Praise Ye the Lord

Key Verse: “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the┬áLORD!”
—Psalm 150:6, New American Standard Bible

Selected Scriptures:
Psalm 149:1-5; 150:1-6

THE IMPORTANCE OF praising our Heavenly Father is found throughout the book of Psalms. We are instructed to praise God with all our “heart,” to praise him for “his merciful kindness,” and for “the truth of the Lord.” (Ps. 111:1; 117:1,2) We are also told to praise God because his “judgments are right,” because he is “good,” and because “his name alone is excellent.”—Ps. 119:75; 135:3; 148:13

The concluding chapter in the book of Psalms summarizes the importance of continually praising our Heavenly Father. We are told to praise God with “the sound of the trumpet,” with “psaltery and harp,” with “timbrel and dance,” with “stringed instruments and organs,” and with “cymbals.” (Ps. 50:3-5) However, many of us may have little or no ability to literally sing or play any of the musical instruments mentioned. Does this mean that we cannot praise God? Surely not!

We suggest that each musical talent listed as to be used for praising God in this Psalm may have a symbolic, non-literal application, and thus contains valuable lessons for God’s people. Verse 3 begins by telling us to praise God with the sound of the trumpet. Here the word trumpet in the original Hebrew language has the meaning of “giving a clear sound.” Perhaps this includes the thought of being able to explain or share in simple, easy to understand words, God’s wonderful plan to others. Such an image as this is conveyed in Isaiah 58:1, where it states, “Lift up thy voice like a trumpet.”

In verse 3 of our lesson we are told to praise God with psaltery. Here the word psaltery has the meaning of “a skin bag for liquids,” or “vase,” and has been translated elsewhere in the Bible as the word “pitchers.” Each of us, symbolically speaking, is a “psaltery” or “pitcher” in the sense that our present life, including how we conduct ourselves throughout each day, is a vessel of the Lord. Such an image is given in these words: “The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, how are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter!”—Lam. 4:2

We are also told in verse 3 to praise God with the harp. Music played on a harp is very peaceful and pleasing to the ear. Praising God with the harp might well represent the development of “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding,” which shall keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.—Phil. 4:7

In verse 4 we are told to praise God with the timbrel and dance, and with stringed instruments, and organs. Perhaps these instruments portray our having joy and gladness in the Lord.—I Sam. 18:6; Ps. 30:11,12; Jer. 31:13

The Prophet Isaiah warns us concerning praise: “The harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the Lord, neither consider the operation of his hands. Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge.” (Isa. 5:12,13) Our praises to the Heavenly Father are not merely to be in words, but in all our actions, as we apply the word of God in our daily life. Thus, another way in which we can demonstrate our praise to God is to “keep His statutes and observe His laws.”—Ps. 105:45, NASB