Formations Lesson for April 11- A Song of Praise
March 30 2010 by Ed Beddingfield, pastor, First Baptist Church, Fayetteville

Focal Passage:  Psalm 150; Jude 24-25

“Praise the Lord!” It’s both the first and last lines of Psalm 150.

It’s the hallelu-yah that we saw in last week’s lesson.

It’s the “Hallelujah” of our Easter hymns (Hallelujah! Christ arose!), and the “Alleluia,” too (Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!). “Praise the Lord!”

It’s an imperative form of the Hebrew verb halal, “to praise, to shout or sing praise,” plus the direct object, -yah, from Yahweh, the personal name of God. “Praise the Lord!”

And if it’s an imperative, that means it’s a command.

It’s an order.

“Praise the Lord!” Do it!

But how does one respond to a command to praise?

How can one respond?

Must a basketball fan be commanded to cheer when her team scores? Must a parent be ordered to clap at his child’s piano recital?

Must a grandparent be instructed to carry pictures of the new grandbaby in her purse?

Praise is something that comes naturally. Either you feel it, or you don’t. And if you feel it, you do it.

Yet Psalm 150 commands us to praise. It tells us whom to praise: the Lord (v. 1).

It tells us when and where to praise: all the time, whether in church (“his sanctuary”) or out under the stars (“his mighty firmament”).

It tells us why to praise: because of God’s “mighty deeds” and “surpassing greatness” (v. 2).

It tells us how to praise: with trumpet, lute (guitar? maybe even electric?), harp, tambourine, dance (in church?), strings, pipe, and cymbals — loud, clanging, crashing ones (vv. 3-5).

It tells us who should praise: everything that lives and breathes (v. 6). “Praise the Lord!”

But how can one be commanded to praise?

Unless perhaps the command itself is an act of praise.

We do it all the time:

O come, let us adore Him!
Shout to the Lord, all the earth, let us sing; power and majesty, praise to the King!
Praise Him! praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer!

The grammar may be imperative, but these aren’t commands. They’re exclamations!

I rode my motorcycle across the Bogue Sound bridge between Cape Carteret and Emerald Isle. Out over the ocean, low on the horizon, lay a thundercloud, dark and menacing.

From behind the cloud the early morning sun, its disc hidden from view, shot magnificent rays of gold upward into the blue sky.

I didn’t say it, didn’t shout it or sing it, but I sure thought it: “Praise the Lord!” It just came naturally.
3/30/2010 3:11:00 AM by Ed Beddingfield, pastor, First Baptist Church, Fayetteville | with 0 comments

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