Praise from Above and Below

Why do things above and below praise the Lord?

 

Praise the LORD.

Praise the LORD from the heavens;

     praise him in the heights above.

Praise him, all his angels;

     praise him, all his heavenly hosts.

Praise him, sun and moon;

     praise him, all you shining stars.

Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies.

Let them praise the name of the LORD,

     for at his command they were created,

     and he established them for ever and ever—

     he issued a decree that will never pass away.

Praise the LORD from the earth,

     you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,

     lightning and hail,

     snow and clouds,

     stormy winds that do his bidding,

     you mountains and all hills,

     fruit trees and all cedars,

     wild animals and all cattle,

     small creatures and flying birds,

     kings of the earth and all nations,

     you princes and all rulers on earth,

     young men and women,

     old men and children.

Let them praise the name of the LORD,

     for his name alone is exalted;

     his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.

And he has raised up for his people a horn,

     the praise of all his faithful servants,

     of Israel, the people close to his heart.

Praise the LORD.     (Psalm 148)

 

Cross, Jesus, God, Holy Spirit, Daily Devotion, Above

 

Praise for the Lord comes from two places in Psalm 148.

First, praise comes from ‘above’ – that is, from ‘the heavens.’ In the worldview of the Old Testament, ‘the heavens’ were what you saw when you stood on earth and looked ‘up’. The ‘heavens’ are the ‘skies’ and all that are in them – what Abraham looked up at in order to ‘count the stars’. And so it is that in Psalm 148 the Lord is to be praised by angels, heavenly hosts, sun, moon, stars, and highest heavens.

Secondly, praise comes from ‘below’ – that is, from all that is on the earth. All features and creatures of creation are called to praise the Lord – including humankind, though the praise comes from far more than just humans. Indeed, when you read over the host of things ‘from the earth’ that are to praise the Lord, humankind seem to be in the minority.

Why do things above and below praise the Lord?

Because the Lord’s name alone is exalted, and ‘his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.’ He is so far above and so much greater than everything and everyone in the heavens and the earth. Philip Jensen points out that if we were to imagine the President of USA deciding to become friends with a cockroach, we still would not fully appreciate the difference between God’s splendor and ourselves. It really is amazing.

Finally, and most amazingly, the Lord is praised by heaven and earth because he raised up for his people ‘a horn’. We see this ‘horn’ at the back end of the Bible. The horn – a symbol of God’s power and rule – is none other than King Jesus. Praise the Lord.

 

Head: Read through Psalm 148 again, noting the ‘above’ things that are to praise the Lord’, and the ‘below’ things that are to praise the Lord.

Heart: Imagine the President of the USA befriending a cockroach, and how totally bizarre that would be. Then consider the fact that the distance between you and God is far greater than between a cockroach and the President of the USA. How does it make you feel? Does it lead you to want to praise God for raising up ‘a horn’ – King Jesus – to rescue his people?

Hands: Pray through Psalm 148. Join in with the heavens above and the earth below in praising the Lord, keeping in mind that Jesus is the ‘horn’ that has been raised up to rescue you.

A song to listen to: Psalm 148 by Sons of Korah

Writer: Peter Yock

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