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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Praise the LORD!

1 Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD 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 the waters that are above the heavens!
5 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
For He commanded and they were created.
6 He has also established them forever and ever;
He has made a decree which will not pass away.
7 Praise the LORD from the earth,
Sea monsters and all deeps;
8 Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;
9 Mountains and all hills;
Fruit trees and all cedars;
10 Beasts and all cattle;
Creeping things and winged fowl;
11 Kings of the earth and all peoples;
Princes and all judges of the earth;
12 Both young men and virgins;
Old men and children.
13 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
For His name alone is exalted;
His glory is above earth and heaven.
14 And He has lifted up a horn for His people,
Praise for all His godly ones;
Even for the sons of Israel, a people near to Him.
Praise the LORD! (Psa 148)
Hmmm, let's see ... I wonder what the point of this psalm might be? Oh, wait ... I know! It's about praising the Lord! I know, it's nuanced, but I'm sure you can see it in there if you look.

I had to put the whole thing there because, seriously, does anything about this psalm strike you as strange? It does me. I'm fine with things like "Praise Him, all His angels" and a command for "kings of the earth and all peoples; princes and all judges of the earth; both young men and virgins; old men and children" to praise Him. Makes sense. But what about all the inanimate objects? What about the sun and the moon, the waters, fire, hail, snow, clouds, wind, beasts, birds -- all that? In what sense do these praise the Lord?

It's not really that complicated. Creation praises God by being what it was designed to be. Remember the story of Uzzah? In 2 Samuel 6 David was recovering the Ark of the Covenant. He got Uzzah and Ahio to do the transporting. Amidst the rejoicing of the return of the ark, the oxen stumbled and Uzzah reached up to steady the ark. It cost him his life. Why? Because, you see, the mud that Uzzah was protecting the ark from praised God by doing exactly what He made it to do. The oxen who stumbled operated precisely as oxen are supposed to operate. All creation was doing what it was designed to do. Not Uzzah. He was a born sinner with sufficient arrogance to believe that he knew better than God on this subject. He forgot that God would be regarded as holy (Lev 10:3). Nature was praising God by being what He designed it to be; Uzzah was not.

Conversely, all creation exists for God's glory. Everything. Mountains, hills, trees, "creeping things" -- yes, even those -- all creation is for God's glory. "His name alone is exalted" (Psa 148:13). This is something we too quickly forget when we are born thinking that it's all about us. It's not. It's all about Him.

Today, then, would be a good day to "Praise the LORD!" In fact, tomorrow, too.

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