Monthly Archives: April 2015

Psalm 150

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Psalm 150

The Psalms thus close. But praise shall never end. Let praise be the constant ecstasy of all our powers and all our time. Eternity will prolong, but never end the strain.

1. “Praise the Lord. Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in the firmament of His power.”

Exhortation still stirs up praise. Worthy, indeed, is the Lord to be praised throughout the universe. Let His praise be heard in the public service of His house, where His saints assemble to magnify His name. Let it swell in the highest heavens, where angelic hosts and all the redeemed lift up their joyful voices in adoring strains.

2. “Praise Him for His mighty acts; praise Him according to His excellent greatness.”

Mighty indeed are God’s acts in creation, providence, and grace. Creation is a volume replete with wonders. They surpass all power to enumerate. They exceed all admiration. Providence is wonderful in showing His mind in constant operation. But redemption causes love to overflow in wonder. It excites our loudest shouts. To estimate its exceeding preciousness the eternal kingdom must be reached. The innumerable multitude must be joined before we can fully realize that all sin is washed away, and every transgression pardoned, and the law’s curse removed, and righteousness divine bestowed as the resplendent robe of heaven. Then will be the joy of knowing that mercy has brought us to the journey’s end; that endless rest is reached and endless hallelujahs placed upon the lips. Then shall eternal bliss flow on; then shall the realm of glory shout endlessly the Redeemer’s praise.

3-5. “Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; praise Him with the psaltery and harp. Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; praise Him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise Him on the loud cymbals; praise Him on the high-sounding cymbals.”

In the days of Levitical type and shadow, musical instruments of every form and power contributed to swell the melody. Now, when spiritual service takes its enlightening place, let every rational faculty make our hallelujahs sweet and loud. Are may sing and spirituality still live.

6. “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.”

Fitting is the grand conclusion of this book of hymns and odes and spiritual songs. Let us obey the just command. Every breath is God’s free gift. Let every breath fly upward on the wings of adoration. But all our efforts can scarcely reach the outlines of due praise. May the Lord inspire us more and more! May we thus prepare to praise Him better when we cast our crowns before His throne. Praise the Lord! Amen and Amen.

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Psalm 149

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Psalm 149

Continual is the call to praise our God. May the call never fail to warm our hearts!

1. “Praise the Lord. Sing to the Lord a new song, and His praise in the congregation of saints.”

Those who can become weary of God’s praise would find heaven’s work a tedious task. Let us praise Him in our closets, in our private hours. Let us praise Him, also, when we frequent the congregation of public worshipers. Thus, when we leave earth, we shall change our place, but not our work.

2, 3. “Let Israel rejoice in Him who made him; let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise His name in the dance; let them sing praises unto Him with the timbrel and harp.”

Can we restrain praises to our God when we remember that He gave us being, and faculties to conceive His goodness and laud His name? Let us remember, also, that as King of kings and Lord of lords He reigns for us, and should reign in us. When this joy swells warmly in our hearts, it will be manifested by all our powers, and throughout all our time.

4. “For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the meek with salvation.”

It is the wonder of wonders that the great and glorious God should stoop to regard such creatures as we are. But wonder is immeasurably magnified when we are taught that thoughts of us, are pleasure to Him. Let gratitude constrain our hearts to praise without measure and without end. Not only does He take pleasure in His people, He beautifies the meek with salvation! Meekness is their lovely characteristic. This grace proves them to be followers of Him who avows Himself as meek and lowly in heart. Beautiful robes of salvation are prepared for them. These garments are heavenly in structure, fit for the Bride, the Lamb’s wife, suited to adorn the palace of our God.

5. “Let the saints be joyful in glory; let them sing aloud upon their beds.”

Abundant cause impels the saints to praise. They have received grace as foretaste of glory. Let them realize this, and let them sing aloud as if their promised state filled their hearts with foretaste. Let not the shades of night entirely suppress this happy exercise. In the night season, let not praises be wholly silent. When the earthly tabernacle molders in the bed of death, the liberated spirit will sing with full intelligence and joy.

6-9. “Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute upon them the judgment written; this honor have all His saints. Praise the Lord.”

Great is the power of the Word when uttered by praising lips. It will subdue all the enemies of Christ’s.

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Psalm 148

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Psalm 148

Praise to God is invoked because of His glory in all things, animate and inanimate. Especially His saints call for adoration.

1-2. “Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise Him in the heights. Praise Him, all His angels; praise Him, all His hosts.”

Praise is due not from men only, but from all the angelic hosts. There is, however, a solemn difference. We are slow to this holy exercise, and need the constant quickening of the Spirit. They find it their incessant delight, and praise is their most willing utterance.

3-5. “Praise Him, sun and moon; praise Him, all you stars of light. Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, and you waters that are above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the Lord; for He commanded, and they were created.”

Lift up your eyes to the shining firmament. Mark the glorious sun, daily proceeding on its brilliant way, and filling the world with light and beauty. Behold the countless stars bespangling the canopy on high. No vocal sound, indeed, is uttered; but still they have a voice which calls forth praise to Him who willed their being. As they shine they seem to cry, “Praise the Lord who thus created us.”

6. “He has also established them forever and ever; He has made a decree which shall not pass.”

If praise be due for creative powers, so also for sustaining care. If we praise God because of the original birth of the orbs of heaven, let our praise resound while they continue their brightness. The Word that made them cannot be repealed. Your Word, O God, is settled forever in heaven.

7-10. “Praise the Lord from the earth, you sea creatures, and all deeps; Fire and hail; snow and vapors; stormy wind fulfilling His word; Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars; Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl.”

The earth teems with animated beings, with things, also, that are inanimate. But they all proceed from God. They all subserve His purposes. They all call for His praise. From the monarch of the forest—from the eagle soaring in the skies to the tiniest insect—from the mountain to the valley—one acclamation is evoked, Let the great Creator—let the unfailing Preserver—receive praise.

11-13. “Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth; Both young men and maidens; old men and children; Let them praise the name of the Lord; for His name alone is excellent His glory is above the earth and heaven.”

From the occupier of lofty estates to the inhabitant of the lowest hut, from the hoary head to the infant in the cradle, let one sound be elicited. All they are, and all they have, is the free gift of God. For all they are and all they have, let praise be given.

14. “He also exalts the horn of His people, the praise of all His saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near to Him. Praise the Lord.”

Pre-eminently, praise is due from the saints of the Lord, whom He has redeemed by the blood of His Son, and sanctified by His Spirit. From their inmost souls let them shout, “Praise the Lord.”

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Psalm 147

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Psalm 147

Exhortations call to praise our God. Let our grateful hearts rejoicingly obey.

1. “Praise the Lord; for it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is lovely.”

It cannot be too earnestly enforced that praise is our duty, our joy, and our becoming exercise. Let happy experience testify this truth.

2-3. “The Lord builds up Jerusalem; He gathers together the outcasts of Israel. He heals the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds.”

He brought the captive Jews from Babylon. Thus He showed by expressive type that He will not permit the enemy to hold the Church in enduring bondage. Sorrow and mourning may be long their lot, but at His bidding, joy will bud forth, and every wound be healed.

4. “He tells the number of the stars; He calls them all by their names.”

We are thus taught that nothing can surpass His knowledge. The starry firmament sparkles with innumerable orbs. All are known to Him. So we, our persons, our matters, are all unmistakable to His omniscient eye.

5-6. “Great is our Lord, and of great power; His understanding is infinite. The Lord lifts up the meek; He casts the wicked down to the ground.”

In His wisdom He reads every character. He knows the meek and exalts them. He knows the wicked and debases them.

7-9. “Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praise on the harp to our God; who covers the heaven with clouds, who prepares rain for the earth, who makes grass to grow upon the mountains. He gives to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry.”

We cannot too frequently exhort to praise. The merciful dealings in nature are a fruitful topic. Behold the heavens robed in their clothing of clouds, the rain descending to fertilize the earth, the summits of the hills clad in verdure, and praise the hand which thus dispenses plenteousness. Behold the beasts of the forests and the ravens in their lofty nests. His hand provides their food. Let then His hand be praised.

10-11. “He delights not in the strength of the horse; He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man. The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy.”

The Lord has no delight in animal or bodily strength of frame. He looks to the inner man, and smiles on faith and fear. May such graces ever appear in us.

12-13. “Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem; praise your God, O Zion. For He has strengthened the bars of your gates; He has blessed your children within you.”

The Church cannot be too fervent in praise. The strength of protecting bulwarks, the happiness of the inhabitants within, all call for grateful adoration.

14-20. “He makes peace in your borders, and fills you with the finest of the wheat. He sends forth His commandment upon earth; His word runs very swiftly. He gives snow like wool; He scatters the hoarfrost like ashes. He casts forth His ice like morsels; who can stand before His cold? He sends out His word, and melts them; He causes His wind to blow, and the waters flow. He shows His word to Jacob, His statutes and His judgments to Israel. He has not dealt so with any nation; and as for His judgments, they have not known them. Praise the Lord.”

All blessings come from the bountiful hand of God and merit praise. His will pervades the length and breadth of the earth, ordering all things and enforcing obedience. But the blessing of blessings is His revealed Word. This is now circulated in almost all the languages of the world. We are abundantly favored with the inestimable boon. Let us gratefully use it, and adore the gracious Giver. Praise the Lord.

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Psalm 146

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Psalm 146

Praise is the Psalmist’s sweet employ. God’s claims to praise are stated. May they attune our hearts to sing the heavenly theme!

1-2. “Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, O my soul. While I live will I praise the Lord; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.”

Gratitude demands that praise should be our untiring exercise. Its performance brings delight. Happy are the hours thus consecrated. Thus earth assimilates to heaven, where Hallelujahs are the constant sound.

3-4. “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goes forth, he returns to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.”

It is a natural tendency to be influenced by external facade. Hence it is a common fault to court the favor of the rich and great. We are prone to lean on their support, and to look to them for help. But every man in his best estate is empty worthlessness. The Lord speaks, and thrones crumble. The Lord speaks, and the palace is exchanged for the grave. Tibni dies—Omri reigns. The grandest prince is but dust; and to dust he must return.

5-7. “Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God; who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that therein is; who keeps truth forever. Who executes judgment for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry.”

While men are emptiness, sufficiency abounds in God. Happy are those who find safe shelter in His covering wings. Think of His boundless power. The heavens, the earth, and all therein are the creation of His will. Precious is His treasury of promises. Not one of them shall ever fail. Their payment may be desired at the mercy-seat, and surely they will be redeemed. Many foes oppress His servants, but their efforts are impotent. The cause of the righteous is vindicated. None prevail against them. All their need, also, is supplied. They lie down in green pastures; beside still waters they repose.

8-10. “The Lord frees the prisoners; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind; the Lord raises those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord preserves the strangers; He relieves the fatherless and widow; but the way of the wicked He turns upside down. The Lord shall reign forever, even your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord.”

Precious lessons are learned from contemplating God’s gracious dealings. His people are born in the prison-house of Satan. God removes the shackles; they go forth free. They are blind by nature. He opens their eyes to see all the wonders of redeeming love. Heavy burdens often oppress them. He enables them to lay aside every weight so as to run with patience the heavenward road. He delights to cheer them with manifestations of His love. They are strangers and pilgrims in an enemy’s land. He is their constant guardian. In family destitution He brings relief. But just wrath burns fiercely against His adversaries forever and forever. God shall reign inhabiting the praises of His people. Bless the Lord, O our souls. Amen.

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Psalm 145

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Psalm 145

Praise pervades this hymn. God’s various claims are duly expounded. May they so influence our hearts that much fruit may ripen!

1-2. “I will extol You, my God, O King; and I will bless Your name forever and ever. Every day will I bless You; and I will praise Your name forever and ever.”

Such is the hearty resolve of faith. May it in truth be our very life. Happily will flow the days which are preparation for the home in which praises never ebb.

3. “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable.”

Who can measure the infinitude of the Lord! But as we praise, the topic will delightfully expand. Eternity will not exhaust it.

4. “One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.”

The praise of God endures with earth’s continuance. The Lord’s seed shall never be extinct, and the work of praise will be their ever living joy.

5-7. “I will speak of the glorious honor of Your majesty, and of Your wondrous works. And men shall speak of the might of Your terrible acts; and I will declare Your greatness. They shall abundantly utter the memory of Your great goodness, and shall sing of Your righteousness.”

The theme exceeds all utterance. Let all efforts be made to do justice to it; still the greatness, the majesty, the goodness, the righteousness of the Lord, will scarcely be touched in their outlines.

8. “The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.”

The believer’s experience testifies to this precious truth. Where sin abounds, grace much more abounds. Our need and misery awaken constant compassion. If provocations roused just wrath, we would speedily be cast off. Every moment proves that God is rich in forbearing mercy.

9. “The Lord is good to all; and His tender mercies are over all His works.”

Surely goodness and mercy follow us each day. All things show His tender love.

10-12. “All Your works shall praise You, O Lord; and Your saints shall bless You. They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom, and talk of Your power; to make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of His kingdom.”

The saints delight in extolling the name of their glorious King. Superabundant is the theme presented by His dominion. His throne is universal empire. His scepter is unbounded sway.

13. “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Your dominion endures throughout all generations.”

From everlasting to everlasting He sits upon the throne of unlimited sovereignty. From everlasting to everlasting His praises shall resound.

14. “The Lord upholds all who fall, and raises up all those who are bowed down.”

Let us pursue our heavenward path leaning on our Beloved. When we stumble He will uphold; when we fall He will upraise us.

15-18. “The eyes of all wait upon You; and You give them their food in due season. You open Your hand, and satisfy the desire of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works. The Lord is near to all those who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.”

All sustenance comes from His bountiful goodness. His open hand pours down plenteousness on earth. Holiness is His glorious attribute. Holiness is stamped on all His works. May the impress on our brow be, Holiness to the Lord! Precious is the thought that the ear nearest to us is the ear of our God, ever waiting to hear and to relieve our need.

19-21. “He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry, and will save them. The Lord preserves all those who love Him; but all the wicked will He destroy. My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord; and let all flesh bless His holy name forever and ever.”

Precious indeed is the promise that the desire of His servants shall be fulfilled. Salvation shall be their heritage. No harm shall injure those who love Him. But the wicked shall be utterly consumed. May the concluding resolve be the inhabitant of our hearts! Let universal blessings be ascribed to our Heavenly Father in Christ Jesus.

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Psalm 144

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Psalm 144

Blessings are ascribed to God for great success and victories. Continuance of such mercies is implored. The happiness of God’s people is depicted in glowing colors.

1-2. “Blessed be the Lord my strength, who teaches my hands to war, and my fingers to fight. My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and He in whom I trust; who subdues my people under me.”

The royal Psalmist sat undisturbed on the throne. He looked back and surveyed the many conflicts and the hard-won triumphs. He knew that God was the author of all his success. To Him he ascribes the praise and glory. Pictures are largely selected from scenes of war. They vividly describe the help and might of God. Whenever we prevail over sin and Satan and temptation, let us remember God, who is all our strength and deliverance. Let us magnify His holy name, with all the energies of our hearts.

3-4. “Lord, what is man, that You take knowledge of him, or the son of man, that You make account of him? Man is like vanity; his days are as a shadow that passes away.”

Wondrous is God’s condescending love. While we ponder let us adore. Though we are nothing, and less than nothing, the very vanity of vanities, the shadow of a shade, yet from the high throne of His glory His eye of compassion ever tenderly rests on us.

5-8. “Bow Your heavens, O Lord, and come down; touch the mountains, and they shall smoke. Cast forth lightning, and scatter them; shoot out Your arrows, and destroy them. Send Your hand from above; rid me, and deliver me out of great waters, from the hand of strange children; whose mouth speaks vanity; and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood.”

To realize God’s wondrous goodness is a great encouragement in prayer. Let us take courage and flee to Him in every strait, and seek His aid against all our foes.

9-11. “I will sing a new song to You, O God upon a psaltery, and an instrument of ten strings, will I sing praises unto You. It is He who gives salvation unto kings; who delivers David His servant from the hurtful sword. Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaks vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood.”

The mercies so freely and so largely given should awaken fervent praise. It was so with David; let it be so with us. While he acknowledged that God was all his strength and salvation, he continues to wrestle in entreaties. The more we receive the more we should desire. Let us never cease to encircle the mercy-seat with cries from our adoring souls.

12-15. “That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as cornerstones, polished after the similitude of a palace; that our garners may be full, affording all manner of store; that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets; that our oxen may be strong to labor; that there be no breaking in, nor going out; that there be no complaining in our streets. Happy is that people that is in such a case; yes, happy is that people whose God is the Lord.”

Prayer will obtain floods upon floods of blessings. The prayerful monarch will reign over a happy, prosperous, glorious people. The subjects will shine in the beauties of holiness, and plenty will super-abound in their garners. Let us have confidence that our prayers will call down blessings, and that many will rejoice because we frequent the throne of grace. If there be happiness on earth, it is the happiness of those who live in the service of the God of their salvation.

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