Lately I’ve been reading Psalms 146-150—the last five chapters in the book of Psalms. These psalms have a unique format—they each begin and end with the phrase, “Praise the LORD!” In between are all the reasons that he is worthy to be praised.
While reading these Psalms, I’ve noticed five things they teach us about praising God.
1. Praise is repetitive.
Some people criticize modern worship music for being too repetitive. While it’s true that a chorus can lose all meaning after the twentieth time we sing it, not all repetitiveness is bad.
In the Psalms, praising God usually consists of repeating the same wonderful works over and over in infinitely different combinations of words. That’s why sometimes the Psalms can seem boring and repetitive until God opens our eyes to see the beauty and glory they’re describing.
2. Praise is restating what we know about God.
These five psalms are essentially lists of God’s works and attributes. Psalm 146 talks about all the things he does for the oppressed and the hungry, and Psalms 147 and 148 talk about the wonders of his creation. Throughout the Bible, God’s people praise him by repeating the stories of all his works, even though God and everyone else listening already know them.
3. Praise is beautiful and pleasant.
Psalm 147:1 says this outright: “Praise the LORD! For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.” All five psalms continue to drive home that point in the pictures they paint of the glory and worthiness of God.
The psalmist wasn’t just writing down random words as they came to him; these psalms are artful works of poetry. For all those who love God, praising him is every bit a pleasant and enjoyable thing to do, and pleasant praise produces colorful, vibrant word pictures.
4. We praise God for his greatness.
The greatness of God is displayed in his creation and his strength, as listed in these psalms: he made heaven and earth; he counts the stars and calls them by name; his understanding is infinite; he controls every act of nature, of the cold, the snow, the wind, all mountains and trees and animals, and people from kings to children. But there’s more: he’s not just great, he’s also good.
5. We praise God for his goodness.
Greatness and goodness are not the same quality. The goodness of God is in what he does for his people. He executes justice for the oppressed, opens the eyes of the blind, gathers the outcasts, heals the broken hearted, lifts up the humble, takes pleasure in those who fear him and hope in his mercy, declares his word to his people, and beautifies the humble with salvation.
So many people see only the greatness or the goodness of God. They see him as only holy or only loving. They either see him as a fearsome Creator and Judge, far too great and holy to approach, or as a sweet, grandfatherly figure who only wants to give nice gifts to his children. It’s hard to see how he can be fully holy and fully loving.
But in these five Psalms, God’s greatness and goodness are perfectly intermingled. The psalmist alternates between describing the breathtaking magnificence of his creation and the simple kindness that he directs towards his people.
This is one reason why I’ve always loved the song Indescribable by Chris Tomlin. One repeating line throughout the song says, “You placed the stars in the sky and you know them by name,” but in the last chorus it changes to “You see the depths of my heart and You love me the same.”That is our God---the One who is fully good and fully great---and that is why he is worthy of all praise. Click To Tweet
That is our God—the One who does both—and that is why he is worthy of all praise.
So praise the LORD!