerial rivers of water, at least the size of the Mississippi River, snake their way through the heavens! "And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so." Genesis 1:7

More members of the choir!

Sun, moon, and all the little stars!

Heavens and waters, you too!

Praise ye the Lord!

Surely, eventually, we mere humans can get in on this too!

I sure do want to praise Him today, don't you?

After all, He is most worthy!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3, VERSES 5-6:

Today's Text further exhorts heavenly bodies, some alive and some not, to praise the Lord! Now speaking of them rather than to them, the Psalmist continues: "Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created. He hath also stablished them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass." Psalm 148:5-6

Although it's unnecessary, God is about to tell us WHY His Name should be praised. I'm sure classes of angels have poured over these Verses again and again throughout eternity!

The first verb, "praise" in English or "halal" in Hebrew, is here expressed as a piel imperfect action word. This means that the activity prescribed is to be vigorous! Energetic! That's the piel stem. And the sense of time the verb possesses is that of continuous action, incomplete action. Habitual and on-going praise! That's the imperfect part, meant only grammatically.

To praise God's "name" is to praise Him! In Hebrew "shem" implies the whole Person. One's "name" is one's "character!

Now, here's one reason why God is to be so extolled. "For He commanded, and they were created." He is the Creator! Not yet dealing with His great Redeemer status, He is the Originator of all life! The Source! To "command" is "to charge, to give orders, to order." This is one of those rare instances where God is not directly pictured as the active Agent in creation, but the Supervisor, the First Cause behind it all. Likely Jesus is here estimated to be the primary Creator! "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." John 1:1-3

The verb "created" is "bara" in Hebrew, "to make something out of nothing!" To shape, form, or fashion. If I'm not mistaken, every Biblical use of "bara" has God as its Subject. Indeed, only God can make something out of nothing!

Here's a second reason all things heavenly should be glorifying our Great God, the Creator. "He hath also stablished them for ever and ever." The first verb is "amad," meaning "to make stand, to cause to endure, to give longevity." Here, not only is life a gift from God, so is its durability! Psalm 139:16 implies that God already knows the exact amount of time we shall live! "In thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them." That expression "in continuance" translates "yom," even our "days" are foreknown by God, how many days we shall live on earth!

And every new day is a gift from God! "It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23, "new every morning!"

"For ever and ever" anglicizes "ad olam" from Hebrew. "Ad" means "perpetuity," literally that which "goes on and on!" And "olam" pictures the farthest point you can see, the "vanishing" point, and hints that the matter at hand survives way beyond that far distant mark! Hence, eternal!

Then a third idea is advanced. Praise God because ... "He hath made a decree which shall not pass."

"Made" translates "nathan," primarily meaning "to give." To grant, to permit. The noun "decree" is "choq," merely "a statute or ordinance," but especially in this sense, "something proscribed, limited, bound by higher powers."

"Shall not pass" defines "abar," a Herbrew verb meaning "to bring across, to carry through." God's decree here will not "pass away" or "pass on." I take this clause to be protective, defensive for the creatures of God. Limits have been set by the Creator! To pass them is to invite trouble! These are restrictions that not only guide our lives ("Thou shat not ....") but also restrain our enemies ("Touch not God's anointed."). It's just wonderful, amazing!

So, let's hear it, all non-earthly citizens of the universe!

Praise the Lord!

Because He made you!

Because He sustains you!

And because He protects you!

And to the rest of us, still strangers and pilgrims on earth, take note!

There are no doubt many more than three reasons why we should be worshipping God's Name! Maybe three dozen, or three hundred! Three thousand? More than we will ever be able to count!

Get a head start!

Praise Him all day long!

Before breakfast!

Before Church!

Through all the hours!

Then, before bedtime too!

Remember, from Psalm 148:5-6. "Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created. He hath also stablished them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass." 

Psalm 148 is as full of praise as any chapter in the whole Bible! And that's a lot of chapters! To be precise, exactly 1,189 of them!

If we could only hear them, sun and moon and stars and angels too, only understand them right now! We could already be auditors of this great celestial choir!

Training for Heaven!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

Now ...

Get ready for tomorrow's Verses! The Lord willing, this "heavenly" praise from Psalm 148:1-6 literally comes to earth! We are going to have an opportunity to praise Him too!

 

 

LESSON 4, VERSES 7-8:

Psalm 148 has toured the heavens! There it exhorted, really it commanded, each entity to praise the Lord! The angels, the sun and moon, stars, and everything else, including the very atmosphere ... all were invited to join the glorious choir!

Now, beginning with verses 7 and 8, earth is invited to participate as well.

Let's join the Psalmist, as they say, "already in progress." He writes under the direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God. "Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps: fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word." Psalm 148:7-8

The noun "earth" is "eretzs" in Hebrew. It generally means the world in this sense; the land, the fields, the ground, as well as the nations. Geography and politics, both of which deny God now!

But some day, the creatures (living) and features (not living) of this globe on which we live will truly praise the Lord!

For example, going back to verse 7, "Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps."

Jehovah God will be glorified by "dragons?"

Yes!

The word is "tanniyn," found only 21 times in the Bible. Three times it's translated "whale or whales." Once it's "sea monster." But, indeed, 21 times it's rendered "dragon or dragons" and thrice more as "serpent."

Apply this?

The giant animals of the ocean depths are being commanded to praise God! I know one that did, for sure! The whale, the great fish, of Jonah's day! How obedient he was, or she! Do the marine species know their Creator? Apparently so!

But, too, the day is coming when the old serpent himself, Lucifer, the Devil, will "bow his knee and confess with his mouth" that JESUS CHRIST IS LORD! Every knee will do that, and every tongue!

The Devil must admit, sooner or later, that God is right!

That God is holy!

That God has never done anything wrong!

That Heaven is real!

That Hell is just!

That Eternity never ends!

And that, wow, sin does not pay! Rather, it does not pay well! In fact, it costs dearly! The wages of sin is death forever ... in an unending place of torment and agony!

Such admissions are a form of praise, even if coerced!

The "deeps" of our verse is "tehom," the steep "subterranean waters" of the seas. "Abyss" is a good synonym.

We do not yet know all that's down there! We can't get there to consistently study and investigate! The water pressure is too great!

Man though his history has regularly uncovered, still is for that matter, discovering previously unknown sea life!

Like fish with no eyes, it's so dark down there! They don't need them!

Or eels with red "tail lights," for identification purposes probably!

All these little fellows will praise our great God! They've already been invited to the Celebration!

"Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps: fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word." Psalm 148:7-8

As you can see, the Psalmist next turns to points meteorological.

Five "weather" events!

All bragging on the Lord!

"Fire," spelled "esh," means hot flames! Lightning, for example! The fiery destruction of Sodom and its suburbs, too! And Hell itself! Ask Moses about that bush, too, when you get to Heaven!

And I've not even reviewed fire's dominant role during the Tribulation!

"Hail" too, glorifying God! Like the hail that God used to give Israel victory over the Midianites one day! Or the hail during the plagues of Egypt. Or the hundred-pound hailstones yet to fall on earth as described in Revelation 16:21. Ice, praising God!

Then "snow" too! "Sheleg" appears 20 times in the Bible, more in Job than any other Book! Remember that lion in a pit on a snowy day, 2nd Samuel 23:20? God controls the snow! "For He saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth." Job 37:6 teaches us this. But most often, I think, "snow" is used as an illustration! "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow." Isaiah 1:18

Now that makes me praise the Lord!

"Vapour" is most often gaseous water, in this context anyway. In Scripture it means either smoke or vapour, but only 4 times total. Ironically it comes from a word group meaning "to sacrifice." To burn incense!

Fog, worshipping God!

And yet in the future, "And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke." So promises God in Acts 2:19.

Then comes the "stormy wind!" The word "stormy" is "saar," most often describing a tornado, a giant "whirlwind!" And "wind" is "ruach," same as "Spirit" in the Old Testament. We, according to Psalm 104:3, serve a Lord "Who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind." I think of that every time the weather gets violent!

And the Day of Pentecost, that sound of a rushing mighty "wind!"

And think of the times Jesus stilled the "wind," it obeying immediately!

All of them, dragons and depths and fire and hail and snow and vapour and wind ... "fulfilling" God's Word! "Asah," a verb," means "to do or to make or to fashion or produce!" Sounds like God commanded it ... and nature followed His Will! Helping Almighty God!

Blow, wind!

Fall, snow!

Rise, vapour!

Here, whale!

And, when God speaks, gladly they respond!

All praising God in the process!

And when these all obey their Creator, other creatures will join the team too! Probably even ... "the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands." Isaiah 55:12

I deny atheism!

I embrace the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all of Scripture!

I worship His Son Jesus!

This great God has redeemed my soul!

Move over, wind and snow and fishes, I've got to honour Him too!

What a privilege to be alive this Monday morning!

Praise the Lord!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5, VERSES 9-10:

The Heavens have been asked to praise the Lord! The angels inhabiting Heaven too!

Then the earth joined the chorus!

Even geographical designations!

Then animals!

"Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars: beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl." All these are to magnify our already great God! This list is taken word-for-word from Psalm 148:9-10.

But how do mountains glorify God?

Ask Mount Sinai!

Ask Mount Calvary!

In the future ask Armageddon, which means "the mountains of Megoddo."

Ask the quaking mountains of the Tribulation or the splitting mountains when Jesus returns to earth!

Ask the mountains where Jesus preached!

Or was transfigured!

Yes, they can praise the Lord quite handily!

And "hills" are just little mountains! Just like "har" means "mountains" in Hebrew, "gibah" means "hills." It is from a base word that means a "bowl or cup," being shaped like these items when inverted.

Like the "thousands of little hills" that provide grazing places for God's cattle! See Psalm 50:10.

The "fruitful trees" too!

Like that fig tree Jesus noticed one day, expecting fruit!

Or the olive trees that represent Israel!

Under which Jesus prayed night after night! Linking the last verse of John 7 and the first verse of John 8, you will see what I mean. "And every man went unto his own house. Jesus went unto the mount of Olives."

Trees that are obeying that first command, "Be fruitful, and multiply." Genesis 1:22

Then, surprisingly, God specifically mentions "cedars." The verse again: "Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars."

Spelled "erez," in Hebrew "cedars" comes from a word that means "to be firm, to be strong!" God admires stability, faithfulness! It's part of His very Nature, His Essence! "I am the LORD, I change not." Malachi 3:6

God built His House largely out of cedar wood!

It smells good! It does not easily rot! It is repels enemy insects! It is lovely to behold! It is associated with mountains too! All are praiseworthy traits!

Next verse, verse 10, which we need to study today. "Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl." You all must be included too, praise ye the Lord!

The word for "beasts" is "chay" in Hebrew, any "living thing." Animals of all sizes and shapes!

At Jesus' temptation, and only Mark tells us this: "And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto Him." Mark 1:13

Think of the donkey and Balaam!

The ravens and Elijah!

The little wild colt Jesus rode into Jerusalem in Matthew 21.

The animals pairing to enter the ark of Noah!

"All cattle" too!

"Behemah" is the word. It's from a root word meaning "to be mute." But our Lord still cared for them! Even in Jonah's day: "And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?" God "spared" the cattle! Jonah 4:11

God wants us to care for the animals too! "A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast," so said Solomon in Proverbs 12:10.

One day in 1st Samuel chapter six some lowing cattle brought the Ark of the Covenant home to Israel!

And it's strange that "creeping things" would be enlisted, registered to praise the Lord! "Remes" just means things that  "walk on all fours." Remember the plagues of Egypt? The locusts and all the anguish they caused! They could both creep and fly!

The serpents in the wilderness! The one on a pole especially! What a sermon it preached in Numbers chapter twenty-one. Jesus alluded to them in John 3, while talking to Nicodemus, "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:14-15

Not counting their activity in the Book of Revelation! Like that demonic invasion from Hell! "For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt." Creeping across the earth, leaving pain and agony in their wake, Revelation 9:19

Lastly, "flying fowl" too!

The little sparrows Jesus mentioned!

The dove who scouted for Noah!

The one Who descended on Jesus at His Baptism, typifying the Holy Spirit of God!

The vultures in Revelation 19:17-18. "And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great."

That nosey little bird in Ecclesiastes 10:20. "Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter."

Wow!

All of the animal kingdom!

Praising Almighty God!

Could I tell you something?

I believe this Text, entirely!

Somehow, although now beyond our ability to discern, the created world, even its so-called inanimate members, are thanking and glorifying and uplifting and praising their Creator!

And our Redeemer!

So be it, Lord!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

LESSON 6, VERSES 11-12:

The following, from Psalm 148:11-12, are being asked to praise the Lord: "Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth: both young men, and maidens; old men, and children."

After the heavens and all that is therein contained, the oceans and all their inhabitants, the various weather conditions like snow and wind and lightning, the mountains, the trees, the cattle, the bugs and the birds ... after all these, man is invited to join the choir!

To join the symphony ... and praise the Lord!

I say "man," but mean "mankind," a whole list of people, human beings. The list is specific.

It begins with "Kings," spelled "melek" in Hebrew, and based on a verb that means "to reign." Beginning at the top, with royalty, God is to be honored, even in the palaces of earth.

But immediately our Text demands praise for God from "all people." We've just gone from the top to the bottom! From the wealthy King to the poor common laborer! From the healthy Monarch to the sickly patient in intensive care! From the famous and powerful to the unknown and insignificant!

All "people," in Hebrew "leom," translated "folks" once in Scripture, is taken from a word meaning "to gather together." It means "congregated" people! This might hint at public worship of some kind.

Now our Text gets even more specific. "Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth: both young men, and maidens; old men, and children."

Particular groups are enumerated.

Including the "princes," just "sar" in the Psalmist's language, meaning "rulers or leaders or captains or chiefs."

Add the "judges" too, in Hebrew "shaphat," meaning "to govern or vindicate or punish or defend or even execute."

From the throne to the bench to the board room to the living room, God is to be honored!

Then the common people are invited!

People like you and me.

"Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children."

Study these four groups carefully.

The focus shifts from one age level to another.

The term "young men" translates "bachur," meaning the "choice" ones! The very best of the best, dedicated to God! When animals, sheep or doves, were to be offered to God, only the unblemished would qualify! So is it here with us humans!

God loves quality!

But He also loves the lowly, the humble, the poor, the down-and-out people of society! The tainted and scarred among us!

Back to our list, the "maidens" are next. "Bethulah" is an interesting word, used 50 times in the Old Testament. It means "maiden" 5 times, "maid" 7 more times, but "virgin" 38 times! It's from a little used root meaning "to separate." Again, God is going for quality!

But He loves not only the virgins, but the prostitutes and the many-times-married as well! I shutter as I write these words, but John 4 (the woman at the well) and John 8 (the woman "taken" in adultery) bring me peace.

Quickly, add the "old men" to the choir! "Zaqen," literally meaning "aged, elders, ancient," is based on a word that means "to show one's age." It's truly thrilling to see a man, an elderly gentleman, glorify and uplift the Lord!

We are living in an anti-patriarchal age. The world is now filled with men-haters. I say, along with the Bible, thank God for Dads and Husbands and Pastors and Deacons and other men who set sterling examples of godliness in their lives.

But let's not forget the "children." God never does! "Naar" means "youthful," but can include "infants" too! It's translated "babe" once in Scripture, a little boy or girl.

Are you included in this collection?

Are you praising God today?

Am I?

We should be!

Tomorrow, Lord willing, we shall learn one major reason for praising God! One of worship's greatest benefits!

I'll close with the first verse from Psalm 148, which is identical to its last verse too. "Praise ye the LORD."

Amen!

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7, VERSES 13-14:

The last two verses of Psalm 148 provide a summary. Without them the Psalm is incomplete.

"Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven. He also exalteth the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise ye the LORD." Psalm 148:13-14

The first sentence applies to every creature and every entity previously mentioned. Angels, sun, moon, stars, oceans, lightning, hail, wind, mountains, beasts, and all the rest ... "praise the Name of the Lord!"

The second sentence applies only to the Lord's people, their "horns" being exalted as they praise Almighty God! "He also exalteth the horn of his people."

Let's examine the Text more closely.

Departing from his normal "imperative" form of the verb, "praise" here (still "halal" in Hebrew) is now an "imperfect" verb in the "piel" stem. That means that instead of a command, the Psalmist is giving a strong suggestion that God be praised! After all, you can't force anything or anyone to worship God! That response must be out of a willing heart! This time "praise," being a "piel" verb, longs for excited praise, aggressive praise, intensive adoration of our Heavenly Father!

God's "Name" in the Old Testament, simply spelled "shem," always means His Character and Essence as well as one of His many darling Titles.

The word "excellent" actually depicts something that is getting larger and larger all the time! "Sagab" means "excessively high."

God's Glory, "howd" here, means "vigour, splendor, majesty, beauty, honour" not being the common word for "glory" at all. He is a beautiful Lord!

Yes, for all creation, living and non-living, animate and inanimate, "Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven."

Now, specifically, for His people, "He also exalteth the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise ye the LORD."

And that noun "people," just two letters in Hebrew, "am," means a congregated people, one's compatriots, nearly one's kinsmen. This is almost a term of endearment. This word is not used in Scripture for the ribald, uncouth masses of humanity, heathen or pagan.

And here God's people are said to, at least figuratively, have "horns!" The word is "qeren," generally used of animal's horns, but in the Bible a picture of power and strength! Almost invariably so. Most Hebrew language lexicons immediately after defining "qeren" say, "figurative for 'power.'" 

Look at what has just been promised the Lord's people!

The more we praise Him ... the more power He gives us!

The more we glorify Him ... the more strength, the more stability, the more steadfastness!

The less we will be discouraged, down-trodden, dejected!

Oh, the power of praising the Lord!

Here it is again, the "link" between "praise" and "strength." Psalm 148, last verse: "He also exalteth the horn (power, strength) of his people, the praise of all his saints."

Yes!

"Exalteth" translates "rum," a common Hebrew verb, used nearly 200 times in Scripture and meaning "to lift up, to raise, to set on high!"

Praising people, generally speaking, are serving people too!

Praising people also are, using the word spiritually now, happy people as well!

Then our Psalm, significantly, ends with a three-fold identification of the "people" who are so blessed. These worshippers of God!

"The praise of all his saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him."

1. They are "saints!"

2. They are of "Israel!"

3. They are "near" the Lord!

Quickly, "saints" comes from a base word, "chasiyd," a relative of the Hebrew word for mercy! To be a "saint" means one is "kind, gentle, gracious," as well as "holy!" This thought always reminds me of Proverbs 19:22. "The desire of a man is his kindness."

"Israel" grammatically means "ruled by God!" It blends the noun for "princed or controlled or governed" with the name of God, "El," the all powerful One! Jacob the "crook," by the power of God's Spirit, became Israel, the man of God! Virtually a new creature! These worshippers are not genetically limited to Jews according to the flesh. They have the spirit of God in them, whoever they are, and are being transformed day by day!

And "near" the Lord, "qarob," means "at hand, nigh, neighbor," but best of all, "kinsman!"

Folks, keep praising Jesus!

He will give you more and more power!

He will make you all the more kind too!

He will rule over you and change you more and more into His glorious Image!

And He will be near you, the implication being nearer and nearer and nearer!

Wow!

The blessings of praising the Lord!

Let's join the rest of creation and all of Heaven for eternity!

Let's obey the last four words of Psalm 148, which were also the first four words of Psalm 148 ... "Praise ye the Lord!"

Which, in English as well as Hebrew, reads "Halleluyah!"

Amen!

                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

Psalm 148 is one of my favorite all-time Psalms indeed! Hope you have enjoyed studying it with us! It's all God's Word, divinely inspired verse by verse!

 

 

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