Reflections – 2017.04

Finishing the Psalms

On May 1, 2011, I preached my first sermon from the Psalms. And over the last six years, with some breaks to consider other books of the Bible, we have worked our way through each of the 150 Psalms in the Scripture. From the pillars of Psalm 1 and 2 (the call to holiness and the declaration of the sovereignty of God and His King, Jesus Christ) through the various prayers for help, justice, forgiveness and the various prayers of thanksgiving, suffering and joy, to these last psalms that call us to praise, we have considered what it means to be a Christian in this world, to walk prayerfully in relationship with God as those who have been reconciled to Him through the sacrifice of our Savior and King, Jesus.

And now we are coming to the finish. Psalms 146-150 are all songs of praise, beginning and ending with the phrase “Praise the LORD!” It makes me think of the few races I have run and that sense of elation I felt as I approached the finish line. The crowds were always thicker there, the cheers much louder, the adrenaline kick more noticeable … Paul speaks to his son in the faith, Timothy, of finishing the race: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the LORD, the righteous judge, will award me on that Day, but not only me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” Paul loved the LORD’s appearing. He looked forward to the joy of the award given to all who are in Christ … the crown of righteousness, life in Christ and with Christ for all eternity. The end – praise the LORD!

Paul is not alone in his nearing-the-end elation – the end of the Bible, the Revelation, is rich with scenes of the worship of God … the praise of God is in full gear! The prophets speak of the worship of the Lord, i.e., praising the LORD, being that which all of the nations will one day do. And the Book of the Psalms ends with psalm after psalm calling us to praise the LORD! No wonder the Westminster Standards declare that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. It seems that most of the writers of Scripture have this chief end in their own minds and agree that glorifying God, that singing “Praise the LORD,” is what we ultimately are called to do in our words and with our lives.

And so we will be reminded this month as we finish the Psalms that the end of our lives, the end of our race, is praise, and that this is appropriate because the LORD is worthy of our praise. Here are the topics for those who like to read ahead:

Psalm 146 – “Praise the LORD, our Help and Hope” (March 26)

Psalm 147 – “Praise the LORD, the Builder (April 2)

Psalm 148 – “Praise the LORD, the Creator (April 9)

Psalm 149 – “Praise the LORD, the King (April 16 / Easter)

Psalm 150 – “Praise the LORD, the Mighty God (April 23)

May we praise the LORD together and may He be glorified in our praise.