Midweek Prayer and Devotion from Psalm 150
There is an effect called the ‘Negativity Bias’ which refers to our tendency to “attend to, learn from, and use negative information far more than positive information.” It has to do with how we process negative and positive occurrences to understand our world. Even when we experience numerous good things in one day, negativity bias can cause us to focus on one bad thing that occurred. Maybe you struggle with this yourself. You have developed a negative, pessimistic mindset toward life.
So what is the solution for this? The power of positive thinking, or simply looking on the bright side is not enough, and is a humanistic approach, a man-centered process. The biblical solution is to develop a God-centered way of thinking. We do not deny reality, or our problems, but we learn to praise God everywhere as the solution. As we arrive at the end of the Psalms, we are reminded that each of the last five Psalms (146-150) begins and ends with words “Praise the Lord” or “Hallelujah.” This is the grand finale of praise where we are instructed 13 times in 6 short verses to praise the Lord. God’s Word instructs us to praise God in all circumstances.
Praise God everywhere.
v1 Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty firmament.
God’s sanctuary refers to the gathering of God’s people, and His dwelling place.
The Tabernacle was the temporary place of worship the Israelites built according to God’s specifications while wandering the desert and was used until King Solomon built a Temple. The word tabernacle means dwelling-place. The Tabernacle had an outer court, 75 feet wide by 150 feet long with a 15 by 45 foot structure in the back. The court walls had linen curtains attached by bronze hooks to a series of pillars. The pillars were supported on the bottom by bronze sockets and held in place. The gate facing east, was about 30 feet of blue, purple, and scarlet woven into a curtain of linen. The tent was divided into two rooms- the Holy Place where the table of showbread, the golden lampstand, and the altar of incense sat. And the Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant was placed. The rooms were separated by a veil. When they moved it the priests carried the Ark of the Covenant on their shoulders but the rest of the Tabernacle was carried on carts drawn by oxen. The purpose of the Tabernacle was to provide a place where people could properly worship God.
The Temple was constructed during the reign of Solomon in Jerusalem. Solomon indicated in his prayer of dedication it was never intended to contain God, because no building made with hands can contain God. King David had wanted to build one, but he was a man of war and God did not permit him to do so. They prepared the materials and brought them to the building site. The dimensions indicated the inside of the ceiling was 180 feet long, 90 feet wide, and 50 feet high. The highest point of the temple was about 20 stories high. The Babylonians destroyed the Temple 400 years in, and then 70 years later another one was constructed and later expanded. The purpose of the Temple was to provide a place where people could properly worship God.
In the New Covenant, God takes up permanent residence in the life of the believer in Jesus Christ. When you accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, the Holy Spirit gives the believer the life of God, eternal life.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.
Today there is no Tabernacle, there is no Temple- instead the believer in Christ is the habitation of the Holy Spirit of God. The purpose of our lives as the Temple of God is to be where our worship of God begins. We gather as the church in our understanding that God has instructed us to in His Word (Hebrews 10:24-25). The Christian life was not intended to be solitary- we are a body, a flock, a building, and a holy nation. Our spiritual gifts are exercised together and John tells us we know we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers and sisters in Christ. We gather for teaching, worship, and edification in a public testimony of our love for Christ. Praise should be the priority of our lives and our priority when we gather for worship.
The mighty firmament refers to the heavens, and is a call to all of the heavenly hosts to praise God. Praise God everywhere! Praise Him on the earth! Praise Him in the heavens! God’s glory fills the expanse of the universe.
Praise God in all things.
v2 Praise Him for His mighty acts, Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!
We should praise God for His mighty acts- God has done some great things.
Psalm 22 reminds us God sent the Messiah.
Psalm 23 tells us God provides for our every need as our Shepherd.
Psalm 32 communicates God shows mercy to repentant sinners.
Psalm 57 God is sufficient in a time of trial.
Psalm 71 God gives grace for old age.
Psalm 77:11-15 I will call to mind the deeds of the Lord; I will remember your wonders of old. I will meditate on all your work, and muse on your mighty deeds. Your way, O God, is holy. What god is so great as our God? You are the God who works wonders, you have displayed your might among the peoples. With your strong arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
Psalm 119 God has given us His Word to guide us.
Psalm 139 tells us God formed us while we were still in the womb, and ordained all the days of our lives.
Think of what God has done for you- He gave you life, if you have trusted in Jesus He has given you eternal life, He has faithfully sustained you, and He has promised you a bright future.
We should praise God for His excellent greatness, simply for who He is. He is perfect and lacking in nothing. Historically people took the adjective Great and made it a part of names- Alexander the Great, Peter the Great, Catherine the Great. God alone is great! No one ever has or ever will fully grasp the depths of his greatness.
1 Timothy 6:16 He is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who alone possesses immortality, and dwells in unapproachable light.
Revelation 4:11 Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things and because of Your will they existed, and were created.
Psalm 145:3-5 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.
Our praise commends God and His works to the next generation. God is holy and loving, just and gracious, full of wrath toward sin and full of mercy toward sinners. He is unstoppable, all-powerful, all-knowing, present everywhere, the Judge, the Redeemer, the Righteous One, glorious, beautiful, majestic, and incomparable. He has created and sustains everything in the universe, smote Egypt with ten plagues, parted the Red Sea and Jordan River, defeated armies, set up and tore down kings and kingdoms, and worked on behalf of his people to bring about their salvation. We should seek to know God as He is revealed in His Word and open our mouths and declare Him to those around us.
Praise God with everything you have.
vv3-5 Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp! Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes! Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with clashing cymbals! The idea of these verses is use the best of everything you have to praise God.
Everything you have includes a joyful approach. Worship needs to be reverent, as is fitting in the presence of our Holy God. When we confess our sins and reflect on the cross it is certainly a serious matter. But we serve a risen Savior!
Everything you have includes a fervent approach. Apathy in our spiritual lives is so dangerous. Praise comes from a fervent focus in our lives. Jesus told the Samaritan woman in John 4:23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to worship Him. Worship/Praise is a matter of the heart and guided by the Spirit and by Truth. Praise engages the whole heart. Unless there is a passion for God, there is no worship in Spirit. At the same time, worship must be in truth, properly informed.
Spirit without truth leads to a shallow, overly emotional experience.
Truth without Spirit can lead to a dry, passionless encounter.
The more we know God the more in-depth our worship will be. Worship God with your whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. Real praise is God-centered. Worship is not about you or me or us. Worship is about God. We worship because he’s worth it. That’s what the word “worship” means—worth-ship. In our consumer-driven society, it’s easy to forget that. We each have styles of music and forms of worship that are meaningful to us. We each bring personal needs and questions and desires into this space on Sundays. That’s all okay; we need to bring our true selves to worship. But ultimately, worship is about God and what he wants to reveal or accomplish each time we come together.
For those of us who participate in worship: instead of focusing on whether you “like” a particular expression of worship, try focusing on what it’s saying about God, or what God might be saying to you through it. Real praise is biblically grounded. What we need in church is more reading of and reflection on God’s Word. Real praise is heart-felt. Worship isn’t just going through the motions (standing, sitting, singing, giving), and it isn’t just a cerebral exercise (talking and listening). Real worship engages us in the deep place where repentance, belief, and commitment take place. v6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord. Again, 13x we are instructed to praise God. God commands praise and it is a matter of obedience to our great God.
All of life is an act of worship!