Over the course of the next three days, I will post parts of a commentary on Psalm 148-150 by Sam Storms of Enjoying God Ministries. Here is Part 1:
Psalms 148-150 are too lengthy for me to include in the text of this meditation, and too important for any of us to ignore. So I encourage you to open your Bible and read them now. After you are finished, consider these four themes that emerge.
First, worship is a universal privilege. I could have said “obligation”, for worship is a duty we are commanded to fulfill. But I don’t want to give the impression that it is burdensome or oppressive. Exulting in the exaltation of God is an unparalleled privilege that is permeated by joy and satisfaction. But it is the universal dimension that I want you to note, especially as it is delineated in Psalm 148.
There are no people who are excluded, or a place where praise is not proper. In vv. 1-6 the whole of the celestial or heavenly universe is called on to praise God and in vv. 7-12 it extends to the whole of the terrestrial or earthly universe.
He is to be praised both “from the heavens” (v. 1) and “from the earth” (v. 7). “All his angels” (v. 2a) form an innumerable choir and join in the song (cf. Rev. 5:11). Even the “sun” by day and the “moon” by night (v. 3a) declare his power, never leaving their Creator without a witness.
All “shining stars” (v. 3b) add their voice to the chorus of praise! Billions and trillions and quadrillions of thriving heat and energy and blinding brightness testify to his immeasurable power and artistic skills. The Babylonians, from whose captivity these worshipping Israelites had recently been released, believed the stars were deities that controlled their destiny. But here we see that they are but one section in the celestial choir that echoes the glory of their Maker!
Every “creature” of the “sea” (v. 7) has a song to sing: whether diminutive perch or massive whale, be it the majestic dolphin or the ravenous shark. Stingrays and moray eels and starfish and barracudas and bass and trout and salmon together draw attention to him who is worthy of all worship.
As we saw in Psalm 147, so also in 148 “fire and hail, snow and mist,” even “stormy wind” fulfill his word (v. 8). “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” (Spurgeon, 3:B:439).
By means of “mountains and all hills,” whether the towering Himalayas or the foothills of central Kansas, be it Everest or an ant hill, God is glorified (v. 9a).
“Fruit trees and all cedars” (v. 9b) testify to his splendor: yes, apple trees and cheery trees and sycamores and oak and elm and sweet gum and weeping willow and sequoia and pine and, well, you get the idea.
Let us not forget the “beasts and all livestock” (v. 10a), both longhorn and lion, both jersey and jackal, even simbrah and stallion.
For some of us it’s hard to imagine that “creeping things” (v. 10b) such as tarantulas and ticks could praise God, but indeed they do; as also do all “flying birds”, both bluejay and buzzard, whether cardinal or crow.
Of course, we mustn’t forget the human race! “Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers” (v. 11), “young men and maidens” together with “old men and children” (v. 12) are to praise the name of the Lord!
All that have “breath” (Ps. 150:6) should praise him with every breath until they are out of breath!
“We sing the greatness of our God that made the mountains rise,
That spread the flowing sea abroad and built the lofty skies.
We sing the wisdom that ordained the sun to rule the day,
The moon shines full at His command and all the stars obey.” (Isaac Watts)