Have you ever listened to Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture”? When performed true to its original scoring, there’s more than 10 minutes of nice orchestral music at the start, but the end of the song works in a number of cannons firing to the music. That will get your attention, even if you started daydreaming during the anthem part!
When I was younger, my uncle gave me a CD of an orchestra playing this overture, and I still enjoy the song (now, in digital form) to this day. I admit that I sometimes fast-forward to the cannons, but I doubt that I’m the only one!
Continuing in a study of Psalm 150, here’s a verse from that short psalm:
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
Psalms 150:5 NIV
Where Psalm 100 (the topic of several previous articles) talked about shouting joyfully to God, this one includes dancing and loud cymbals. I realize that cymbals aren’t cannons (since gunpowder didn’t enter warfare for some centuries after this psalm was written), but cymbals are loud and they are attention-getting.
Of course, I’m not suggesting that standing quietly and singing reverently to organ music isn’t a valid way to worship God. In fact, I’ve worshiped that way myself, and still enjoy doing so. However, our praise to God is not limited to understated words and songs. It can – and probably should – include effusive outpourings of our joyful emotions towards Him. If sports fans can shout themselves hoarse cheering on a team who is kicking a ball around a field, surely we can get excited about the greatness of the God of the universe!
The good news is that the Bible gives us outlets for praise and worship across a wide range of styles. As a commentary put it, “Since it would be very difficult for a person to feel great joy in his or her heart without expressing it, the Scriptures provide a happy medium of expression through songs of praise and thanksgiving.” [Zorn, p.235]
To give us another perspective on means of praising to God, let’s take a look at the last verse of this psalm:
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD.
Psalms 150:6 NIV
My dad used to tell me that everything in creation glorifies or worships God. The earthworm, for instance, gives glory to God by doing exactly what it was created to do. Platypuses, plants, and planets all give glory to God, by serving their role in His creation. Each of them, along with most everything else in the universe, testifies to the creativity, power, and intellect of God, bringing glory to Him.
More than that, we who have “breath” have a special opportunity to praise God with our words. When we do exactly what God created us to do (rather than living in rebellion against Him), we worship God in the same way as the parts of creation without a voice (or perhaps those parts of creation that did not receive the breath of life from God, per Genesis 2:7). Even more than that, though, may we – as a part of His creation to whom He gave free will – also choose to glorify, worship, and praise God with our voice, along with the other special abilities that He has given us.
Praise the Lord / Hallelujah, indeed!
From Sunday School lesson prepared for November 27, 2022
- The Lookout, November 27, 2022, © 2022 Christian Standard Media.
- Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
- The College Press NIV Commentary, Psalms, Volume 2, Walter D. Zorn, © 2004, College Press Publishing Co., Joplin, MO.