Observe The first four verses are a call to the community (and the Levitical attendants – the servants of the Lord (1)) -- to praise God, and the singer gives the reasons for doing so. The next verses briefly rehearse their history, God’s mighty deeds, and mock the ludicrous gods whose ‘worshippers’ become like them, so do all who trust in them (18). The last stanza (19-21) calls on the houses of Israel to extol the Lord from Zion, he who dwells in Jerusalem! (21).
The splendid God of majestic power displays His deeds on behalf of His covenant people. Praise is their very best response, simply because He is great, because He loves them, protects them, gives to them, and has no parallel among the gods of other nations.
What’s not to love such a wonderful God? Why not praise Him?
Interpret Following the Songs of Ascent, Psalm 135 is a ‘community’ or historical hymn that recalls the deeds of the Lord in the life of His covenant people. There’s no mention of their faithlessness, because this is a hymn to their Lord, to praise His glorious name.
The significance of His name is reflected in this Psalm (1,13), demonstrating His sovereignty over earth, sea and sky (6-8), all at His good pleasure. His power and enduring love are Israel’s history – His protection from their enemies and His generous legacy of the land express His covenant love. The singer borrows Psalm 115:4-8 to mock the worthlessness of dumb pagan idols – they can’t do what He has done -- or anything else.
Why not praise such a wonderful God?
Apply There’s value in thinking back over events in our lives, whether via Grandpa’s ancient 8-mm movies cranked out on an equally ancient projector, Grandma’s overflowing photo albums of every event in children’s and grandchildren’s (and maybe great grands!) lives, Great-Aunt’s old diaries and letters, or flipping thru our phones for that buried picture (wait a sec, it’s here somewhere!) of some event so very important at the time. We want to share these markers in our lives, these pixels of our history.
We need to remember. Even more, we need to remember often and everywhere our need for our Lord as we learn dependence on Him.
Name is still a powerful thing. God knows our names, calls us by name, loves us, so He gave us His Son and we bear His name. He remembers us! To develop our memories, let’s ask His Spirit to help us recall the blessings, the joys, the rescues, the mercies, the grace without measure He has given us.
Then – come and praise the Lord! Why not?
Ask What haven’t You done in my life, Lord? When I think about You how can I not praise You?
Pray Lord, as I recall my so-brief history, how You saved me, how You cared for and carried me, how You adopted me into this dear church family, bring me by Your Spirit to praise and thank You, often and everywhere. You know my name; let me call on Your Name in thanksgiving for all You are.
Sing Ps 135
The Gathering Sound Collective - Come Praise the Lord
U of Arkansas Choirs - Slavite Gospoda (Praise the Lord) Serbian Orthodox hymn
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.