Praise God in His Sanctuary; Praise Him in His Mighty Heavens

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This verse is the first line of the last Psalm in the Book of Psalms. “Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.” This is a powerful and appropriate way to end this beautiful collection of prayers that cover every possible human emotion and need. God, who answers all of our prayers, is worthy of full-throated, joyous praise. This is the tone of this final psalm.

Our praise for God is to be done in his sanctuary in our attendance at our sabbath services, where we gather together in his name. As we know, “For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them” (Matthew 18:20). Our communal praise of the One who loves us with an unconditional love, the One who has come among us in the flesh to suffer and die for us on the cross, the One who rose again from the dead, freeing us from the slavery of sin and death is right and proper. It is with faith, hope, and love that we gather together to worship, to thank, and to praise him. This is why we gather together in his sanctuary each sabbath. We are there as his children, his pilgrim people, to praise our Lord, who is Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, the One who is with us, even now, inspiring, encouraging, and strengthening us on our way.

Why does he deserve our praise? “For his mighty deeds, for his great majesty” (verse 2). We praise him for the beauty of his creation, for the gift of our lives, but also for the mighty deeds he has done for us throughout history. He brought the people out of slavery in Egypt, and he sent his only begotten Son to free us from the slavery of sin and death once and for all—forever. We are humbled before his great majesty. Even more so by the fact that he did not cling to that majesty when he came among us in the flesh, but took on all of human suffering, even death on a cross. His love humbles us. He loved us even though we were wallowing in sin, even though we were hostile, displeasing even to our fellow human beings, when we were rebellious, hard-hearted, proud, and even disdainful of his love. The majesty of his love is above all of our petty frailties. His love is unconquerable. He loves us with greater tenderness than we can imagine or deserve. His love is even more compassionate toward us when we have wandered far from the narrow path. For when we come to our senses, realize our sins and turn back to him he somehow turns the suffering we’ve caused him into the grace of forgiveness. He even forgets our ingratitudes. For these reasons, the Lord our God, deserves our undying, faithful, and joyous praise.

The psalmist tells us how to give him praise. We are to do it “with trumpet sound, with lute and harp. Praise him with tambourine and dance; with strings and pipe, and with cymbals” (verses 3-5) In other words, we should sing his praise, shout it from the rooftops, not just in the sanctuary, but everywhere, even to the highest heavens. We who believe in Jesus Christ, ought to be giving God praise everywhere we are by the way that we live. To imitate Jesus with our lives is the highest form of praise we can give the Lord. Our lives ought to be marked with service and expressed with great joy. Yes, even in the midst of suffering, we have reason to praise the Lord, for he is all that is good. He is our strength, our reason for hope in the darkness. With him, we have eternal life. Praise him, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord” (verse 6).

Lord, our hearts are filled with awe at the majesty of your love for us. We are moved to praise you in the sanctuary and in the world. Help us to praise you with our very lives in all that we say and do. We ask this believing in the majestic name of Jesus. Amen!

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