Psalm 135 Commentary
What comes immediately to the saint’s mind when they encounter the term praise? Compliment? Commendation, perhaps. The word praise has several synonyms but the closest fit to what we find in the first section of this psalm is admiration.
The servants are encouraged to praise the name of the LORD. Praise expresses itself as verbal declarations of our deep admiration for the LORD. Or as words arranged in a song.
But why? The LORD is good; the LORD is kind. It is enjoyable to do so. Verse 3.
Then the psalmist backs up his claims with evidence. He chose Jacob for Himself.
Verse 5 and the rest may require another synonym for praise. Probably the word ‘acclaim’ or ‘applause’ would do.
The LORD is great; greater than all other gods. He is sovereign over creation. The mention of heaven may be a reference to the universe while the word ‘earth’ definitely refers to the material world we know. The mention of ‘seas’ and the ‘depths below’ may refer to God’s rule over spaces far beyond our own.
Then the psalmist zooms into the details of our daily experiences with elements of creation: storms, lightning, and wind. Stand in awe of the LORD as you ponder God’s creation.
Then comes God’s work amongst His own people. The famous exodus and the activities in attendance may draw the saint’s attention to the countless moments of God’s interventions.
The climax of this psalm comes when the psalmist pauses his thoughts and addresses the LORD directly. “LORD, you will always be proclaimed as God.” It is a taste of heaven. Church should end here. Indeed, there is nothing more to life beyond this point. You are done.
But the LORD throws you back into the ring. Your heart beats again. You are back in the world. You must confront the god pretenders. You know they are lifeless, together with the men and women who make them. It is all emptiness. They know it.
If you see what the psalmist has seen, you want to say it out: “Praise the LORD, people of Israel, praise Him, you saints. Praise Him all you that worship Him.” Let the household of faith praise the LORD.
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