What does it say?
The psalms in our reading today are praise psalms and designed to be part of the corporate temple worship. The brief Psalm 134 concerns those who stand watch by night in the temple.
Psalms 146 to 150 are Hallelujah Psalms. Each one begins and ends with the phrase Praise the Lord. Psalm 146 is the voice of the individual, exalting God who is the hope and help of his people. Psalm 147 is the chorus of the people to the all-powerful God above all that loves those who are hurt and in need. He desires our love and respect and gives us his word to live by. Psalm 148 leads the praise of all creation, from the angels and those in the highest heaven to the realm of space and to all his earthly creation. Psalm 149 is the praise of God’s faithful people, while Psalm 150 is the glorious climax of praise of every instrument and everything that has breath, a fitting finale to this amazing Book of Psalms.
What does it mean?
Imagine the job of standing watch at night in the temple (134). Rather than being bored or feeling unappreciated, the idea is for the watchmen to praise God upon every occasion. This idea is reinforced in the Hallelujah Psalms that teach us that all of God’s creation is to praise him and on every occasion.
Psalm 148:14 in some translations mentions a horn, a symbol of power and victory. Psalm 149 is a beautiful expression that calls for the praises of God to be in the mouth of his people and a two-edged sword in their hand. In the New Testament, a two-edged sword is a metaphor for the word of God (Hebrews 4:12; Revelation 1:16).
We see again the emphasis on the praise of God’s people. Our chief purpose is to worship and glorify God. This is true not only as individuals, but particularly the emphasis is on praising God in the congregation or assembly of believers. How could we fail to grasp the importance of this given its place of prominence in the Bible? Some people commit the error of making their faith purely intellectual. Praising God in the assembly of believers doesn’t require a musical background or a good voice, only a thankful heart filled with praise, worship and thanksgiving.
How will I respond?
What one thing can I do this week to grow in my corporate praise in the assembly of believers?