Praise is Universal
I had the unique pleasure of talking with a young man the other night about what it means to become a Christian.
It is an honor to be someone that gets to point people to Christ… Not that I do this because I am a pastor in his Church, but because I am a child of God that gets to help other people become children of God… I preach Christ outside this pulpit because I am a christian and God is worthy everywhere we go.
While I was sharing with him a more full explanation of what it means to become a Christian, I felt it was necessary to explainGod’s Judgement for sin and how serious this is.
I have found most people want to believe the Gospel but truly struggle with the idea of Hell, which is a real place reserved for those who reject the Gospel and come under the wrath of Almighty God.
It is with this illustration I would like to start this mornings sermon with, because the inverse is true of what we have before us, Praise for God.
To understand Hell and judgement we need to understand some things about God, first is that he is the sovereign ruler over all creation that comes from him alone.
God is absolute truth and when we come to him we need to submit ourselves to him, even and especially when there are things we are uncomfortable with, because he is in control and we do not get a say in that.
We need to understand that God is Holy and pure and cannot be joined with what is sinful and unclean, so sin separates us from God. God is the ultimate authority and highest power in the universe and so sin against him requires the highest penalty.
He re is the illustration.
Child - When you are a kid and you hit your sibling, what happens to you?
You parents spank you or punish you.
Teenager - When you now hit your parent, what happens to you?
Or you go to School and hit a class mate, what happens to you? Suspension, grounding, etc...
Adult - Walking down the street you hit an innocent person, what happens?
They call the Police and throw you in jail, you go before a Judge and get jail time or some other form of punishment.
Adult - You run up to the President and you hit him, what happens to you?
You most likely get shot, but at least go to jail for a long time, if not life.
How come you don’t just spanked by your parents if you hit the President?
isn’t it the same as when you were a little child and you hit your sibling?
You are a person, the person you hit is a person, you did the same thing… Why such a sever punishment?
First let us define the hitting of another person not just as wrong, but Sin.
Sin is not a mistake, sin is not what makes you human because everybody sins and makes mistakes… Sin is the essence of being wrong.
As you sin against someone, the penalty for it is increases as the authority of the one you sins against is increased.
So if death is the sentence for someone who would make a run at the President, then what would it be for someone who sins against God? Eternal punishment, seperation and torment = Hell.
Does that make sense?
This is why people do not want to believe in God because they cannot escape this if they believe in God.
Which is also why the Gospel is so powerful, because it declares that we all are guilty and yet God did something for us to be eternally forgiven of all sin, past, present and future!
The Gospel is the answer for people’s fear of the coming judgement for the sin they cannot deny.
The gospel is good news!
Yet when we believe we also must realize that we now belong to God and worship him alone in the way he told us to.
And I say all of this because if that is how sin works in condemning us, then inversely how does praise for God work for those he has saved?
When a child learns to love his parents at an early age, they crawl up into your lap and hug and kiss you and tell you they love you.
When a teenager wants to tell their parents they love them, it is usually a thank you for some specific things.
Thanks Mom and Dad for the clothes, for the home, for the food, for the gifts, etc… I love you!
Maybe even sometimes they give a gift on mother’s or father’s day, or a birthday...
When an adult wants to express thanks for their parents, they but them something and tell them in more detail how thankful they are, and sometimes even say, “when you can’t take care of yourself, I will provide care for you.”
The more you have, the more you give because the ore you realize your love needs to be obvious for this person.
Well whether you have a mom or dad or not, You have a heavenly Father that is the most worthy of love, of your Praise and worship for all eternity.
He has done for you what not even you could do for yourself.
When we Praise him, it is not like a card we give to our parents, a hug we give to those we care for or even like what would happen if the President of the United States walks into this room.
We would all stand and clap and allow him to speak, and if someone didn’t want to treat him as such they would be removed, because of his authority we would show him respect… No matter who is the President… this is not a political statement, just an example.
How much more should we praise the Lord??? How much more is He Worthy??? What could we possibly offer to him?
What has he prescribed in his word to us?
Let us not choose our own way but give to him what he declares is due to him alone!
This psalm will show us praise from Heaven, the Earth and all peoples on the earth!
Let’s look at the text.
We have a What, a where and a Who here… The What is Praise… Last week we talked abut how Praise is Verbal worship of God, usually loud exclamations of God’s worth.
Praise can happen with words, music and dance, it is external and visible and directed to him alone.
The what is Praise…
5 times in these two verses we see the command to Praise, like perfectly timed minute guns… Praise the Lord… Praise the Lord… Praise him… Praise him… Praise him...
Spurgeon said, “Praise, like the drum of the Great King, beats around the world with this one note!”
Praise is the subject of this song, with God as the object!
It is not about the level of your praise but the object!
This with many other Psalms screams to us to Praise the only one who is worthy!
he where is from heaven in the heights.
The where is from heaven in the heights.
This is not vain repetition here but rather a statement of Songs of Praise coming FROM heaven and praise IN the heights!
God is not only to be praised from the heights but IN them!
God is not only to be praised from the heights but IN them!
No place is too high for his praises to be sung, but in the highest place his praises must be sung!
God is praised in the heights!
Heaven is a place where God sits enthroned on his praises!
If there is a sense in which God inhabits or is enthroned in the praise of his people, then how much more in a real way is he dwelling in the midst of praise from heaven, and in the heights?
Let the heavens resound with Praise in the highest of Heights!
Finally, then comes the who of this praise… The angels and all his hosts!
Listen up angels!
You who look into his glory and have seen him enough to praise him, you who do his bidding and fly on his errands.
Whether your name is Gabriel, or Micheal, if you are a warring angel or some other created being included in all hosts of heaven.
All of you, the very armies of Heaven those same angels that declared praise when shepherds were watching their flocks in a field… Praise him and let the sound of heaven resound in the heights!
What is implied here is an invitation for truly innocent beings to Praise God!
Because they owe their creation in innocence to God!
They owe their preservation in innocence to God!
They owe him nothing less than all out Praise as their creator!
But it doesn’t end there.
The psalmist continues to command the universe to praise God!
There is no place where his praise is not proper and where his praise does not come forth from!
Like the bright shining Sun of the day and the reflection of its light at night on the moon, and even when the moon is not visible, there are stars which shall not deny their maker the praise that is due to him!
No place on this planet will ever not be in the light of the sun moon or stars!
Yet think about the fact of what the sun and moon and stars represent.
The sun represents the day and the moon and stars represent the night… So Praise is continual!
Praise is continual
At the break of day we see the light and feel the heat from the sun… and all that it is doing is shinning and praise God!
Even if we don’t see it as often as others do because it is obscured by clouds… those clouds have a brightness to them because of the Sun shinning behind them.
In fact when you fly in a plane the first thing you will notice when you get above the clouds is that the sun is always shinning!
At night the moon and stars are always shinning!
The light they give speaks of the moment when God created them and gave them a job… and now they shine in Praise of Him!
So as the psalmist declares that praise should happen he commands the sun and moon and stars to continue to do what they were created for...
Let the shinning stars be one section of a celestial chorus of Praise.
All the heavens and the angels and hosts of heaven created by god along with the Sun, Moon and even the stars.
May the stars add their voice to this praise by millions and billions.
May the start by their thriving heat and blinding light and immense energy all testify to His immeasurable power and artistic skill!
I would point out to you that this Psalm is being written to a people who have recently come out of exile in Babylon… SO? What does that have to do with anything?
Well… The Babylonians believed the stars were deities that controlled their destiny.
But here we see that they are but one section of this celestial choir that echoes the Glory of their Master!
Feel the light and heat of the day and praise God, see the dim light at night and become thankful when the moonlight that illuminates the world around you, and then look up at the stars and see how they constantly shine a light that cannot but declare his Glory!