255 – Psalms 149 – Praise!
You may not have known, but I am sure it will come as no surprise to you that, according to the Teacher’s Commentary, “The Hebrews knew the Book of Psalms as the Hallel, the Book of Praises”. We should pause a minute to think about that for a minute. The book of praises. So what could be the theme of this book? Would it be about praises, or would the book be about the object of those praises? So if I wanted to praise one of my children for a job well done would I thumb through this book until I found a “praise” that I could appropriately quote to them?
I suppose one could write a book about praises. It could focus on the various attributes of a given praise. Maybe praises have types or kinds, or some other hidden attributes worthy of our attention? No. The attributes of praise are not the focus of this ancient biblical book. I think if you peruse the Psalms it won’t take you long to discover the reoccurring character and the object of the author’s praise is Yahweh, the Lord God of Heaven and Earth.
Let’s spend a few minutes in Psalm 149. There are nine short, yet powerful verses in this second to the last Psalm.
Psalm 149:1 (NKJV) – brackets mine
Praise the LORD [YAHWEH]! Sing to the Lord a new song, And His praise in the assembly of saints.
If we read this verse too quickly we may miss the details it provides. It beautifully answers our who, what, where, and how questions.
Question: What is the audience commanded to do?
Answer: Praise! I think of praise as ascribing accolades to someone for who they are and/or what they’ve done. It is presented here as an imperative or command.
Question: Who is the audience to praise?
Answer: Not the generic word “lord” that could literally mean anyone, but as the original Hebrew word translated LORD reveals, the only person in the universe with the name, Yahweh the one and only God!
Question: How is the audience to praise?
Answer: With a new song. I find this fascinating. Surely the praiser need not have a brand new song every time he praises? To conclude so I would suggest, means we have our focus misplaced. The new song is not center stage here, it simply points, I believe to the object of the praise, Yahweh. A new song would indicate a fresh and vibrant relationship with the Almighty Yahweh. New discoveries of His actions and attributes spawn new songs of adulation. After all, Yahweh is eternal, His goodness limitless, His mercies everlasting, His faithfulness unwavering, and His love deeper than anyone could possibly comprehend!
Question: Where is the audience to praise?
Answer: In the assembly of the saints. Obviously, this does not exclude private praise sessions. It does, however, place a priority on the gathering of the saints. My thinking immediately went to a New Testament verse.
Hebrews 10:25 (NKJV)
not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
After all, isn’t Yahweh worthy of an organized, regularly occurring gathering where He is the focus?
Yahweh God is worthy of all our praise, worship, and adoration. How about our time and attention?