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Psalm 148 - The Lord Alone Is Exalted!

INTRODUCTION: After enjoying the praise and worship from the prayer ofHannah, I decided to turn to Israel's book of Psalms to extend my delight in that aspect of scripture. Psalm 148 is in the fifth and final book (or scroll) of Psalms, and it is filled with the praise which must have characterized the hearts of those who centuries later encountered, with great joy and faith, the appearance of Jesus in his First Coming. My desire is to have my heart prepared in like manner for his Second Coming. I reviewed ten translations from my Online Bible along with some reference to the Hebrew lexicon, and prepared a composite paraphrase to begin my study. I then concentrated on New Testament passages, which I could relate to verses of the psalm to consider this psalm in light of that additional revelation of God. Now that my study has extended into August, I look back, wondering where the weeks have gone. We had house guests from India for about two weeks ending in the first part of June, then we had some vacation traveling in July for over a week, and when I returned to work some intense projects led to research after hours. The study of Psalm 148 in light of the New Testament also became more involved than I had anticipated. All of the word and phrase search trails through scripture proved to be very rich, but they presented quite a challenge in pruning the text to those selections most pertinent, and of more reasonable length.

A - All verses of Psalm 148 in composite paraphrase

1 Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD from the heavens: praise him from above. 2 Praise Him, all His angels; praise Him, all His hosts. 3 Praise Him, sun and moon; praise Him, all stars of light. 4 Praise Him, heavens of heavens, and waters that are above the heavens. 5 Let them praise the name of the LORD; for He commanded, and they were created. 6 And He established them forever and ever; He gave a decree that they not pass away. 7 Praise the LORD from the earth, you sea-monsters, and all deeps; 8 Fire and hail, snow and vapor, stormy wind, fulfilling His word; 9 mountains and all hills, fruitful trees and all cedars, 10 beasts and all cattle, creeping things and flying fowl, 11 Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth: 12 Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children: 13 Let them praise the name of Jehovah; For his name alone is exalted; His glory is above the earth and the heavens. 14 And He has lifted up the horn of His people, a praise for all His saints, even for the children of Israel, a people near unto Him. Hallelujah.

B - Prelude to commentary and New Testament verses for this Psalm of praise.

In the first six verses of this psalm, the things which the LORD, the invisible God, created above the earth bring praise to him through their existence. The next six verses list things he created in the earth, which are also made to praise him. Verse thirteen concludes that all creation found in the earth, and above the earth, should praise the LORD as deserving the highest of exaltation. The last verse speaks of the Lord of Glory, provided through Israel, but a blessing for all peoples of the earth who become saints. The New Testament provides the believers on this side of the cross, with further proof and promise of God's great glory, and mercy for those who love his appearing.

C - Psalm 148:1 in composite paraphrase

1 Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD from the heavens: praise him from above.

COMMENTS: The praise of our creator God begins far beyond the realm of mankind, in the heights of heaven, and New Testament verses direct that praise from above, to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, because he and the Father are one. At the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus, there was a visible manifestation of the Holy Spirit, and an audible voice from the Father. Luke 3:22 "And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased." Another voice from heaven gave witness before certain disciples. Luke 9:35 "And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him." One who was there confirms this. 2 Peter 1:18 "And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount." Near the close of the Lord's work here on earth, praise again came from heaven, John 12:27-28 "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again." And the glory for the Lord continues in the saints, through the power of the Holy Spirit from above. 1 Peter 1:12 "Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into." May each of us who has that gift from above, within us, share it with those around us.

D - Psalm 148:2 in composite paraphrase

2 Praise Him, all His angels; praise Him, all His hosts.

COMMENTS: Those mighty created angels of God whose dwelling is above, praised the Christ with announcements before his birth, just after his birth, after his resurrection, and at his ascension. Luke 1:35 "And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." Luke 2:13-14 "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." Luke 24:4-7 "And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again." Acts 1:10-11 "And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." And those mighty angels, as described in Revelation, will again bring praise to the Almighty God through their announcements at his Second Coming.

E - Psalm 148:3-5 in composite paraphrase

3 Praise Him, sun and moon; praise Him, all stars of light. 4 Praise Him, heavens of heavens, and waters that are above the heavens. 5 Let them praise the name of the LORD; for He commanded, and they were created.

COMMENTS: The New Testament reveals that Jesus is the creator God, and therefore all creation brings praise to Christ Jesus, including those vast parts of creation, which preceded the creation of man. John 1:3 "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." John 1:10 "He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not." Ephesians 3:9 "And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:" Colossians 1:16-18 "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence." Revelation 4:11 "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." Revelation 10:6 "And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:"

F - Psalm 148:6 in composite paraphrase

6 And He established them forever and ever; He gave a decree that they not pass away.

COMMENTS: God made a covenant with Noah after the floodwaters which had covered the whole earth had receded, and the grace-saved eight people from the ark became the progenitors for all people from that time until the present. Genesis 8:22 "While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease." This covenant encompassing "while the earth remains" requires careful consideration since Psalms 148:6 uses for ever and ever, and other scriptures say that a time is coming for anew heavens and a new earth. Those suited to populate that place will no longer produce new generations of themselves, for they will be as the angels, with no progeny. Another passage in Genesis uses perpetual rather than forever, and links it with generations, which will not continue to generate in eternity. Genesis 9:12 "And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:" God's promise is for unbroken continuity until his set time for old things to pass away. Some New Testament passages provide more light for this subject regarding our LORD, our bodies, and the whole of creation. Mark 12:24-27 "And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God? For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven. And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err." John 11:26 "And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?" John 12:32-34 "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die. The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man?" Luke 21:32-33 "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away." Christ came to give life through his sacrificial death and subsequent resurrection, and that life is far more abundant than life without Christ, for it is the abundance of eternity with all old things removed. 2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2 Peter 3:10 "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." Revelation 21:1 "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea." Revelation 21:4 "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Whether we fully grasp the mechanism of all created former things "passing away", or understand how death is swallowed up in immortality; we can accept in faith that eternity awaits those who place complete trust in receiving their salvation through Christ Jesus alone.

G - Psalm 148:7 in composite paraphrase

7 Praise the LORD from the earth, you sea-monsters, and all deeps;

COMMENTS: In the Old Testament God's display of his majesty could be very large, as large as a huge sea creature or the ocean itself, but the New Testament records that Jesus could also choose small things to demonstrate his attributes, such as having a reserved coin-bearing fish ready to be hooked at first cast. . Matthew 17:27 "Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee."

H - Psalm 148:8 in composite paraphrase

8 Fire and hail, snow and vapor, stormy wind, fulfilling His word;

COMMENTS: The same Greek word is often used in scripture to refer to natural fire as well as the unquenchable eternal fire of hell. Natural fire can be very productive, but in the destructive sense it provides a strong warning against rejection of the one who commands all fire. The discerning heart listens for the heavenly message of scripture, for Jesus has told us, "If I have told you earthly things and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?" The New Testament has so much to say about fire, that I have selected only a few verses. Luke 3:16 "John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:" Luke 12:49 "I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?" Luke 17:29-30 "But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed." John 15:6 "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned." What a strong warning to those who have not yet accepted Christ Jesus as personal Savior, that consuming fire shall fulfill the Lord's will.

Jesus could simply speak a word, and command another mighty natural force to obey. Luke 8:23-25 "But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him." The answer to their question is the needed confession of all who will be saved, as Peter declared of Jesus, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!"

I - Psalm 148:9 in composite paraphrase

9 mountains and all hills, fruitful trees and all cedars,

COMMENTS: The fig tree in the next New Testament verse, was symbolic for a lesson, but it was also a very real fruit tree that responded to the words spoken against it by Jesus. Matthew 21:19 "And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away." An interesting contrast to the obedience of the tree to wither, is that other scripture tells us that all created things hold together in function at his sustaining word, and we are continually blessed by those interactions of nature for our benefit. All souls of men, which bear no spiritual fruit of repentance from the indwelling Holy Spirit, will likewise wither to eternal death as illustrated by the fig tree.

J - Psalm 148:10 in composite paraphrase

10 beasts and all cattle, creeping things and flying fowl,

COMMENTS: A colt was brought back to Jesus, as we see that a young four-footed creature was part of the Old Testament prophesied path to the cross, and even brought praise to the LORD when it was available just as he said. Matthew 21:1-5 "And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass."

And Jesus taught that God's care provides for even the birds of the air, and tells us that this is an example to us of why we should cast our care upon him. Luke 12:24-26 "Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?" Within this question from Jesus, he amazingly says that adding more than a foot to your natural height is "LEAST!" of that which you might attempt. So we should take Peter's advice, and look to our LORD in humility of spirit. 1 Peter 5:6-7 "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you."

K - Psalm 148:11-12 in composite paraphrase

11 Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth: 12 Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children:

COMMENTS: The call of God is for all tongues, tribes, nations, all stations of life, all age groups; but not all will forsake their confidence in the flesh, and confess Jesus as Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:24-29 "But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence." So, only by choosing humility rather than self-confidence before we face the Almighty God, can one overcome, to be part of the "whosoever". Matthew 10:32 "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven." Jesus repeats in Revelation what he has told us in Matthew. Revelation 3:5 "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels." Paul spread the message that salvation comes to those who confess Christ while believing in His power to overcome death. Romans 10:9 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." John gives the "litmus test" for the true message of salvation, versus any other doctrine that is contrary. 1 John 4:15 "Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God." 2 John 1:7 "For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist."

L - Psalm 148:13 in composite paraphrase

13 Let them praise the name of Jehovah; For his name alone is exalted; His glory is above the earth and the heavens.

COMMENTS: The LORD our God is one LORD, and he alone is worthy of praise, so let all those who are part of the "whosoever" praise his name with joy. John 8:58 "Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am." The Jews who heard this statement knew Jesus was claiming to be God, because in their unbelief they took up stones to stone him for blasphemy. Luke 19:38-40 "Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out." Jesus had no reservation about stating his right to receive glory as God, using such a strong word picture as stones crying out, and other scriptures confirm him. Philippians 2:9-11 "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Hebrews 5:9 "And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;" God alone is the savior of mankind, Jesus is that savior, and they are one in the same. Revelation 15:4 "Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? For thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest."

M - Psalm 148:14 in composite paraphrase

14 And He has lifted up the horn of His people, a praise for all His saints, even for the children of Israel, a people near unto Him. Hallelujah.

COMMENTS: Zacharias, the father of John the baptist, made this prophecy about Jesus. Luke 1:68-69 "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;" And Paul tells us that Jesus was for the non-Jew as well as the Jew. Romans 15:8-13 "Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust. Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost."

--- Reflections in prayer ---

Praise for you O LORD begins before time, and in the incomprehensible expanse of creation above the earth. The angels of heaven, the majestic celestial bodies, and all the vastness, which contains them, bring praise to your matchless name. They can do none else but praise you, for you have created all of them through the power of your word, and set them in place, with no other power capable of removing them.

The immense oceans of the earth and the mightiest creatures they contain praise their creator, while man can only marvel in observing the great variety, beauty, and power of the waterscape. Fire, mighty winds, hail and all other forces, which obey your commands, and overwhelm the minute strength of man, touch the whole face of the earth. The landmasses around the globe praise you LORD as they inspire awe in us by the beauty of varied terrain and richness of mineral and nutrient content.

You have provided endless varieties of plants for food and shelter for man and beast, and as a source of many other substances available for uses by man. How wonderful are your many creatures large and small, in the earth, on the earth, in the large and small waters, and flying into the air. Among ruler and servant, rich and poor, young and old, male and female, can there be any that should not praise the LORD of this marvelous creation in which we exist?

Your name alone O LORD is exalted, your glory is above the earth and the heavens. You have lifted up Jesus as the unsurpassed strength of your chosen people Israel, and set him on high to receive praise from his redeemed saints: all the "whosoever", across the centuries of history. Hallelujah for Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!

Published 3 June 2004, first issued 20 August 2003