259 – Psalm 148 – Let All Creation Praise Yahweh
We’ve talked about pericopes before, but it seems prudent to say a word or two about them here. They are not a part of the inspired word of God. They are provided by the translators or publishers as a help to the reader. They are simply headings. Sometimes pericopes are a distraction to me. I’ll find myself thinking, “that’s not how I would have labeled this section” or “I wish they wouldn’t have put the pericope there – it introduces an artificial break in the flow of the passage that is distracting if not misleading”. I do find them mildly useful from time to time when I need to locate verses quickly but I only know their approximate location.
Why am I talking about pericopes? Because the Lexham English Bible has the following pericope above Psalm 148. It says, “Let all Creation Praise Yahweh”. This time, in my humble opinion, the pericope is well placed and summarizes well this short (fourteen verses) Psalm.
However, if you just read the pericope and the Psalm you’re likely to miss the richness of this beautiful passage in the Holy word of God.
Psalm 148 (LEB)
1 Praise Yah. Praise Yahweh from the heavens; praise him in the heights.
2 Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts.
3 Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all stars of light.
4 Praise him, ⌊highest heavens⌋, and waters above the heavens.
5 Let them praise the name of Yahweh, because he commanded and they were created.
6 And he put them in place forever and ever, by a decree he gave that will not pass away.
7 Praise Yahweh from the earth— great sea creatures and all deeps,
8 fire and hail, snow and cloud, stormy wind doing his bidding,
9 the mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars,
10 beasts and all cattle, creeping things and ⌊flying birds⌋,
11 kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all judges of the earth,
12 young men and young women as well, the old together with the young—
13 let them praise the name of Yahweh, because his name alone is exalted. His splendor is above earth and heavens.
14 And he has raised high a horn for his people, praise for all his faithful— for the children of Israel, a people close to him. Praise Yah.
The first six verses of this beautiful Hebrew poem are about praising Yahweh from Heaven. The remaining seven verses are about praising Yahweh from Earth. Verses one through six both living beings and inanimate objects that exist in the “heavens” are commanded to praise Him. Using the same structure as the first half of the Psalm, verses seven through fourteen include both living and inanimate objects on the earth in the command to praise Yahweh.
The word “all” is used in both halves of the passage and occurs ten times in only fourteen verses.
You might say Yahweh has every right, a legal right, to demand praise from both all occupants of heaven and all occupants of earth. Those reasons are listed in verses 5-6 and 13-14.
The Heavenly realm needs to praise Yahweh because He created them and gave them their everlasting positions. (5-6).
Similarly, the Earthly realm needs to praise Yahweh because “His name alone is exalted. His splendor is above earth and heavens” and “He has raised high a horn for his people”. Horn speaks of strength and dominion. Additionally, He is the praise of all His faithful (saints) and the people of Israel (13-14).
In this short fourteen verse Psalm, I counted thirteen times the word “praise” is used. Twelve times the word is a verb used as a command, “to praise” and one time it is a noun describing it as a thing that Yahweh makes available.
I should also like to point out that God is referred to by His name Yahweh or the pronouns Him, His, and He, twenty-four times making it clear beyond reasonable doubt that this Psalm is indeed about Him!
I want to change my mind about the pericope, “Let all creation praise Yahweh”. I think it could be stated using stronger verbiage. Maybe, “All creation is commanded to praise Yahweh”.
So what about those in either of the two specified locations that don’t praise Yahweh? In other words, what about angels (demons) that don’t praise Him? What about people who don’t praise Him?
The answer is simple. Those who don’t praise Yahweh, regardless of their location, are in direct violation of the word of God. In other words, they are in sin.
Remember the use of the word “all” in this Psalm? There exists no exemptions! You and I are in the “all” of the second half of this Psalm. If we are believers in Christ Jesus I don’t know how we could avoid praising Him. Do we praise Him often enough?
Luke 19:37-40 (LEB)
37 Now as* he was drawing near by this time to the descent from the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began rejoicing to praise God with a loud voice for all the miracles that they had seen,
38 saying, “Blessed is the king, the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
39 And some of the Pharisees from the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
40 And he answered and* said, “I tell you that if these keep silent, the stones will cry out!”
Let’s commit together that we will not keep silent. Praise Yahweh and His Son Jesus for all they have done and all they are!