The Psalm for Easter 5 is Psalm 150. Psalm 150, the last psalm in the psalter, provides a perfect bookend for Psalm 1. This is not an accident! Psalm 1 is a beautiful “orientation” psalm with the emphasis centered upon walking according to the Word of God (Torah). Now, the psalter finishes with an amazing “new/re-orientation” psalm. When Israel (the world) is obedient to Torah, it becomes free for praise, which is its proper vocation, destiny, and purpose. Therefore, the expectation of the Old Testament is NOT first and foremost obedience, but rather adoration! Obedience frees the people of God to fulfill the ultimate expectation of God: Adoration! The goal of the faithful is to arrive at a life of unencumbered praise—re-orientation to how it was always intended to be.
Psalm 150 is the best known “praise” psalm. It answers all the questions:
- Where God should be praised? (verse 1)
- Why God should be praised? (verse 2)
- How God should be praised? (verses 3-5)
- Who should praise God? (verse 6)
What a fitting end to the psalter and an appropriate selection for the Easter season.
Another fascinating aspect of Psalm 150 is the use of vocabulary that originated from warfare language and is now being used here (and elsewhere in the psalms) in the context of worship. The use of “shophar” in verse 3 for “trumpet” is a good example. The Shophar is a ram’s horn originally used as a call into battle. Later, it was used to call to Temple worship. Some would argue (I agree) that it is the proper translation for the last day trumpets as well. The phrase in verse 5 usually translated as “loud clashing cymbals” has the older meaning of “blast of war; shout of alarm; the din of battle.” The question is: Why are the language of warfare and the language of worship so similar? We only need to think of the Sabaoth LORD (LORD of angel army hosts) to remember how the Church is often described in warfare terms—the Church Militant. Therefore, it is fitting that a song of worship and praise should find its roots in the reality of the Christian life of warfare in this world even as it looks forward to the ultimate new orientation in the courts of everlasting life. Good Easter peaching!
We only need to think of the Sabaoth LORD (LORD of angel army hosts) to remember how the Church is often described in warfare terms—the Church Militant. Therefore
150:1 הַלְלוּ יָהּ (Hal-lu yah) “Praise the LORD (Yahweh)” Note the shortened form of יהוה (yahah-weh)
בִּרְקִיעַ (bir-Ki-a) “firmament; expanse” (Genesis 1:6-8)
עֻזּוֹ (uz-Zo) “might; strength; power”
150:2 בִגְבוּרֹתָיו (vig-vu-ro-Tav) from: גְּבוּרָה (gheb-oo-raw) “mighty deeds; mighty acts” With the preposition and third masculine singular suffix: “With His mighty deeds; for His mighty deeds.”
גֻּדְלוֹ (gud-Lo) “greatness; magnificence” With the suffix: “His greatness.”
150:3 בְּתֵקַע (be-Te-ka) “blast; loud sound”
שׁוֹפָר (sho-Far) “shophar; trumpet; horn”
בְּנֵבֶל (be-Ne-vel) from: נֵבֶל (neh-bel) “harp; lute”
וְכִנּוֹר (ve-chin-Nor) “lyre; harp; zither”
150:4 בְתֹף (ve-Tof) from: תֹּף (tofe) “tambourine; timbrel” Some type of hand drum.
וּמָחוֹל (u-ma-Chol) “dance” Conveys the idea of dancing in a circle or ring.
בְּמִנִּים (be-Min-Nim) “stringed instruments” Plural with the preposition.
וְעוּגָב (ve-u-Gav) “flute; pipe”
150:5 בְצִלְצְלֵי (ve-tzil-tze-lei) “cymbals; clanging pans; castanets”
שָׁמַע (ha-ma) “sound; melody” As in “sounding cymbals” or “cymbals of sound”
תְרוּעָה (te-ru-Ah) “blast of noise; shout of joy” “din of battle” (older usage)
150:6 הַנְּשָׁמָה (Han-ne-sha-mah) “breathing thing; living being; (all) that has breath”
Concordia Theology-Various helps from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO to assist you in preaching Psalm 150.
Text Week-Text Week-A treasury of resources from various traditions to help you preach Psalm 150.