Praise Ye the LORD! (Psalm 135, Isaiah 49)

Scripture reading – Psalm 135, Isaiah 49

Our Scripture reading is Psalm 135 and Isaiah 49. While the author of Psalm 135 is unnamed, it is certainly an inspiring song with a call for God’s people to worship and praise the LORD. Isaiah 49 is both prophetic and a psalm of adoration (49:13-17). Today’s devotional will be taken from Psalm 135.

Psalm 135

Consider with me three questions that will serve as an outline for Psalm 135. The first question:

Who should praise the LORD?” (135:1-3)

In verse 1, the command to “praise” the LORD is stated three times; however, the first “praise,” is an exclamation that can be translated literally, “Hallelujah.” In praising the “name of the LORD,” we are to recall, boast, and admire Him for Who He is in His person and attributes (the focus of Psalm 135:4-14).

Who should praise the LORD? The first mentioned are the “servants of the LORD” (135:1c). The servants were those who ministered in the Temple. The priests, Levites, singers, musicians, were all “servants of the LORD.” A second group who were summoned to praise the LORD were the people standing “in the house of the LORD, [and] in the courts of the house [Temple] of our God” (135:2).

All who gathered in the outer courts of the Temple and recognized “the LORD is good,” were invited to worship, and Sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant” (135:3). “Pleasant,” meaning lovely, joyful, melodious, and sweet. Unlike the loud, beating, boisterous music that is characteristic of today’s so-called church music, the character of the songs that were used in worshiping the LORD were “pleasant,” and pleasing to Him.

A second question we might consider in our study of Psalm 135 is stated:

Why praise the LORD?” (135:4-14)

Many reasons were given for praising the LORD, and high on the list affirms, He had “chosen Jacob unto himself, And Israel for his peculiar treasure” (135:4). God’s people were to praise the LORD because of His character and attributes: He is great, incomparable (“above all gods”), and Sovereign (having done whatsoever He pleased, 135:5-6). The LORD was worthy of praise because He is the Creator, and directs the rain, lightnings, and wind as a blessing to His people (135:7).

The LORD should be praised for He was the Deliverer of His people. He “smote the firstborn of Egypt,” and by ten plagues humbled Egypt and Pharaoh (135:8-9). He also slew the kings of the Amorites, Bashan, and Canaan (135:10-11). He kept His covenant with Israel, and gave them Canaan as “an heritage unto Israel His people” (135:12).

The LORD is worthy of praise for He is eternal, and His name “endureth for ever” (135:13). He should be praised because He is just, merciful, compassionate, and “will repent [forgive] himself concerning his servants” (135:14).

The third question in our outline of Psalm 135 is this:

“Why are idols unworthy of man’s worship?” (135:15-18)

The psalmist’s answer to that question is simple in its explanations, yet profound in its application. While the 21stcentury man might think of himself as too sophisticated to worship idols, there is much about Psalm 135:15-18 that should reverberate in the heart of men and women of all ages.

For instance, “the idols of the heathen [were] silver and gold, The work of men’s hands” (135:15), but the modern man is little different. We might not worship objects we have crafted out of silver and gold, but we certainly love, and lust after things we purchase with silver and gold.

The psalmist’s description of the idols of the heathen was both humorous and tragic (135:16-18). He worshipped as gods the vessels of his own invention (135:15); however, his gods were mute, blind, deaf, and lifeless (135:16-17). Indeed, those who worshipped such idols were as mute, blind, deaf, and lifeless as the objects they worshipped (135:18)!

Closing thoughts – Our study of Psalm 135 concludes appropriately with three verses of exhortation. The “house of Israel” (the Twelve Tribes), the “house of Aaron” (the high priests), the “house of Levi” (those who assisted the priests, and served as Temple musicians), and all “that fear [and revere] the LORD” were to praise Him (135:19-20).

Psalm 135:21 reminds us the LORD had chosen Zion, and the city of Jerusalem as the place where the Ark, representing God’s heavenly throne, was placed and served as a reminder He was in the midst of His chosen people.

Ending as it began, Psalm 135 concludes with an exhortation that should be the practice of all believers: “Praise ye the LORD!” (135:21)

Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith