Weekly Articles‎ > ‎

Praise For Jehovah, Our Sovereign God

a brief study of Psalm 135, adapted from PCC Prayer Meeting Exhortation on 23 Dec 2011


The Book of Psalms is like a great river of praise. It begins with Psalm 1. From there it takes a meandering course, gathering momentum as a multitude of tributaries, streams and rivulets pour into it, contributing to the growing crescendo of joyous praise as it makes its way down to the ocean. This crescendo will peak with the series of Hallelujah Psalms just before we exit the Psalter to join the praises of just men made perfect and a multitude of heavenly hosts. But occasionally, we will come to a particular Psalm where the words, as it were, cascades over the rocks and makes a mighty noise of glorious praise.

Psalm 135 is one such Psalm. It is a Hallelujah Psalm since it begins with the word “Hallelujah” or “Praise ye the Lord!” It is one of these Psalms which we may sing in union with Christ our King, both to praise God and to exhort one another to praise Him.

We may entitle it “Praise for Jehovah, our Sovereign God.” It basically has three main parts.

The first part, verses 1-3, is essentially a call to the servants of the LORD to praise Him. It is addressed to the servants of the LORD or those who minister in the house of the LORD to praise Him, “for He is good” (v. 3a) and to “sing praises unto His name for it is pleasant” (v. 3b). God is good and always worthy of praise. And praise is always pleasant to the saints whose heart has been renewed with the image of God in knowledge, righteousness and holiness. Those who find praise to be a chore and a burden are either badly backslidden or have never been born again.

The last part of this Psalm, verses 19-21, is another a call to praise the LORD, but this time, it is directed to all of God’s people. Whether we belong to the “house of Israel,” or “the house of Aaron” (v. 19) or “the house of Levi” (v. 20) or we are simply a dweller of Jerusalem (v. 21), we must praise the Lord. As the Psalm opens with a call to the officers of the church to praise, it now closes with a call to every member of the church to praise the LORD. It is, we must remember, the duty and privilege of everyone redeemed by the blood of Christ, not just the officers of the church, to praise the LORD!

But now why should we praise the LORD? Well, this is what the middle portion of this Psalm (v. 4-18) contains. Herein are seven reasons why we should praise the LORD.


1. He is Our Covenant God

4 For the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto Himself, and Israel for His peculiar treasure.

God has chosen us to be His peculiar people, and has condescended to be our God. Why has He called us to be His people? So that we might show forth the praises of Him! The Apostle Peter puts it this way:

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light” (1 Pet 2:9).


2. He is Greater than All

5 For I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods.

The LORD is great! He is Greater than all authorities and powers. He is “above all gods,” whether they be gods of man’s imagination and creation, or they be gods in terms of the kings and rulers of this world, or they be the principalities and powers in the world invisible. The LORD is greater than all, and therefore worthy of praise!


3. He is Sovereign Over All

6 Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did He in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.

The LORD is not only great; He is sovereign over all things. He is not only omnipotent in that His power is infinite, but He is sovereign in that He controls everything in the universe.

Whatever He deigns to do, whether in heaven, or on earth, or in the deepest ocean, He does by His sovereign power. The greatest galaxy, the smallest fish - all obey His commands perfectly.

Indeed, even things that appear to happen by natural order are ordained of the LORD and brought to pass by His power:

7 He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; He maketh lightnings for the rain; He bringeth the wind out of His treasuries.

We must not think that these things happen according to their own power. No, no; it is the Lord who causes evaporation, who makes the clouds, who sends the rain and the lightning, who directs the winds. Yes, God does use secondary causes so that we can discern the physical and chemical causes and effects that make for an orderly universe. But, no; without God upholding all things in existence and bringing to pass all things, nothing will happen at all in the universe.

But not only is God’s sovereignty demonstrated in general providence. It is also demonstrated in special providence, for…


4. He Fights for His People

8 Who smote the firstborn of Egypt, both of man and beast.  9 Who sent tokens and wonders into the midst of thee, O Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all His servants.

During the days when God’s people were held captive in slavery in Egypt, God had not forgotten them. In the fullness of time, according to God’s appointment, He began to afflict Pharaoh and the people of Egypt so that they might let His people go. He sent signs and wonders in the form of ten plagues, ending with the devastating plague against the firstborn males of Egypt. Not a single family, from the poorest servants to Pharaoh’s household, was spared.

Why did God do so? He did so for His people, for He would redeem them out of Egypt in order that they might inherit the land He promised their fathers (v. 10).

Indeed, not only did God smite Egypt, He also smote mighty kings and nations who stood in the way of His people, verse 10—

10 Who smote great nations, and slew mighty kings; 11 Sihon king of the Amorites, and Og king of Bashan, and all the kingdoms of Canaan: 12 And gave their land for an heritage, an heritage unto Israel His people.

The LORD’s covenant people must especially praise Him, for He fights for them out of His covenant love towards them. And not only so, we must praise Him for…


5. His Name Endures Forever

 13 Thy name, O LORD, endureth forever; and Thy memorial, O LORD, throughout all generations.

Why does God’s name endure forever? God’s name endures forever for four reasons. First, God has appointed that His mighty redemptive acts are written down in the Holy Scriptures to be taught from generations to generations. Secondly, the redeemed of God will live forever for God saves them and gives them everlasting life. Thirdly, God will see to it that as long as the earth remains in its present form, there will be His elect in every generation of His people. And finally, God’s Spirit works in the hearts of the redeemed to bring to mind what they have learnt concerning God.

For these reasons, His name endures forever, and the memory of His mighty acts of redemption is known throughout all generation. Therefore, every generation ought to praise the LORD. Now sixthly, we ought to praise the LORD for…


6. He Deals Kindly with His People

14 For the LORD will judge His people, and He will repent Himself concerning His servants.

The LORD is holy and righteous. As King of the Universe, He will rule and judge everything. He will not allow sin to go unpunished. Therefore, He will judge the nations. But as He judges the nations, He will also judge His own people. Indeed, as the Apostle Peter reminds us, “judgment must begin at the house of God” (1 Pet 4:17).

But the LORD will judge His own people with covenant lovingkindness and compassion. This is what is meant by “He will repent Himself concerning His servants.” Indeed, God will vindicate His own people and deal with us compassionately.

Therefore, as His people, we must praise Him. But finally we must praise Him for…


7. He is the Living and True God

15 The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. 16 They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not; 17 They have ears, but they hear not; neither is there any breath in their mouths. 18 They that make them are like unto them: so is every one that trusteth in them.

The LORD alone is the living and true God. As Jeremiah puts it:

“But the LORD is the true God, He is the living God, and an everlasting king: at His wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide His indignation” (Jer 10:10).

By contrast, the idols of the heathen are dead statues of silver and gold. They have mouths but speak not; ears that hear not; eyes that see not; hand that can do nothing; legs that can bring them nowhere. They are helpless and powerless. But yet sadly, there are those who will make these idols and even worship them. It is no wonder that God wants us to know that those who created these idols are like the idols themselves.

On the other hand, God’s children have every reason to praise Him. If the heathen would worship an inanimate object, then how much more should we praise and worship the LORD who is the living and true God?


Conclusion

This, beloved brethren, is Psalm 135. It is not a very well-known Psalm. But as you can see, it is a Psalm that we may use to encourage one another to praise the LORD, and it even gives us the reasons to praise the LORD. May the LORD grant us that through Christ we may more and more experience God’s blessings, and more and more thanksgiving unto our Great God and King will overflow from our hearts. Amen. W