Welcome to the Truth Pulpit with Don Green, Founding Pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Hi, I'm Bill Wright. Today Don continues teaching God's people God's Word as he continues our series titled, A Chorus of Praise. Let's join Don now with part two of a message called, Creation Unites in Praise. It's from Psalm 148 here on the Truth Pulpit.
As we near the end of this magnificent worship book in the Bible, Psalm 148, and now what's being addressed here is the inner man of the reader saying, you join in on this praise and what will you do with that? Going back to verses five and six, we read, God created all things. He assigned their position in the universe. He appointed their functions. He appointed their existence. And for you and me, he even appointed the day of our birth and the day of our death. God has sovereignly appointed you for the life that he has given to you.
He sovereignly directs all of the details of it in the process. And spiritual growth is found and measured by your daily recognition of that, your daily embrace of that, your daily dependence on the God who gave you life, and your response of praise. You know, we have been profoundly blessed.
We're not talking at all about any of our external possessions or our relationships or our health or anything like that. Contemplate the fact that a God like this created you, in Christ redeemed you, and that by his sovereign appointment, you have an existence that he has given to you. You have a place in heaven reserved for you, Peter says, and it's just overwhelming. We're brought back to Psalm 8. And often lukewarm, indifferent worshiper of you, that you have bestowed such grace, such eternal meaning on my existence, that you have blessed me in all of these ways and given me the capacity to not know you exhaustively, but to know you truly, and to join in the all of creation in worshipping you. This is revolutionary to understanding our position and our existence in life.
You just kind of want to just, if there, we need like 150 corners in this room where we could all just go off into a different corner and just sit down and contemplate it. As we contemplate, before we close this section on the heavens giving praise to God, I just want to point you to a couple of passages in the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah that lend to this, to the significance of the praise of the heavens. Because in Jeremiah in particular, the fixed orbits of the heavenly bodies are a testimony to something else. They are a testimony to the faithfulness of God, so that you could say that no one understands astronomy at all, no matter how deeply they've studied it or how deep their doctorates are in it, until they understand that the purpose of those bodies that they observe and study are to give glory to their creator. You don't understand the first thing about astronomy until you understand this. How can you understand a heavenly body unless you understand the purpose for which it exists and who put it there? Jeremiah 31 verses 35 and 37, thus says the Lord, Jeremiah 31 verse 35, thus says the Lord, who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar.
The Lord of hosts is his name. If this fixed order departs from before me, declares the Lord, then the offspring of Israel also will cease from being a nation before me forever. Thus says the Lord, if the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth searched out below, then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel for all that they have done, declares the Lord. If you can measure the span of the heavens, if you can measure the depths of the earth, then perhaps the Lord would consider abandoning his faithfulness to his covenant people. But since you can't do that, since the heavens are beyond that kind of measurement, then understand that the faithfulness of God to his people will never cease.
He makes a similar statement in chapter 33 verse 20 of Jeremiah, verse 20 chapter 33, thus says the Lord, if you can break my covenant for the day and my covenant for the night so that day and night will not be at their appointed time, then my covenant may also be broken with David my servant so that he will not have a son to reign on his throne and with the Levitical priests my ministers. As the host of heaven cannot be counted and the sand of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the descendants of David my servant and the Levites who minister to me. God takes the heavens and says, measure my faithfulness to my people, measure my faithfulness to my promises by the certainty of the fixed nature of their orbits and trust me, praise me, wait on me. We look at these heavens, they are called to praise God, they reveal the faithfulness of God to us and we praise in response to it. That's the praise in the heavens. Go back now to Psalm 148 and we'll consider briefly the second section, the praise on earth. The praise on earth, because as we look at verses seven and nine, he now calls on the created order on earth to give praise to the Lord.
Look at verses seven through nine. Praise the Lord from the earth, sea monsters and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and clouds, stormy wind fulfilling his word, mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, giving praise to God. Now, in the first aspect, the first section of the Psalm, the praise from heaven, the praise started with conscious beings and then moved down into the inanimate or unconscious realm. So in verse two, you see, praise him all his angels, praise him all his hosts, conscious, intelligent beings, and then moving into the inanimate aspects of creation, sun and moon, stars of light. Here in verse seven, he starts with sea monsters in the deep and then he addresses the inanimate creation and moves up to conscious being. He starts at the lower order of creation, in other words, in this opening part of the second section of the Psalm. He starts with the lower order of creation and moves up. In the first section, he started at the high end and moved down, as it were, from conscious, intelligent beings down.
Here he starts with the unconscious beings and moves up, as we will see. So this section starts low, raises to mankind generally, and then reaches its climax in those people who are in covenant relationship with God. And so he starts in the sea, verse seven, praise the Lord from the earth, sea monsters and all deeps. He starts in the sea with brevity and then he moves to the air, fire and hail, snow and clouds, stormy wind fulfilling his word from sea to the air and then to land itself.
Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars. And so we see here, we see again, we get another display of the spectrum of the comprehensive nature of the call to praise. You look at the sea, you look at the air, you look at the land, everything in them, everything that populates those different realms on earth called to praise God. We get a sense that God is sovereign over climate, sovereign over calamities, because even weather events are personified and called to praise him. And so Christians should be very careful about getting caught up in climate hysteria. God is directing it all. God is sovereign over it all. We should not be brought into the fearful realm of men when we see that scripture tells us that God is sovereign over that with which they are trying to cause us to fear and to fear and to control us and to take our money in response. We should not be driven by that, but rather finding our comfort, finding our grounds for praise and the fact that the sovereignty of God is displayed in the motions of the clouds, that the sovereignty of God is displayed in the morning sunrise and the evening sunset as he paints on the canvas of the skies with his inestimable power and beauty and creative might.
We sing a hymn that says, and this isn't in my notes, so I'm going by memory and that's always a little bit dangerous. Heaven above is softer blue. Earth around is sweeter green. Something lives in every hue that Christless eyes have never seen. You look at the sunrise, you look at the sunset, you look at them differently as a believer. You look at them differently through this perspective.
This changes your entire perspective on life. And every glimpse at the sky above becomes a conscious recognition of the glory of God being displayed before you. He moves on from verse nine, he moves on to wild animals and domesticated ones. Verse 10, beasts and all cattle, creeping things and winged fowl. So he goes from the elements of the landscape and the topography into the animals that move on it. And he calls and through all of this, he is calling all of these elements. He's personifying these elements so that there would be nothing at all in all of creation that is excluded from the call. And really the extended sense of understanding this on a spiritual plane is that he's wanting us to see that in everything in creation is a display of the glory of God that causes us to praise him. Because ultimately the psalm is directed to sentiment thinking beings who have the capacity to understand and respond.
These other elements are personified in order to expand the basis of our own praise. And then he moves from animals and rises to the height of men from a human perspective. We saw the animals in verse 10. Verse 11, he goes immediately to the highest men on earth. Verse 11, kings of the earth, you praise him. In other words, all peoples you praise him, princes and all judges of the earth.
Verse 12, both young men and virgins, old men and children. I just get lost in the majesty of the word of God. I just get lost in the majesty, in the splendor of everything that it is saying and how far reaching it is. If there are seven billion people on the earth today, every single one of them on all seven of the continents are beckoned and commanded by this psalm to praise God. Believer and unbeliever alike receive the same command. And whether you're old or young, whether you're a man or a woman, a boy or a girl, everyone. This is so, the scope of this stretches around the entire sphere of the globe and calls everyone to praise. But if we can somehow speak in these terms, it encircles the entire created universe and calls all of the universe to praise.
Breathtaking. Every age, each sex, every social position from the highest to the lowest is under biblical obligation to praise him. It reminds me of Psalm 100, verse 1, shout joyfully to the Lord all the earth. And understand, beloved, that as we read these things, that even in the Old Testament, scripture is addressing man beyond the Jewish nation. This call goes out to all. This goes to Jew and Gentile alike.
This eliminates the possibility of any other God having any competing existence. This call to worship the biblical God is a command for all men everywhere to leave their false religion and to bow in submission to the God of the Bible, which is another way of calling men to bow and submit to the lordship of Jesus Christ, to repent and to receive him as Lord, because he is the creator of heaven and earth. Colossians 1, John 1, and many other places as well. And so as we've seen this comprehensive call in verse 13, he summarizes the call to all of humanity, to all of those on earth, and gives the reason why this praise must be ascribed to God. Verse 13. Let them praise the name of the Lord. The them coming from the immediate context, kings of the earth, all peoples, princes, all judges of the earth. In other words, men of any rank, young men and virgins, old men and children. Providentially, it reminds me of Titus 2, which we've been studying on Sundays. Titus 2 addressing old men, young men, older women, younger women in the church. Well, in a different realm, in a different way, here you see once again all those different segments being addressed and called to the honor of God and obedience to him. They're all called. Let them, let them all praise the name of the Lord.
And here's why. For his name alone is exalted. His glory is above earth and heaven. That word exalted means that the name of God, the character of God, a full understanding of his infinite eternal essence, it's exalted, meaning that it is out of our reach. We cannot fully comprehend the infinite greatness of God.
It is simply too high for us. And yet we're called to praise him. We can praise him according to truth.
Even if we cannot do it exhaustively, we can do it truly. God can be known truly, even if he cannot be known exhaustively. And so all creation, the things in heaven, all creation, the things in earth must join in the effort because God is worthy of the praise of all of it. His splendor, beloved, his majesty, his glory, his greatness is beyond the combined parts of his creation. You look at the fullness of all that we've considered here in these 14 verses, and you add it all up, and then at its best, it still falls infinitely short of the glory of God, because God is distinct from his creation. His existence is independent of his creation. And yet he is the author of creation and creation, which owes its existence to him, owes its continual provision to him. The only proper response is to praise him. And to refuse the call to praise is to commit a sin of unimaginable treachery and treason against our maker. But the praise must be universal because everything derives from him.
The book of Acts chapter 17 says, in him we live and move and have our being. And so we are obligated to confess these truths. We are obligated to praise God in response, just by being members of the human race. But he saves his climax for the very end of the psalm. He concludes at the pinnacle, the people who should most be responsive and receptive to this call to praise. And he calls the people of God to praise him. Verse 14, he has lifted up a horn for his people, praise for all his godly ones, even for the sons of Israel, a people near to him.
The horn was a symbol of strength and vigor. God gave strength and prosperity to the nation of Israel. Read the Old Testament, read the narrative history in Joshua and Judges and 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles. Read through that history and see God blessing and keeping his people, even in their times of disobedience. See him responding to them in their times of repentance.
And recognize that he is giving strength and prosperity to his chosen nation. They knew God, not only as creator, but also as their redeemer. In the same way that you and I, as Christians, know God not only as our maker, as the one who gave us life, but the one who has redeemed our souls, who has loved us and given himself up for us. And we of all people, beloved, you and I as believers in Christ, in this call that goes out to all of the universe, that goes to the galaxies, that goes to the supernovas and beckons them to praise, that goes to the depths of the sea and the heights of the mountains and beckons them to praise, that looks at the clouds and the orbits in the sky and calls them to praise. Of all of those exalted aspects of creation, beloved, what this psalm is telling us as the people of God is that we should be at the front of all of them leading the parade because of the particular special mercy that he has shown to us in Christ. All rational beings should be ready to glorify him and his people, the redeemed, who have been the personal objects of special, electing, redemptive love, should be all the more ready to praise him.
Standing the band, standing as it were on a platform before the universe, lifting our hands and saying all sing, all creatures of our God and King, lift up your voice and with us sing hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah. Beloved, look beyond yourself, look beyond life today. Look up and see the majesty of God. Look to Christ, look to the cross, and see it all personified in redemptive love. Then bow your hearts low and praise the Lord. That's Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, with part two of a message titled Creation Unites in Praise here on the Truth Pulpit.
And now before we go, here again is Don with a closing thought. Well, my friend, I just want to thank you for listening to the Truth Pulpit and also to extend an invitation to you. If you live in the Cincinnati area or even if you're just visiting in the area, perhaps as a tourist or something like that, let me invite you to come and visit us live at Truth Community Church for one of our services. We meet each Sunday at 9 o'clock a.m. and Tuesday evenings at 7 p.m. and I'm usually in the pulpit during those times. You can find our address at thetruthpulpit.com.
That's the church address for Truth Community Church at thetruthpulpit.com. And if you come, please come up and introduce yourself to me. I would love to meet you.
Say hello and see where you're from and those kinds of things. Again, visit our church, Truth Community Church. Find our meeting address at thetruthpulpit.com. Now for Don Green. I'm Bill Wright. We'll see you next time as Don continues in his ministry of teaching God's people God's Word in the truth pulpit.
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