Welcome to The Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Hello again, I'm Bill Wright. Today Don continues teaching God's people God's Word in our current series titled A Chorus of Praise. Let's join Don now with part one of a message called The Grand Finale from Psalm 150 here on The Truth Pulpit. Psalm 150 becomes the climax of the entire Psalter. It is the summary message of all 150 of the Psalms and the way that they have been arranged for us so many years ago.
And you can tell that the Psalter has been arranged in an intelligent way, designed to communicate this very message. The Psalms, all 150 of them, are divided into five books of different length. Book 1 contains Psalms 1 through 41. Book 2, Psalms 42 through 72. Book 3, Psalms 73 through 89. Book 4, Psalm 90, a psalm of Moses, through Psalm 106. And then Book 5, Psalms 107 through 150.
It thrills the soul of the redeemed heart just to start to see little things like this that perhaps you've overlooked in your Bible reading plan and you've you've just kind of brushed through things and and not recognize the way that God had the Psalms put together providentially. Well as you consider those books of Psalms, each of those books, those five books, ends with a doxology of praise to God. As you walk through this book by book by book, Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, Book 4, they're all ending on this closing theme of praising God, blessing God, praise the Lord.
It provides the the summary. You want to reflect back on the prior 41 Psalms you say at the end of Book 1? Here's the lesson, praise the Lord. You want to look back on Book 2 and and the prior 31 Psalms there? Bless the Lord, praise his name.
73 through 89, blessed be the name of the Lord. At all of these key junctures, these key hinges, as the books are tied together, the hinge upon which you go from one book to the other in the Psalms is all hinging on the praise of God. It is just astonishing.
It is just remarkable what is done. And what I would plead with the Spirit of God to do in your hearts, each one of you, is that there would just be this wellspring of awe and glory rising up in your heart to honor God and to be drawn into the majesty and power of the message of the Psalms, praise the Lord. Now these doxologies at the end of the first four books reinforce the theme of the Psalms.
And as they've gone through all manner of circumstances of life, David in a cave, David before his enemies, David confessing his sin with Bathsheba, the psalmist in Psalm 73 wrestling, nearly losing his faith because he's troubled by the prosperity of the wicked and the troubles of the righteous. The majesties of Psalm 119, in some ways the greatest of all the Psalms, 176 verses all magnifying the Word of God, the written Word of God, the written inerrant Word of God. And all of these other great themes, Psalm 22 looking forward to Christ, Psalm 23 looking forward looking at the Great Shepherd and Jesus in John 10 saying, I am that Shepherd.
All of these things calling forth praise to God, calling us to worship through all of life. And as you go through and you continue on you come to Psalm 146, turn there with me, Psalm 146. In Psalm 146 the arrangement of the Psalter brings all of this praise and takes it somehow somehow takes it to yet another level of glory and praise and worship to God, showing forth in the final five Psalms the great climax of all five books of the Psalm. It just builds praise upon praise upon praise. The last five Psalms, 146 through 150, are known as the final Hallel.
Hallel being the Hebrew word from which we get our word hallelujah. Praise Yahweh, praise God. Now as I've mentioned a number of times, if you think about going to a great fireworks display, there's great excitement and beauty as one by one the rockets are shot up and you see these magnificent rockets going off and exploding against the night sky, the collars radiating throughout the sky as the ashes fall down and display their intended glory, and each individual firework has its own unique contribution to the overall show, but you know that in a well-designed, a well-engineered firework display, there is there is a massive climax to it where fireworks are going off if not dozens of times, dozens at once, exploding boom boom boom boom and you're just overwhelmed by the colors and the sound and the majesty against the night sky.
It's electrifying! Well take that, multiply it by infinity, take it take away a human element that's going to come and go in a few moments and the lights are going to go back on and you're going to go back home and it's all passing. But contemplate the grand finale of a fireworks display and realize that that's what you're getting in the final five Psalms of the Psalter. Each one of these five Psalms begin and end with hallelujah, praise the Lord. Look at Psalm 146, this is all setting up the context for Psalm 150 by the way, when the theme is the praise of the Lord you're never on a tangent, you're at the very core of why men were created to exist, to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever according to the Westminster Catechism. And I want you to see this, you've seen the hinge points at the end of the first four books of the Psalms, now in Psalm 146 through 150 you see each Psalm beginning and ending with the theme, praise the Lord, and when that happens there's an envelope technique, a bookend technique, maybe easier said, that the beginning bookend and the ending bookend are telling you what the whole Psalm is about.
Everything in between the opening and closing verse is telling you that what comes in between is all designed to contribute to the greater theme that's been identified at the beginning and at the end. And so let's just see this without looking at the Psalms in detail. Psalm 146 verse 1, praise the Lord, praise the Lord oh my soul. And then in verse 2, I will praise the Lord while I live, I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. Verse 10, the Lord will reign forever, your God oh Zion to all generations, praise the Lord. Psalm 147 verse 1, praise the Lord for it is good to sing praises to our God for it is pleasant and praise is becoming. Verse 20 of Psalm 147, he has not dealt thus with any nation and as for his ordinances they have not known them, praise the Lord. Psalm 148, praise the Lord, praise the Lord from the heavens, praise him in the heights, praise him all his angels, praise him all his hosts, praise him sun and moon, praise him all stars of light, praise him highest heavens. Verses 13 and 14 of Psalm 148, let them praise the name of the Lord for his name alone is exalted, his glory is above earth and heaven and 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, praise the Lord. Psalm 149, now let me just stop here for a moment to just say something here.
I could picture an impatient skeptic in the audience saying get to the point, let's get on with it. You've made your point, it's about praise the Lord, get on to whatever it is that you're going to say. Beloved, that's a wrong sinful rebellious attitude toward the word of God. God has given us his word in a way that calls us to the attention of his praise in very profound and repeated ways and we are to see this repetition to understand the great emphasis that it places on this theme, to understand that this is the way to understand all of the Psalms, to set aside everything about our impatient carnal spirits and to bring it into submission to this great theme of praising the Lord, praising the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The emphasis is not something to be rushed through in our modern mind and our short attention spans, the emphasis and the repetition is something that we are to stop and to dwell upon and let the constant repeating of these phrases and these words sink deep into our hearts.
Why do we need that? It's because we are so stubborn and we are so slow to learn, we are so slow to take our focus off of ourselves and our earthly problems and lift them up in praise and glory to God, that all of this emphasis is designed so that there is no excuse for missing the theme. Every one of us in this room is now accountable for recognizing that this is what all of Scripture and the Psalms in particular call us to, to live a life to the glory of God and to praise him from the bottom of our hearts with all of our being, with all of our might, soul and strength and to love him.
We could never go through this slow enough to give the proper attention that it deserves. Psalm 149 verse 1, and see when we embrace it, when we embrace, beloved, this theme and embrace and take the time to see what Scripture says about it, embrace the time to go through the Psalms like we're doing, as we embrace that, we are finding forth what the effect that the Psalms are intended to have upon us. Psalm 149 verse 1, praise the Lord, sing to the Lord a new song in his praise in the congregation of the godly ones.
Verse 9 of Psalm 149 verse 9, to execute on them the kings of the earth, Psalm 149 answers the call upon nations in Psalm 2, to execute on them the judgment written, this is an honor for all his godly ones, praise the Lord. After all of that, all 149 Psalms, all the prior four books coming together and everything that we've seen so far, now we come to Psalm 150 and we come to the close of the final Hallel, we come to the grand finale of it all. Beloved, all of the Psalms, all of the structure, all of the books of the Psalms, everything that has been said, all of it has been pointing to Psalm 150 as the climax. If you want to think about it from another terms of a metaphor or illustration, we've gone to the camp at the base of Mount Everest and we've gradually worked our way up, taking in the oxygen as we can, seeing the sights along the way, now we're at the summit, now there is no higher point to go, and we look to our left, to our right, we do a 360 around and we take in the fact that there is the splendor all around us and everything, everything is below that great summit.
Everything is subordinate to that high point. And now in Psalm 150 we stand on the the summit of the Mount Everest of the Psalms and we see what it's all about. Everything that would obstruct our vision, the trials, the temptations, the terrors, the enemies, the friends, everything's been taken away that would obstruct our view and we're standing at the top and we look around and everything that we see is praise.
All the joy, sorrow, confession, lament, and trust points right here. Promised Messiah throughout the Psalms, this is the response. The Lord God is to be praised. Psalm 150 combines brevity with comprehensive. It is brief and yet it is exhaustive in what it calls us to do and gives us the reasons for which we praise our God. The word praise, it's just amazing, it's just, just remarkable. Everything about this is remarkable and the reason that it's remarkable is because this is the inspired Word of God. This comes to us from the mind of God mediated by his Spirit through the writers of Scripture. So we have an inerrant Word in front of us and we see the purpose of God in his Word as the Holy Spirit illuminates our minds.
If this doesn't thrill your heart, something's wrong, there's a deadness in you that needs to be awakened by the Holy Spirit. The word praise that we've been emphasizing so much for 149 Psalms, the word praise now dominates Psalm 150. You would think, you would think in our modern way of doing things, you would think that 149 had been enough with the point has been made. Why dwell on it anymore?
If we stopped right here everybody would have the point. God's Word doesn't see it that way. God's Word says we need to take it all in one more time and come to the same conclusion one more time so that in these six brief verses of Psalm 150 the word praise occurs 13 times. 13 times in six verses after the whole book has been given unto this theme. You reach a point as a teacher, as a preacher, as an expositor of the Word of God, you run out of ways to illustrate and to emphasize it. All you can do is just step back and let the Word of God speak for itself and let the Holy Spirit have his way in the hearts of those who hear.
And so we're not in a hurry. In fact it's kind of sad for me to come to the end of it, but it's with a grateful heart for the strength that the Lord has given to us as a church to be able to bring it to this great climax to the praise and glory of his most wonderful eternal name. What we're going to do is we look at Psalm 150, we're going to structure our exposition to surround four questions.
Four very simple questions that are going to address it for one final time, give us the summary of it all one final time, and then see the climactic call one last time at the end. May God help us as we do. First question asked and answered by Psalm 150. Number one is, where should God be praised? Where should God be praised?
Simple answer. The short answer to that question is, everywhere. God should be praised everywhere. Look at verse 1, praise the Lord, praise God in his sanctuary, praise him in his mighty expanse.
Now even at the start there, there's a difference of view, difference of opinion among good commentators. Some of them take the word sanctuary to be a reference to the dwelling place of God in heaven and in the exalted skies. And the parallel, they would say look at the parallel at the end of verse 1, says praise God in his sanctuary, praise him in his mighty expanse. So the idea is the parallelism is that you're looking up at the universe and saying praise God in the universe.
But it's probably better to take it in a slightly different way. All of the Psalms have been building up and this is directed to, this is directed to men to praise God. And so we could think of his sanctuary as the temple on earth before it was destroyed in the invasion against Israel. The temple where God manifested his presence, where the worship of Israel was focused, praise him in his sanctuary there. Look to the place, oh this is so good, look to the place where God has manifested his presence on earth and worship him there. It's a call to God's worshippers among men to give him praise where he has made himself known.
Now why is that so good? Why is that so clarifying for us? Because we can look at this after the cross. We can look at this after the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ and ask ourselves where has God tabernacled among men? Where has God made his presence known among men now in our day? And he's made himself known in the Lord Jesus Christ.
God manifested his presence in the temple in the days of Israel in the Old Testament. Now he's manifested his presence in the Lord Jesus Christ fully God, fully man, fully equal with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and now he's made known in the perfections of his word. People of God are being called from among men to give him praise. Then the mighty expanse in verse 1 becomes the skies which declare his glory. Psalm 19 verse 1, the heavens are telling of the glory of God. And so we look at men, we look at worshippers on earth, the call is to praise the Lord. We look up at the sky and the heavens are telling of the glory of God and in response we praise him. In other words, beloved, on earth and in the skies that we observe we see this magnificent fact. The glory of God fills the universe. Therefore, earth and all within it should be filled with his praise. The Lord made you in your mother's womb. Psalm 139 verses 13 to 16. He not only made your outer man, he formed your inner man. He gave you a soul and in that soul that God has given to you, with the body that he has given to you, in the lifespan that he has given to you, everything about you is to be devoted to the same great theme that Psalm 150 has laid out, praise the Lord.
The call is the same. Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1st Corinthians 10 verse 31. Scripture emphasizes this point in so many different ways. The point is is that we come under the majesty of the Psalms, we see their theme is to praise the Lord, and we realize that everything about us, all of our heart, all of our soul, all of our strength, all of our minds, our thinking is given over in a way that is given over to the worship of God. If God has given you a mind, not only physical life, but God has given you mental capacities of varying kinds, your mind even is to be exercised so that glory is given to God, not to man. Glory is given to God, not to yourself.
Because the theme of it all is praise the Lord, not praise Don, praise John, praise Joan, praise Sue. All of a sudden we realize that the purpose of our lives has been defined for us by the Psalms, so that everything we do, everything that we think, is given over to obedience to God. Given over to obedience in great principles and in small principles. That that there is nothing in God's Word that calls for our obedience, that we are free to disregard and disobey. Yes, we all sin, we all stumble in many ways, but we don't accept that.
It's not okay. That's Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, with part one of his message titled, The Grand Finale, here on The Truth Pulpit. Before we go, here again is Don with a closing thought. Thank you for your interest in God's Word and listening to The Truth Pulpit today, and also to just ask you with a humble request that you would support our ministry in prayer. You know, the Apostle Paul spoke about ministry, and he said there are many adversaries, and Ephesians 6 says that, you know, we're in a spiritual battle with the spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places. So friends, as we minister the Word of God, I am conscious of the need for the help of the Holy Spirit, and I would invite you to join with us in the ministry of God's Word by supporting us in prayer. The Apostle Paul said it simply in 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 verse 25, when he said, Brethren, pray for us. And that would be my request to you as we end the broadcast today. Brethren, pray for us as we minister God's Word, that God's Word would be effective to build up the saints and to bring salvation to the lost, and that God would use this ministry to the advance of his kingdom to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. We'll see you next time on The Truth Pulpit. Now for Don Green, I'm Bill Wright, inviting you back next time as our teacher teaches God's people God's Word from the Truth Pulpit.
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