“Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
Praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
Praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with tambourine and dancing,
praise him with the strings and the flute,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord.”
– Psalm 150
In reading Psalm 150 with our children this week, I was struck by its vast, all-encompassing description of praise. Honestly, the first thing that came to mind was Ron Kenoly and his worship team (a well-known worship leader from the 1990s – I’d encourage you to find his “Ancient of Days” on YouTube). Now, I’m not interpreting Psalm 150 as a biblical command for huge praise bands! But what I hear in his music is what I read in Psalm 150; an overwhelming, sweeping sense of praising the Lord with all that we have. With all that we are! With our whole being. But to praise the Lord, we need to know who our Lord is.
“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love…he does not treat us as our sins deserve.”
– Psalm 103:8,10a
“Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his.”
– Psalm 100:3
“Listen to me, O House of Jacob… even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you. I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”
It is good, necessary, and important to remind ourselves of who God is, and of what he has done. Paraphrasing John Piper: how can we commend, if we don’t cherish? The point of our praising, singing, teaching, serving, reading, preaching, fellowshipping, ministering, (etc.!) is that we might come to know God for who he is, and to entrust ourselves to him.
If you have spent any time in Revelation recently (as some of the GRC Women did this past weekend in our Women’s Conference), I’d ask you to think of chapter 21: “Now the dwelling of God is with man, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will live with him and be their God”. Who is this God, who is so loving; who, in Jesus, has bridged an impossible gap?!
We read and sing Psalm 150 in this world, but oh, the day when we sing it in the new heavens and the new earth of Revelation 21. In this broken world, praising the Lord with our whole being will not always look like resounding cymbals and huge praise choirs. If that is you today, God knows where you are, and take encouragement from Psalm 42, or perhaps Psalm 13:
“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? …How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?
…But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.”
Grace Redeemer Family, you might not be on the stage on Sunday morning, but you are God’s worship team. And if reflecting on this stirs you to more musical worship in your life, hallelujah! Please come chat with me on a Sunday or send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’d like to talk about what that could look like in our family of God. Singing to the Lord with you all is one of my greatest privileges as Worship Director, and I’d love to explore how we can do more of it!
“For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.”
Erika Bourque serves as the Worship Ministry Director at GRC.