Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Psalm 148 1
1 Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD from the heavens, praise him in the heights above. 2 Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his heavenly hosts. 3 Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars. 4 Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies. 5 Let them praise the name of the LORD, for he commanded and they were created. 6 He set them in place for ever and ever; he gave a decree that will never pass away. 7 Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, 8 lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, 9 you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, 10 wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds, 11 kings of the earth and all nations, you princes and all rulers on earth, 12 young men and maidens, old men and children. 13 Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens. 14 He has raised up for his people a horn, the praise of all his saints, of Israel, the people close to his heart. Praise the LORD.

clip_image057Background 2

Calling them by name, the psalmist arranges everything in order: The sky is above, with two heavenly bodies according to the time of day, together with the stars; the fruit trees are on one side and the cedars on the other; the reptiles are on the ground and the birds are in the sky; the princes are in one place and the people are in another; young men and women form two lines, perhaps holding hands…. God has established them, giving each their place and purpose; man receives them, giving them their names in his language, so that he can present them in a liturgical celebration. Man is the “shepherd” and the “liturgist” of creation.

Biblical Truths and Theology 3

The psalm has three parts:

  1. verses 1 – 6: the psalmist tells everything in the sky to praise the LORD;
  2. verses 7 – 10: the psalmist tells everything on the earth to praise the LORD (but not people);
  3. verses 11 – 14: the psalmist tells people to praise the LORD.

Verses 1 – 6 “From the heavens” means “everything that is above the earth”. In the Bible, heaven or the heavens means two things. It can mean the sky, where we can see the sun, moon and stars, (verse 3). Also, it can mean the home of God, where his angels also live, (verse 2). The angels are God’s servants in heaven. Jews believed that there were waters above the sky, (verse 4). God created (made) all this by his word of command. A command is when we tell someone what they must do.

Verses 7 – 10 Everything on the earth must also praise the LORD. We do not know how animals, birds, reptiles, snow, clouds, winds, storms, trees, hills and mountains all praise the LORD. But God knows, and accepts their praise. Hail is rain with ice in it. A monster is a very large animal. A reptile is an animal like a snake.

Verses 11 – 14 The psalm ends by telling people to praise the LORD. Everybody is here. The leaders of people and people themselves are here, young and old, male and female. A prince, (verse 12), is the son of a king.

Items for Discussion

  • Why is it important to have praise be a part of our relationship with God?
  • How is it that something inert like the sun or the moon can praise God?
  • While we cannot imagine how animals praise God, we are being told that they do. What would you discern about our God and animals with this understanding?
  • Why would praise like the type described in this Psalm be so appropriate for our God?

4In crossing a heath, suppose I pitched my foot against a stone, and were asked how the stone came to be there: I might possibly answer, that, for anything I knew to the contrary, it had lain there for ever; nor would it perhaps be very easy to show the absurdity of this answer. But suppose I had found a watch upon the ground, and it should be inquired how the watch happened to be in that place; I should hardly think of the answer which I had before given, — that, for any thing I knew, the watch might have always been there. Yet why should not this answer serve for the watch as well as for the stone? Why is it not as admissible in the second case, as in the first? For this reason, and for no other, viz. that when we come to inspect the watch, we perceive (what we could not discover in the stone) that its several parts are framed and put together for a purpose, e.g. that they are so formed and adjusted as to produce motion, and that motion so regulated as to point out the hour of the day; …This mechanism being observed (it requires indeed an examination of the instrument, and perhaps some previous knowledge of the subject, to perceive and understand it; but being once, as we have said, observed and understood), the inference we think is inevitable, that the watch must have had a maker: that there must have existed, at some time, and at some place or other, an artificer who formed it for the purpose which we find it actually to answer: who comprehended its construction, and designed its use.” (Paley, 1807)

II Timothy 4:6-8
6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day.

Background

This was the last Epistle written by Paul in the spring of circa 68 AD. In Macedonia, Paul wrote two epistles I Timothy 66 AD and to Titus in Crete in 67 AD. Then he entered the Balkans and wintered at Necropolis where he was seized and sent to Rome for his second imprisonment where he wrote this epistle. Paul knew he was to die and Nero had him beheaded. This epistle is the final words of a man who knows he will die.  Timothy will take the torch from Paul and ‘carry the torch of teaching genuine/real doctrine’ to the next generation!

 Biblical Truths and Theology 5

The time for my departure – So undoubtedly God had shown him. I am ready to be offered up – Literally, to be poured out, as the wine and oil were on the ancient sacrifices.

The crown of righteousness – Which God has imputed to me and wrought in me. Will render to all – This increases the joy of Paul, and encourages Timothy. Many of these St. Paul himself had gained. That have loved his appearing – Which only a real Christian can do. I say a real Christian, to comply with the mode of the times: else they would not understand, although the word Christian necessarily implies whatsoever is holy, as God is holy. Strictly speaking, to join real or sincere to a word of so complete an import, is grievously to debase its noble signification, and is like adding long to eternity or wide to immensity.

Items for Discussion

  • In life, Paul taught that we all need a Barnabas (one who holds us accountable) and Timothy (one who will carry on in the next generation).  Who are the Timothy’s in our church?
  • What things do you recall, did Paul do to prepare himself for the end of his life?
  • Why is the analogy of a race such a good comparison to that of the Christian Walk?
  • Like a runner who trains for the race, can a Christian train for the Walk?
  • What is the role of the Church today in this training for the race?

Discussion Challenge

  • How can we create more Timothys?  How do we create more Pauls?

Notes:

  1. (NIV) New International Version Translations
  2. Luis Alonso Schokel, Trenta salmi: poesia e preghiera, Bologna, 1982, p. 499.  Quoted by Pope John Paul II in his general audience address of July 17, 2002.
  3. http://www.easyenglish.info/psalms/psalm148-taw.htm
  4. William Paley, a noted theologian.”
  5. Wesley’s Notes
Share