Devotions on Psalm 150:1-6, Let Everything That Has Breath Praise the Lord
July 3-9, 2017
Monday, July 3, 2017–Let Everything That Has Breath Praise the Lord
“Praise the Lord” (Psalm 150:1a).
Melissa had been told many times that in order to enjoy a secure retirement she should invest fifteen percent of her income for retirement. Now Melissa was nearing retirement age and regretted that she had not followed the sage advice. Jose didn’t listen when he was told not to touch the hot stove burner and learned a painful lesson.
The Psalmist commands us to praise the Lord. We frequently respond that we don’t have the time, or we’d rather complain. The command is not for the Lord’s benefit, it is for ours. God doesn’t need our praise as an ego boost. Praising God changes us. We see life from a different perspective. Our hearts are lightened and our spirits lifted and we experience the full life that is ours through Jesus Christ.
Lord, may your praises be constantly on our lips.
Tuesday, July 4, 2017–Let Everything That Has Breath Praise the Lord
“Praise God in his sanctuary” (Psalm 150:1b).
Today is a day of celebration for the United States. We give thanks for the freedom that we enjoy—it has come at a price. As followers of Jesus, we also praise the Lord because our freedom and life in this land is a gift from God. At times, however, our praise is constrained.
Lamar spoke with his pastor, following the Sunday worship service. “I’m sorry pastor, I’m just not being fed by your sermons. I’m going to be attending a different congregation.” Sixteen year-old Juanita complained to her parents that the worship service was boring and she didn’t like the music. Such comments are present day phenomena. It is difficult to imagine a worshipper offering a lamb as a sacrifice on the temple altar in Jerusalem, departing after the sacrifice and thinking that he didn’t get much out of the service. Christians, in the sixteenth century didn’t leave a time of worship saying that it was a waste of time
In previous centuries, people understood that worship was for—worship. Christians gathered together to praise the Lord and to celebrate God’s love and grace. The goal wasn’t to get something out of the worship service. The purpose was to focus on God and to give thanks to God for God’s presence, provision and protection in daily life. On Sunday morning, we gather together to obey the Psalmist’s command to, “Praise God in his sanctuary.”
Forgive us, Lord, for the times during our worship we turn our attention away from you and toward us. Amen.
Wednesday, July 5, 2017–Let Everything That Has Breath Praise the Lord
“Praise him in his mighty firmament” (Psalm 150:1c).
Everyday life can become so distracting that we don’t think about praising God until we enter the church where we worship on Sunday mornings. We’ve got “praise him in his sanctuary,” down, but forget that the Psalmist also issues the imperative, “praise him in his mighty firmament.”
Golfers and fisher(people) love this verse. The Psalmist gives them permission to worship the Lord in the middle of a lake or on the back nine. Many of us have experienced how easy it is to praise the Lord from a mountaintop panorama or when we observe a sunrise or sunset. The Psalmist’s (forceful) invitation goes farther than these experiences, though. He is encouraging all of us to praise God in our jobs and our family times together. We can praise God while chauffeuring our children to practices, cheering on our favorite sports team, pounding nails on a Habitat for Humanity build or distributing water bottles to the homeless on a scorching hot day. Whatever the time, wherever we are, it is also appropriate and good to praise the Lord.
Lord, help us to remember that one of the gifts of life is the opportunity to praise you. Amen.
Thursday, July 7, 2017–Let Everything That Has Breath Praise the Lord
“Praise him for his mighty deeds” (Psalm 150:2a).
Truly, God is worthy of our worship and praise. We praise God for who God is and for what God has done. The Psalmist commands us to praise God for his mighty deeds.
Some might limit God’s mighty deeds to supernatural occurrences, such as miracle healings, winning the lottery or narrowly escaping injury. This limits our ability to praise God when, indeed, God has done and is doing so many things that are worthy of our praise.
We can praise God that we have everything we need for our everyday lives—food, clothing, shelter, family and friends. God has given us the ability to work and use our talents and abilities not only to provide for ourselves but also to serve others. The Holy Spirit moves within us to give us the courage to face the challenges of life and comforts us in our struggles. When things look hopeless the Spirit gives us hope along with the ability to love the unlovable and forgive the unforgiveable.
This is just a short list of what God has done in our lives. What is God doing in our lives today? What can we praise God for today?
Praise you, Lord, for all of your mighty deeds in our lives. Amen.
Friday, July 7, 2017–Let Everything That Has Breath Praise the Lord
“Praise him according to his surpassing greatness” (Psalm 150:2c).
Pam recently visited a Children’s Hospital. As she watched the staff and volunteers care for seriously sick children, she was in awe of how God was using their caring actions and words to bring healing. Diego had always been the object of bullying. One morning the class bully decided to take out his frustration on Diego. Diego was amazed that one of his classmates intervened and stopped the bully. Not only that, but several of Diego’s classmates stood up to the bully on behalf of Diego. Diego had never experienced such love and support before.
There are times God moves in our lives and we are left speechless—totally in awe. Those are special, holy moments when we realize that God’s surpassing greatness is worthy of our praise. It is worth our time to recall those noteworthy occasions and pause to praise the Lord.
Lord, you do things beyond our imagination. Truly you are worthy of our praise. Amen.
Saturday, July 8, 2017–Let Everything That Has Breath Praise the Lord
“Praise him with clanging cymbals” (Psalm 150:5).
Julie had discovered something to help her endure her morning and afternoon rush hour commutes. It was Christian praise music. She liked the vocals, but what was especially uplifting to Julie was the instrumental music. Her spirit soared with the notes produced by the band or orchestra. With the music, Julie found that time passed more quickly, she was able to act patiently and calmly when confronted with aggressive drivers and she arrived home relaxed rather than tense.
Music has a powerful effect on our lives. It can set the tone for our day and it certainly is a way to praise the Lord. As disciples of Jesus, we may not be able to carry a tune, but we can join the Universe’s cacophony of praise—clap our hands, tap our feet, keep the beat on our car’s steering wheel or pound out a drum solo on some garbage cans. Our praise of God’s greatness and of God’s work can take on a multitude of expressions.
May the rhythm of our lives give you thanks and praise, O Lord our God. Amen.
Sunday, July 9, 2017–Let Everything That Has Breath Praise the Lord
“Let everything that breathes praise the Lord” (Psalm 150:6)!
Sometimes we humans think we have a corner on the praise market. As “creation’s crown” and people who have been created in God’s image, we assume that we are the only beings that can offer God thanks and praise. According to the Psalmist, this is not the case. He invites God’s children to join with all of creation in singing and sounding out God’s praise.
We may not understand the language, but the early morning songs of birds are sounds of praise. The thumping of dogs’ tails and the purring of cats are sounds of happiness, contentment and praise. The howling of coyotes, the cry of elk and the call of whales are all sounds of praise. Life all around us is singing God’s praise and giving God’s thanks. It is a joyful opportunity and privilege to join the others in praising the Lord.
May our prayers of praise rise before you as incense, as we join all of creation in praising your name. Amen.