Psalm 148 – When the Moon Leads the Worship Service

Psalm 148 Bible with Chocolove Dark Chocolate Coffee Crunch

Today’s Chocolate: Chocolove Dark Chocolate Coffee Crunch

Today’s PassagePsalm 148

Who should praise God? The beings in the heavens and the beings on the earth. And why should they praise him? Because he is the greatest being. There, that’s Psalm 148. Good work, everyone; see you tomorrow.

Seriously, though, there’s more to these fourteen verses than just that. Among the beings invited to praise are the sun, moon, stars (3), sea monsters (7), the weather (8), mountains and trees and animals (9-10). It’s no surprise that angels, kings, and humans of various ages (2-3) are called to praise. But how can animals, much less inanimate objects and phenomena, praise God? Of course praise isn’t just limited to singing songs in a religious context; it’s any declaration of God’s goodness. But the entities enumerated in this psalm aren’t capable of speech or intention. Does the moon think God is good? Does the moon think?

The psalmist isn’t insane, and neither are we. We can safely say that when he commands these objects to praise God, he’s not expecting them to hear him, understand, and say, “Whoa, better start praising!” But if he means their “praise” of God to be understood metaphorically, the question remains: what is it a metaphor for? In what sense are they praising God?

And I’ll take a stab at that question. They’re not praising God like humans or angels praise God. They’re praising God like words on a page or words in a song praise God. The physical universe isn’t just matter in motion; the matter and its motions mean something. Paul tells us, “For since the creation of the world [God’s] invisible attributes, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made” (Romans 1:20). The universe is a message from God to us about his nature. He wants us to know that he’s powerful and intelligent enough to create and order everything we see, that there is an amazing being responsible for the night sky and panoramic landscapes of our world. The psalmist commands everything over our heads, “Let them praise the name of the Lord, for He commanded and they were created” (5). Astronomy has advanced leaps and bounds since he penned those words, and we now know mathematical intricacies about the operation of the cosmos that an ancient Hebrew could barely imagine.

But we and the psalmist share the knowledge that the stars spell out and the sun declares plain as day. God wanted a universe, and he got it. And the universe delivers God’s message: it is contingent, and it had a beginning. God instigated that beginning with a command. He is powerful enough to make everything with no outside help or materials.

So, the psalmist concludes: “His name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven” (13). The Lord is the greatest being. Praise the Lord.

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