(The following texts highlighted in this color of blue is taken from

The Treasury of David by Charles Haddon Spurgeon)  "Excerpted text

Copyright AGES Library, LLC. All rights reserved.  Materials are reproduced

by permission."

 

 

Psalms 148-150.   The last three Psalms are a triad of wondrous praise,

ascending from praise to higher raise until it becomes "joy unspeakable and

full of glory" —exultation which knows no bounds. The joy overflows the

soul, and spreads throughout the universe; every creature is magnetized by

it, and drawn into the chorus. Heaven is full of praise, the earth is full of

praise, praises rise from under the earth, "everything that hath breath" joins

in the rapture. God is encompassed by a loving, praising creation. Man, the

last in creation, but the first in song, knows not how to contain himself. He

dances, he sings, he commands all the heavens, with all their angels, to help

him, "beasts and all cattle, creeping things and flying fowl" must do

likewise, even "dragons" must not be silent, and "all deeps" must yield

contributions. He presses even dead things into his service, timbrels,

trumpets, harps, organs, cymbals, high sounding cymbals, if by any means,

and by all means, he may give utterance to his love and joy.

 

John Pulsford.

 

 

Psalm 148

 

 

The song is one and indivisible. It seems almost impossible to expound it in

detail, for a living poem is not to be dissected verse by verse. It is a song of

nature and of grace. As a flash of lightning flames through space, and

enwraps both heaven and earth in one vestment of glory, so doth the

adoration of the Lord in this Psalm light up all the universe, and cause it to

glow with a radiance of praise. The song begins in the heavens, sweeps

downward to dragons and all deeps, and then ascends again, till the people

near unto Jehovah take up the strain. For its exposition the chief requisite

is a heart on fire with reverent love to the Lord over all, who is to be

blessed for ever.

 

1   “Praise ye the LORD.” Whoever ye may be that hear this word, ye

are invited, entreated, commanded, to magnify Jehovah. Assuredly He has

made you, and, if for nothing else, ye are bound, upon the ground of

creatureship, to adore your Maker. This exhortation can never be out of

place, speak it where we may; and never out of time, speak it when we

may.  “Praise ye the LORD from the heavens:” -  Since ye are nearest to the

High and Lofty One, be ye sure to lead the song. Ye angels, ye cherubim and

seraphim, and all others who dwell in the precincts of His courts, praise ye

Jehovah. Do this as from a starting point from which the praise is to pass

on to other realms. Keep not your worship to yourselves, but let it fall like

a golden shower from the heavens on men beneath - “praise him in the heights.”

This is no vain repetition; but after the manner of attractive poesy the truth

is emphasized by reiteration in other words.  Moreover, God is not only to be

praised from the heights, but in them: the adoration is to be perfected in the

heavens from which it takes its rise. No place is too high for the praises of the

most High. On the summit of creation the glory of the Lord is to be revealed,

even as the tops of the highest Alps are tipped with the golden light of the

same sun which gladdens the valleys. Heavens and heights become the higher

and the more heavenly as they are made to resound with the praises of Jehovah.

See how the Psalmist trumpets out the word "PRAISE." It sounds forth some

nine times in the first five verses of this song. Like minute-guns, exultant

exhortations are sounded forth in tremendous force—Praise! Praise! Praise!

The drum of the great King beats round the world with this one note—Praise!

Praise! Praise! "Again they said, Hallelujah." All this praise is distinctly

and personally for Jehovah. Praise not His servants nor His works; but

praise HIM. Is He not worthy of all possible praise? Pour it forth before

HIM in full volume; pour it only there!

 

2   “Praise ye Him, all His angels:” -  Living intelligences, perfect in

character and in bliss, lift up your loudest music to your Lord, each one, of

you. Not one bright spirit is exempted from this consecrated service.

However many ye be, O angels, ye are all His angels, and therefore ye are

bound, all of you, to render service to your Lord. Ye have all seen enough

of Him to be able to praise Him, and ye have all abundant reasons for so

doing. Whether ye be named Gabriel, or Michael, or by whatever other

titles ye are known, praise ye the Lord. Whether ye bow before Him, or fly

on His errands, or desire to look into His covenant (I Peter 1:12), or behold

His Son, cease not, ye messengers of Jehovah, to sound forth His praise while

ye move at His bidding – “Praise ye Him, all His hosts.” -  This includes angelic

armies, but groups with them all the heavenly bodies. Though they be inanimate,

the stars, the clouds, the lightnings, have their ways of praising Jehovah. Let

each one of the countless legions of the Lord of hosts show forth His glory; for

the countless armies are all His, His by creation, and preservation, and

consequent obligation. Both these sentences claim unanimity of praise from

those in the upper regions who are called upon to commence the strain—

"all His angels, all His hosts." That same hearty oneness must pervade the

whole orchestra of praising ones; hence, further on, we read of all stars of

light, all deeps, all hills, all cedars, and all people. How well the concert

begins when all angels, and all the heavenly host, strike the first joyful

notes! In that concert our souls would at once take their part.  (Paul teaches

that all earth and heaven will be  joined in this praise – Ephesians 1:10 –

the comment on that verse is included below -  CY – 2011)

 

10 That in the dispensation of the fullness of times” - (or, seasons) (vs. 9 and 10

are one sentence, which should not be broken up). This seems to denote the times

of the gospel generally; not, as in Galatians 4:4, the particular time of Christ’s

advent; the oijkonomi>a, oikonomiaor economy, dispensation - of the gospel

being that during which, in its successive periods, all God’s schemes are to ripen

or come to maturity, and be fulfilled - “He might gather together in one all

things in Christ” -  jAnakefalaiw>sasqai - an-ak-ef-al-ah’ee-om-ahee; from

(ajna>) and  (kefalaio>w) (in its original sense); to sum up: — is a word of

some difficulty. It is true it is derived from kefa>laion - kef-al’-ah-yon – sum -  

The word expresses the Divine purpose — what God proe>qetoprotheto -  

which was to restore in Christ a lost unity, to bring together disunited elements,

 viz.- all things -  Christ is the “head” of all!  - God has made of one blood all

the nations of men “hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds

of their habitation.”  (Acts 17:26) - “both which are in heaven, and which are

 on earth; even in Him:” Unity is a characteristic of God’s works. Unity of the

solar system, the stars, the heavens. In the moral and spiritual world

there are diverse orders of holy beings. To us only two are known — angels and men.

But there may be many more. All these it is God’s purpose to form into one economy.

Jesus Christ is the Center of this great plan. We have some glimpses of this

in the Apocalypse. Besides countless angels, “Every creature which is in heaven, and

on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in

them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him

that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever” -  (Revelation 5:13).

This does not imply that there will be nothing outside this glorious host of holy beings;

for the Apocalypse affirms the contrary.  There is no hint here of a universal restoration.  

Such a notion would be in fiat contradiction to the doctrine of Divine election, which

dominates the whole passage. God’s purpose is to form a united kingdom, consisting

of the unfallen and the restored — the unfallen in heaven, and the restored on earth,

and to gather this whole body together under Christ as its Head (see ch. 3:15). 

We cannot say that this purpose has been fully effected as yet; but things are

moving towards it, and one day it will be wholly realized. “He that sat on the

throne said, Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5). 

 

  • This subject gives us an exalted conception of the place of honor to be

      occupied by Christ in eternity. As was His humiliation, so will His glory be.

 

  • It gives us also an exalted conception of the glory and dignity of all true

            believers. How glorious the fellowship of such an order of beings! How

            insignificant the honors of earth, for which men toil so hard!

 

even in Him”  - Men try in our day to bring about a union of humanity on a basis

of laws looking “deep within”, or of a policy of socialism, (we have a president that

is talking about “collective salvation” – CY – 2010) or of the creed of “liberty,

equality and fraternity” BUT THE CROSS IS THE ONLY RECONCILER OF

MAN TO GOD AND MAN TO MAN!

 

An ancient prophetic voice spoke of Christ  as the One to whom “shall the gathering of

the people be” (Genesis 49:10). He is the Center of everything in the universe. He is the

Center of nature, for not only were all things made by Him, but in Him they consist;

(Colossians 1:16-17), He is the Center of providence, for He upholds all things by the

word of His power; (Hebrews 1:3),  He is the Center of Christendom, just as He was

the Center of the old theocracy; He is the Center of the Church invisible, for He is its

Head and its Life; He is the Center of heaven, for it is the Lamb that is in the

midst of the throne; (Revelation 5:6), He is the Center of the Godhead itself, Father,

Son, and Holy Ghost. It is, therefore, in Him that “all things in earth and all things in

heaven are re-collected or summed up, for the showing forth, with a luster

before unknown, of the majesty and glory of God. I in them, and thou in

me, that they may be made perfect in one” (John 17:23).

 

Now back to Psalm 148

 

3  Praise ye Him, sun and moon: praise Him, all ye stars of light.” The

Psalmist enters into detail as to the heavenly hosts. As all, so each, must

praise the God of each and all. The sun and moon, as joint rulers of day

and night, are paired in praise: the one is the complement of the other, and

so they are closely associated in the summons to worship. The sun has his

peculiar mode of glorifying the Great Father of lights, and the moon has

her own special method of reflecting his brightness. There is a perpetual

adoration of the Lord in the skies: it varies with night and day, but it ever

continues while sun and moon endure. There is ever a lamp burning before

the high altar of the Lord. Nor are the greater luminaries allowed to drown

with their floods of light the glory of the lesser brilliants, for all the stars

are bidden to the banquet of praise. Stars are many, so many that no one

can count the host included under the words, "all ye stars"; yet no one of

them refuses to praise its Maker. From their extreme brilliance they are fitly

named "stars of light"; and this light is praise in a visible form twinkling to

true music. Light is song glittering before the eye instead of resounding in

the ear. Stars without light would render no praise, and Christians without

light rob the Lord of His glory. However small our beam, we must not hide

it: if we cannot be sun or moon we must aim to be one of the "stars of

light", and our every twinkling must be TO THE HONOR OF OUR LORD!

 

4   “Praise him, ye heavens of heavens,” - By these are meant those

regions which are heavens to those who dwell in our heavens; or those

most heavenly of abodes where the most choice of spirits dwell. As the

highest of the highest, so the best of the best are to praise the Lord. If we

could climb as much above the heavens as the heavens are above the earth,

we could still cry out to all around us, "Praise ye the Lord." There can be

none so great and high as to be above praising Jehovah - “and ye waters

that be above the heavens.” Let the clouds roll up volumes of adoration.

Let the sea above roar, and the fullness thereof, at the presence of Jehovah,

the God of Israel. There is something of mystery about these

supposed reservoirs of water; but let them be what they may, and as they

may, they shall give glory to the Lord our God. Let the most unknown and

perplexing phenomena take up their parts in the universal praise.

 

5  Let them praise the name of the LORD; for He commanded, and

they were created.”  Here is good argument: The Maker should have honor

from His works, they should tell forth His praise: and thus they should

praise His name —by which His character is intended. The name of

JEHOVAH is written legibly upon His works, so that his power, wisdom,

goodness, and other attributes are therein made manifest to thoughtful

men, and thus His name is praised. THE HIGHEST PRAISE OF GOD

IS TO DECLARE WHAT HE IS!  We can invent nothing which would

magnify the Lord: we can never extol Him better than by repeating His name,

or describing His character. The Lord is to be extolled as creating all things

that exist, and as doing so by the simple agency of His word. He created by

a command; what a power is this! Well may He expect those to praise Him

who owe their being to Him. Evolution may be atheistic; but the doctrine of

creation logically demands worship; and hence, as the tree is known by its

fruit, it proves itself to be true. Those who were created by command are under

command to adore their Creator. The voice which said "Let them be", now

saith "Let them praise."

 

6  He hath also stablished them for ever and ever:”  The continued

existence of celestial beings is due to the supporting might of Jehovah, and

to that alone. They do not fail because the Lord does not fail them.

Without His will these things cannot alter; He has impressed upon them laws

which only He Himself can change. Eternally His ordinances are binding

upon them. Therefore ought the Lord to be praised because He is Preserver

as well as Creator, Ruler as well as Maker - “He hath made a decree which

shall not pass.”  The heavenly bodies are ruled by Jehovah's decree: they

cannot pass His limit, or trespass against His law. His rule and ordination can

never be changed except by Himself, and in this sense His decree "shall not pass":

moreover, the highest and most wonderful of creatures are perfectly obedient

to the statutes of the Great King, and thus His decree is not passed over. This

submission to law is praise. Obedience is homage; order is harmony. In this

respect the praise rendered to Jehovah from the "bodies celestial" is absolutely

perfect. His almighty power upholds all things in their spheres, securing the

march of stars and the flight of seraphs; and thus the music of the upper regions

is never marred by discord, nor interrupted by destruction. The eternal hymn

is for ever chanted; even the solemn silence of the spheres is a perpetual Psalm.

 

7   “Praise the LORD from the earth,” - The song descends to our abode,

and so comes nearer home to us. We who are "bodies terrestrial", (I Corinthians

15:40) are to pour out our portion of praise from the golden globe of this favored

planet. Jehovah is to be praised not only in the earth but from the earth, as

if the adoration ran over from this planet into the general accumulation of

worship. In v.1 the song was "from the heavens"; here it is "from

the earth": songs coming down from heaven are to blend with those going

up from earth. The "earth" here meant is our entire globe of land and

water: it is to be made vocal everywhere with praise - “ye dragons, and all

deeps:”  It would be idle to inquire what special sea monsters are here meant;

but we believe all of them are intended, and the places where they abide are

indicated by "all deeps." Terrible beasts or fishes, whether they roam the earth

or swim the seas, are bidden to the feast of praise. Whether they float amid the

teeming waves of the tropics, or wend their way among the floes and bergs of

polar waters, they are commanded by our sacred poet to yield their tribute to

the creating Jehovah. They pay no service to man; let them the more heartily

confess their allegiance to the Lord. About "dragons" and "deeps" there is

somewhat of dread, but this may the more fitly become the bass of the

music of the Psalm. If there be aught grim in mythology, or fantastic in

heraldry, let it praise the incomprehensible Lord.

 

8   “Fire and hail;” -  Lightning and hailstones go together. In the plagues

of Egypt they cooperated in making Jehovah known in all the terrors of His

power. Fire and ice morsels are a contrast in nature, but they are combined

in magnifying the Lord - “snow and vapors;” -  Offsprings of cold, or

creations of heat, be ye equally consecrated to His praise. Congealed or

expanded vapors, falling flakes or rising clouds, should, rising or falling, still

reveal the praises of the Lord - “stormy winds fulfilling His word:” Though

rushing with incalculable fury, the storm wind is still under law, and moves in

order due, to carry out the designs of God. It is a grand orchestra which contains

such wind instruments as these! He is a great leader who can keep all these

musicians in concert, and direct both time and tune.

 

9  Mountains, and all hills;” -  Towering steeps and swelling knolls alike

declare their Creator. "All hills" are to be consecrated; we have no longer

Ebal and Gerizim, the hill of the curse and the hill of the blessing, but all

our Ebals are turned to Gerizims. Tabor and Hermon, Lebanon and

Carmel, rejoice in the name of the Lord. The greater and the lesser mounts

are one in their adoration. Not only the Alps and the mountains of the Jura

thunder out His praise; but our own Cotswolds and Grampians (for us the

Appalachians and Rockies, etc. – CY – 2011) are vocal with songs in His honor.

fruitful trees, and all cedars:”  Fruit trees and forest trees, trees deciduous

or evergreen, are equally full of benevolent design, and alike subserve some

purpose of love; therefore for all and by all let the great Designer be

praised. There are many species of cedar, but they all reveal the wisdom of

their Maker. When kings fell them, that they may make beams for their

palaces, they do but confess their obligation to the King of trees, and to the

King of kings, whose trees they are. Varieties in the landscape are

produced by the rising and falling of the soil, and by the many kinds of

trees which adorn the land: let all, and all alike, glorify their one Lord.

When the trees clap their hands in the wind, or their leaves rustle in the

gentle breath of Zephyr, they do to their best ability sing out unto the Lord.

 

10  Beasts, and all cattle;” -  Animals fierce or tame; wild beasts and

domestic cattle; let all these show forth the praises of Jehovah. Those are

worse than beasts who do not praise our God. More than brutish are those

who are willfully dumb concerning their Maker - “creeping things, and flying

fowl:” The multitudes that throng the earth and the air; insects of every form

and birds of every wing are called upon to join the universal worship. No one

can become familiar with insect and bird life without feeling that they constitute

a wonderful chapter in the history of divine wisdom. The minute insect

marvelously proclaims the Lord's handiwork: when placed under the microscope

it tells a wondrous tale. So, too, the bird which soars aloft displays in its adaptation

for an aerial life an amount of skill which our balloonists have in vain attempted

to emulate.  True devotion not only hears the praises of God in the sweet song of

feathered minstrels, but even discovers it in the croaking from the marsh,

or in the buzz of "the blue fly which singeth in the window pane." More

base than reptiles, more insignificant than insects, are songless men.

 

11  Kings of the earth, and all people: princes, and all judges of the

earth:”  Now the poet has reached our own race, and very justly he would

have rulers and subjects, chieftains and magistrates, unite in worshipping

the sovereign Lord of all. Monarchs must not disdain to sing, nor must

their people refrain from uniting with them. Those who lead in battle and

those who decide in courts must neither of them allow their vocations to

keep them from reverently adoring the Chief and Judge of all. All people,

and all judges, must praise the Lord of all. What a happy day it will be

when it is universally acknowledged that through our Lord Jesus, the

incarnate Wisdom, "kings reign and princes decree justice"!  (Proverbs 8:15)

Alas, it is not so as yet! Kings have been patrons of vice, and princes

ringleaders in folly.  Let us pray that the song of the Psalmist may be realized

in fact.

 

12  Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children:” Both

sexes and all ages are summoned to the blessed service of song. Those who

usually make merry together are to be devoutly joyful together: those who

make up the ends of families, that is to say, the elders and the juveniles,

should make the Lord their one and only end. Old men should by their

experience teach children to praise; and children by their cheerfulness

should excite old men to song. There is room for every voice at this

concert: fruitful trees and maidens, cedars and young men, angels and

children, old men and judges—all may unite in this oratorio. None, indeed,

can be dispensed with: for perfect Psalmody we must have the whole

universe aroused to worship, and all parts of creation must take their parts

in devotion.

 

13  Let them praise the name of the LORD:” -  All that is contained in

the name or character of Jehovah is worthy of praise, and all the objects of

His creating care will be too few to set it forth in its completeness.

for His name alone is excellent;” -  It alone deserves to be exalted in praise,

for alone it is exalted in worth. There is none like unto the Lord, none that

for a moment can be compared unto Him. His unique name should have a

monopoly of praise – “His glory is above the earth and heaven.”   It is

therefore alone because it surpasses all others. HIS ROYAL SPLENDOR

 exceeds all that earth and heaven can express. He is Himself the crown of all

things, the excellency of the creation. THERE IS MORE GLORY IN HIM

PERSONALLY THAN IN ALL HIS WORKS UNITED!  It is not possible

for us to exceed and become extravagant in the Lord's praise: His own natural

glory is infinitely greater than any glory which we can render to Him.

 

14   “He also exalteth the horn of His people,” -  He hath made them

strong, famous, and victorious. His goodness to all His creatures does not

prevent His having a special favor to His chosen nation: He is good to all,

but He is God to His people. He lifts up the down trodden, but He in a

peculiar manner lifts up His people. When they are brought low He raises up

a horn for them by sending them a deliverer; when they are in conflict He

gives them courage and strength, so that they lift up their horn amid the

fray; and when all is peaceful around them, He fills their horn with plenty,

and they lift it up with delight - “the praise of all His saints;” -  He is their glory:

to Him they render praise; and He by His mercy to them evermore gives them

further reasons for praise, and higher motives for adoration. He lifts up their horn,

and they lift up His praise. He exalts them, and they exalt Him. The Holy One is

praised by holy ones. He is their God, and they are His saints; He makes them

blessed, and they bless him in return - “even of the children of Israel,” –

The Lord knoweth them that are His  (II Timothy 2:19).  He knows the name

of him with whom He made a covenant, and how he came by that name, and

who His children are, and where they are. All nations are bidden in v.11 to

praise the Lord; but here the call is specially addressed to His elect people,

who know Him beyond all others. Those who are children of privilege

should be children of praise - “a people near unto Him.” - near by kin,

and near by care; near as to manifestation and near as to affection. This is

a highly honorable description of the beloved race; and it is true even more

emphatically of the spiritual Israel, the believing seed. This nearness should

prompt us to perpetual adoration. The Lord's elect are the children of His love,

the courtiers of His palace, the priests of His temple, and therefore they are

bound beyond all others to be filled with reverence for Him, and delight in

Him.  “Praise ye the Lord.”  (Hallelujah) . This should be the Alpha and Omega

of a good man's life. Let us praise God to the end, world without end. The

field of praise which lies before us in this Psalm is bounded at beginning

and end by landmarks in the form of Hallelujahs, and all that lieth between

them is every word of it to the Lord's honor. Amen.

 

 

 

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