Let All of Creation Praise the Lord!
Lord, when I consider all that You have done for us sinners, and all that You have done for my own personal life and that of my family, my heart is filled with thanksgiving. Keep my lips from ever stopping to sing Your praises. Keep my heart from ever ceasing to rejoice in You. Lord, lift up our hearts and accept our praises, for Jesus’ sake, Amen.
Jesus’ sacrifice for sin accomplished what all the Old Testament sacrifices symbolized. Christ’s sacrifice gives us reason to praise God—in words but also in conduct. Praise to God is important in the life of God’s children. Praise to God gives Him glory and at the same time lifts our spirits and encourages us. We rejoice to praise God now, but oh, what praise we will give in the perfection of heaven!
Jesus healed a demon-possessed man. The people who didn’t understand who Jesus was and what He had done were seized with fear. The man whom Jesus healed, understood and believed in Jesus. His heart overflowed with thanksgiving and he proclaimed the Lord’s praises everywhere in the city.
Text: Psalm 148
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 Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all you stars of light! Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, And you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the Lord, For He commanded and they were created. He also established them forever and ever; He made a decree which shall not pass away. Praise the Lord from the earth, You great sea creatures and all the depths; Fire and hail, snow and clouds; Stormy wind, fulfilling His word; Mountains and all hills; Fruitful trees and all cedars; Beasts and all cattle; Creeping things and flying fowl; Kings of the earth and all peoples; 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 exalted; His glory is above the earth and heaven. And He has exalted the horn of His people, The praise of all His saints—Of the children of Israel, A people near to Him. Praise the Lord!
In Christ Jesus, dear fellow redeemed:
I wonder…What our reaction would be if, as we came to church this morning, we saw someone walking and leaping up the stairs and through the narthex singing hymns and shouting "thanks be to God!" at the top of his voice.
It did happen once…not here…not with us, but in the temple, with Peter and John. Peter and John had healed the man who had been lame from birth and was begging for money at the temple gate. Once healed, the man "…leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God” (Acts 3:8).
Right after Luke describes the man leaping his way into the temple he adds a powerful statement: “And all the people saw him walking and praising God…and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him” (Acts 3:9). The people in the temple noticed that man just as much as we would. His excited reaction to being healed caught their attention and they were filled with wonder at what had been done and gathered around to hear even greater things as Peter preached the Gospel to them.
Joy and excitement are contagious. Have you ever noticed how the atmosphere of a room will come to life when certain people enter it; or how the joyful happiness of one person can rub off on someone else who once was a bit grumpy and out of sorts? It works the other way too—a sad, pessimistic, disgruntled, attitude can smother whatever the excitement and joy was once present, as easily as a wet blanket smothers a lighted match.
I wonder…Where in this scheme of things does our praise and joy in the Lord come. Is our excitement and joy in the Lord showing forth in praise and affecting others with the same joy? Or, is our praise a bit smothered in our own lives and acting like a wet blanket for others.
We could stir ourselves into a frenzy and interject a vigorous "praise the Lord" at every opportunity (both in worship and in daily life), but that wouldn’t mean we would be sharing in the same kind of praise as did the man who was once lame. It is possible to be emotionally charged up without ever really knowing why; and others too could be caught up in the emotion, but that is all it would be—stirred emotion with no substance.
As creatures of the Almighty God and sinners redeemed by His Son we have EVERY reason to be filled with excitement—overflowing with exuberant praise to our God. All of creation has every reason to shout and to leap and to sing the praises of our God.
If we train ourselves to open our eyes to see all the praise that God’s creation gives Him; if, by God’s grace, we train our hearts to remember what great things God has revealed to us in His Word; then we will always be hearing the praises of our God in our minds and hearts. When we are aware of the praise that creation gives and the reasons we have to praise God, we will be filled with praise and that praise will show itself. It will be an infectious genuine praise that people will see and they will be filled with wonder and amazement at the greatness of our God.
To that end this morning we exclaim with the psalmist, "LET ALL OF CREATION PRAISE THE LORD! I. Praise Him! you His creation II. Praise Him! you His people.
There is something really exciting about this psalm and others like it in the book of Psalms. The writer of the Psalm by inspiration from God has created such excitement and praise with the words that when you hear them you too are swept up in the excitement. Notice how the words themselves "rub off" on you, lifting up your spirits. It is virtually impossible to read these words with sadness: “Praise the LORD…praise Him from the heavens, praise Him in the heights…praise all his hosts, praise Him sun and moon…” and so forth.
These are exciting words strung together in a powerful way to create an uplifting hymn of praise. They are exciting words but more importantly they are words of substance. These words from the psalm are uplifting to our hearts and souls because they are God’s Word and the power of His Word works joy in our hearts, so that when the emotion fades the confidence in our Lord remains.
As this hymn of praise unfolds, the psalmist sweeps us through the universe two times—each time calling upon all of creation to praise the Lord. We start first in the heavens and call out to the living heavenly beings—the angels: “Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise Him in the heights! Praise Him all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts!" [v.1-2]. Next, we stay in the heavens and call upon the non-living heavenly bodies to offer their praise: “Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him all you starts of light! Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, and you waters above the heavens” [v.3-4].
Continuing through the tour of the universe we come to the earth and call upon the earthly living creatures to praise the Lord, “Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures,” and then we take the second sweep through the world and back up to the heavens, “fire and hail, snow and clouds; stormy wind fulfilling His word;” then back to earth, “Mountains and all hills, fruitful trees and all cedars, beasts and all cattle; creeping things and flying fowl; kings of the earth and peoples; princes and all the judges of the earth; both young men and maidens; old men and children.” [vv.7ff] LET THE WHOLE UNIVERSE—ALL OF CREATION PRAISE THE LORD!!
It is a beautiful "stereo-sound" of praise which the psalmist describes: Praise from above, praise from below, and the great and glorious Creator of all things as the object of all the glory.
We are told WHY all of creation should praise the Lord: “Let them praise the name of the LORD for He commanded and they were created. He also established them forever and ever. He made a decree which shall not pass away.” [v.5-6] No matter what part of creation we might choose, whether in the heavens or on the earth, it exists because God created it.
Every single part of creation rightfully gives praise and glory to God because He made it, and not only created it but also established it, that is He preserves it and provides for it. In an earlier psalm we hear, “The LORDupholds all who fall, and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of ALL look expectantly to You, and You give their food in due season. You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing” (Psalm 145:14-16).
This song of praise sings out with colorful poetic language that describes animals and even non-living objects as praising God. In part, this is the poetic picture-language of the psalms. However, it is more than just good poetry. All of creation—yes, even the inanimate objects—really do sing the praises of God. They sing them very well and quite loudly for all who listen.
At Lystra, Paul told the people, “Nevertheless [God] did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” (Acts 14:17). The ongoing cycles of our earth sing the praises of God who created them. Each time the rain comes from heaven and causes the earth to spring forth and bud and produce food, it is a testimony to God. It as if the rain and the food it produces cry out in song: "Look at what God has done! Praise Him for again providing food to the earth!"
All of creation demonstrates God’s attributes and they all sing the praises of God. Paul wrote the Romans, “since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead…” (Romans 1:20). A loud crash of thunder sings the praises of a God who has all POWER in His hand. The sun that rises every morning sings the praise of a God who is MERCIFUL because “He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). The vastness of outer space and the beauty of a starlit night sing the praises of a God whose WISDOM and UNDERSTANDING is beyond our comprehension. As David writes in Psalm 19, “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork” (Psalm 19:1)
When God spoke to Job, He spoke of many things in the workings of the universe which God has created and established. Each one of them is something only God could and did do, and therefore, it gives praise and glory to God. Among other things (see Job 38) God mentions to Job that He determines how far the seas will go, He knows the length and width of the earth and the universe, He has the treasury of snow and rain and hail at His command and decides where and when it will fall. He knows when the wind will blow and what it will do. He has created and established the Pleiades, and Orion and the other constellations of the stars, He decides when waters will freeze and turn to ice, He numbers the clouds by wisdom…pours out the bottles of heaven to give relief from a drought when the dust hardens in clumps and the clods cling together (cf: Job 38:37-38). He is the one who, just recently turned the storm of a hurricane into a blessing when He moved the heavy rains over a part of Texas that had been very dry. He is the one who makes the wild animals wild and the tame animals tame. He gives the strong animals their strength and protects the weak animals in their helplessness. All of these things (and so many more!) are established and maintained by God and in that way give praise to Him just by their existence.
Jesus directed us to look to the birds and flowers to see how they eat and are clothed without worry, they simply trust God to provide. In that way, they sing the praises of God better than we do when we find ourselves unable to trust Him without worry.
God is THE Creator of all. His is the majesty, and power, and glory. Look to the universe and see what He has done! Listen to His creation itself sing the praises of your God! PRAISE HIM YOU HIS CREATION!
We have every reason to praise God simply because He is our Creator and we are His creatures. The psalmist calls upon kings, princes, judges, young men, old men, young women, old women to praise God, for the same reason as the rest of creation: “Let them praise the name of the LORD, for His name alone is exalted; His glory is above the earth and heaven.” [v.13] But then is added another reason for people to praise God—one that goes beyond the reasons for the rest of creation to praise Him. “Let them praise the name of the LORD, for…His glory is above the earth…AND He has exalted the horn of His people, the praise of all His saints—of the children of Israel, A people near to Him.” [v.13]
The "horn of God’s people" speaks of the sinners’ salvation which God provides through Christ Jesus. The horn is the part of the ram that he uses with power to defeat his enemies and protect himself. The horn became a symbol of power and might and ultimately of victory. God’s "exalting the horn of His people Israel" would mean victory for His people and not just an earthly victory for the nation of Israel but a true and lasting victory of salvation for the souls.
When John the Baptist was born, Zacharias sang a song of praise and said, “Blessed is the LORD God of Israel for He has visited and redeemed His people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David” (Luke 67-39). Jesus is the horn of salvation that would do battle with the Devil and powerfully win the victory over him and over sin and death. Every sinner has added reason to praise the Lord because there is a horn of salvation from sin and death that God has provided to him!
Jesus’ life lived for us and His sacrifice on the cross reconciles us with God. Without that reconciliation we would be totally removed from God, but the psalmist says, “He has exalted the horn of His people…a people NEAR to Him.” We are "near" to God, His beloved children, only because of what Jesus has done—what a reason for praise! When we hear Paul say, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them….for God made [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:19,21) – when we hear Paul say that God has provided free salvation for the whole sinful world of which we are apart, so therefore, He has given ME salvation, WE SHOULD LEAP UP AND SHOUT FOR JOY and sing praise to our GOD, because in Christ we who were separated FAR because of sin are made a people NEAR to Him. We who were DEAD in trespasses and sins are made ALIVE. We who would live this life and DIE and GO TO HELL, live this life, die and enter HEAVEN. For this salvation we praise our LORD!
We have reason to praise God because of our spiritual condition. However, one’s perception of why we should praise God because of our spiritual condition can be different.
Consider first the Pharisee in Jesus’ parable: “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You (PRAISE YOU!) that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.” (Luke 18:11) The Pharisee pretended to praise God for what he perceived as an excellent spiritual condition when in reality the Pharisee was praising himself in what was a poor spiritual condition – “God I thank you that I’m so wonderful.”
Now hear what the apostle Paul, a former Pharisee, wrote to the Philippians: “I thank my God (praise Him!) upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the Gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:4-6). Paul praised God for His grace that had brought the Philippians to salvation and would—Paul was confident—continue to preserve them spiritually.
True praise to God for His spiritual blessings comes from humble hearts which know that what we are, we are because of His grace; and what we have we have because of His mercy.
The non-human part of creation is involved also in reminding us to praise God for our spiritual blessings. All of creation knows what its like to be under the bondage of sin. “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now”(Romans 8:20-22). Creation groans under the effects of sin: the plants that die, the malformed trees that cannot produce fruit, the animals that become sick—all of these things are part of the earth’s groaning under sin. All of the earth’s groaning under sin helps to keep us in mind of our weakness and sinfulness and frailty and our need to find greater things than what the earth can offer—the greater things that we find in our Savior.
A sin-infected creation is also called upon to join with redeemed sinners in praising God for His salvation: “Sing, O heavens! Be joyful, O earth! And break out in singing, O mountains! For the Lord has comforted His people, And will have mercy on His afflicted” (Isaiah 49:13). For such a great salvation, praise Him you His redeemed people!
Sometimes we need to remember to praise God just for the sake of praising Him. We try to be careful to give Him thanks and praise whenever we receive a particular blessing from Him, but if nothing in particular comes along—or we don’t see what does come—our praise may dwindle.
We don’t have to wait for something in particular to come along in order to praise our Lord. Praise Him at all times for He has created, established, redeemed you! All the created things around you are praising Him, get caught up in that praise! You don’t have to feel subdued or restrained, let your praise out! Let the excitement of the Gospel fill you with energy and overflow from your heart and in your words!
The amazing thing about our praise to God is that not only does it give glory to Him, but it also lifts us up. Our praise of God lifts us up not just emotionally, but spiritually and with substance. As we praise God for the things He has done for us, our hearts hear His wonderful works and are reassured that He really does love us and care for us. It is hard to worry or fall into sin or be afraid when we are praising God.
So hear God’s praise from the heavens! Hear His praise from the earth! Then lift up your hearts and voices and PRAISE THE LORD! Amen.
— Pastor Wayne C. Eichstadt