The Psalm for Easter 2 is Psalm 148. Because the pericopal system does not have an Old Testament Lesson during the Easter season, I will be providing translation notes for the appointed Psalm. There are many suggestions as to how one should order the Psalms. There is the traditional “Five Books,” while some prefer to order by author, and others by date or by era. Of course, there are also those who see them in relationship to topic or style. All of these serve a good purpose. However, I would like to follow another approach. This has been suggested by W. Brueggemann and others. It follows what can be generally referred to as a relational/relationship model. I believe this helps us to better understand the intent and effect of the Psalms. The idea is there are three “categories” in the Psalms: Orientation—Disorientation—New Orientation (although I prefer the term “Re-Orientation”). God created the heavens and the earth. All are perfectly orientated (see the Creation Psalms and Torah Psalms). However, the Fall into sin brought disorientation into our world (see the Lament Psalms and Penitential Psalms). But, into this disorientation God brings new/re-orientation by sending His Son (see the Messianic Psalms, Praise Psalms, Thanksgiving Psalms, etc.). Obviously, this captures the reality of our world, the truth of our lives, and, of course, the life of worship. For this reason, the Psalms have always held a very special and personal place for the Church and for individuals.
Looking at Psalm 148, the question is this: Is this a Psalm of Orientation or a Psalm of Re-orientation? I would suggest the answer is, “YES.” It is very common for a Psalm to have more than one of the three categories and they frequently have all three! So, in Psalm 148 we begin with the language of creation and “Orientation.” God has created perfectly. God is in the house and all is right with the world! Then, in verse 7 we appear to move to language which continues the praise theme but is centered in the here and now. This would be the reality of a world re-orientated to its Creator. Then the final verse of the Psalm tells us the “why and how” of this re-orientation. God has raised up a “horn” for His people. This is the “Horn of our Salvation,” the One who re-orientates us to a right relationship, a restored relationship with our God in Jesus Christ!
God has created perfectly. God is in the house and all is right with the world!
Thus, verses 1-5a focus on a summons to all creation to praise, while 5b-6 focus on the reason for that praise. Verses 7-13 are also a summons to praise even amid this present world and verse 14 tells us how it is possible—the re-orientation with God which is ours in Christ Jesus.
148:1 הַלְלוּ יָהּ/הַלְלוּ אֶת־יְהוָה (Hal-lu YAH hal-Lu et-Yah-weh) “Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD” Note the shortened form for YAHWEH and then the normal form.
בַּמְּרוֹמִים (bam-me-ro-Mim) from: מָרוֹם (maw-rome) “heaven; height” “In the heights”
148:2 כָל־צְבָאָיו (kol-tze-va-Av) “All His hosts” The original Hebrew is written as “all His host” but was read as “hosts”
148:3 וְיָרֵחַ (ve-ya-Re-ach) “moon”
כּוֹכְבֵי (Koch-vei) “stars of…”
148:5 וְנִבְרָאוּ (ve-niv-Ra-u) root: ברא (baw-raw) Niphal: “to be created”
148:6 לָעַד (la-Ad) from: עַד (ad) “forever; lasting; perpetuity”
148:7 תַּנִּינִים (tan-ni-Nim) plural: “sea monster(s); sea-dragon(s)”
תְּהֹמוֹת (te-ho-Mot) plural: “flood; abyss; deeps”
148:8 וּבָרָד (U-va-rod) “hail”
שֶׁלֶג (She-leg) “snow”
וְקִיטוֹר (ve-ki-Tor) “thick fog; mist; smoke”
סְעָרָה (se-a-Rah) “tempest; high winds; stormy winds; gale”
148:9 גְּבָעוֹת (ge-va-ot) “hill; height; elevation”
אֲרָזִים (a-ra-Zim) “cedar tree; fir tree”
148:10 הַחַיָּה (ha-chai-Yah) from: חַיָּה (khah-ee) “beasts of prey; beasts; wild animals”
רֶמֶשׂ (Re-mes) “creeping things”
וְצִפּוֹר (ve-tzip-Por) “bird; winged creature; flying thing”
148:11 לְאֻמִּים (le-um-Mim) from: לְאֹם (leh-ome) “nation; people”
148:12 בַּחוּרִים (ba-chu-Rim) plural: “young men”
בְּתוּלוֹת (be-tu-Lot) plural: “virgins”
148:13 נִשְׂגָּב (nis-Gav) root: שׂגב (saw-gab) Niphal: “to be exalted; to be held high”
הוֹדוֹ (ho-Do) “majesty; splendor”
148:14 קֶרֶן (Ke-ren) “horn”
תְּהִלָּה (te-hil-Lah) “salvation; glory; praise; adoration”
חֲסִידָיו (cha-si-Dav) “saints; faithful; godly; pious”
קְרֹבוֹ (ke-ro-Vo) “close; near”
Concordia Theology-Various helps from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO to assist you in preaching Psalm 148.
Text Week-Text Week-A treasury of resources from various traditions to help you preach Psalm 148.