These notes are based on the NASB text.
What is the background of Psalm 150?
The writer of this psalm is not named. The psalm is a symphony of praise to God that was sung in worship at the Temple in Jerusalem. This psalm answers the where, why, how, and by whom of praise to God.
150:1 Praise the Lord!
Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty expanse.
Where is God to be praised? The psalmist called for people to praise God in both the “sanctuary” which symbolized the place of His earthly Presence, and “in His mighty expanse,” or the place of His heavenly Presence. God is to be praised both on earth and in heaven.
150:2 Praise Him for His mighty deeds;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness.
Why is God to be praised? The psalmist called upon worshipers to praise God because of “His mighty deeds” and in accord with “His excellent greatness.” God is to be praised for both His mighty deeds and magnificent character.
150:3 Praise Him with trumpet sound;
Praise Him with harp and lyre.
150:4 Praise Him with timbrel and dancing;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe.
150:5 Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with resounding cymbals.
How are we to praise God? God is to be praised with an array of musical instruments. In short, God is to be praised with everything we have. These verses contain the most extensive list of musical instruments in the Old Testament:
[A] “trumpet” – the ram’s horn trumpet (shophar) which signaled God’s Presence
[B] “harp and lyre” – stringed instruments
[C] “timbrel” – a small drum similar to a tambourine
[D] “dancing” – though not an instrument, dance is listed as a way to express praise. The reference is either to a choreographed dance performed by the priests and Levites or to the jubilation of the people in worship.
[E] “stringed instruments” – a general term for an ensemble of stringed instruments
[F] “pipe” – a general term for wind instruments, perhaps reed flutes
[G] “loud cymbals. . .resounding cymbals” – the “resounding cymbals” were probably larger in size and therefore volume
150:6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!
Who is to praise God? Everything that has received breath from God should breathe His praise. All creatures are to praise God. This psalm and the Psalter appropriately ends with “Praise the Lord!” And certainly that should be our response to our mighty, glorious, and awesome God.
Practical Consideration: Praise the Lord!
An ancient creed states that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. May we honor God with our praise. May we glorify Him. May we enjoy Him forever. Hallelujah!