“…praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.” – Psalm 150.5From Dave Atkinson:
As I was reading Psalm 150 recently, I realized again just how much I miss singing in church with lots of people, with loud music, as well as that emotional aspect of encouraging each other as we each sing our hearts out thanking the Lord for who he is, and rejoicing in what he has done for us.
I’m not sure what I’ve found the hardest during this last year: being part of a masked congregation forbidden to sing; being part of the small livestreaming team but still not able to sing with the music group; or being able to sing loudly at home but hoping I don’t crack a window as I strain for the high notes!
Psalm 150 is the last of the psalms and, as with the other 149, it was used in sung worship by God’s people. Psalm 150 rounds up the previous psalms into a crescendo of worship. They must have been singing very loudly over the trumpets, strings, pipes, tambourines and resounding cymbals that we’re told of in verses 3-5!
The previous psalms echo how the writers were able to praise God in all sorts of physical, emotional and spiritual circumstances. How they praised God while in a range of situations; the temple, palace courts, tearstained beds, the heat of conflict, hiding in isolation, having done something bad. And how they praised God for his power, mercy, deliverance and forgiveness through those circumstances.
Psalm 150 exhorts everyone to praise God for his acts of power and his surpassing greatness (verses 1 and 2), through song, music and dance (verses 3-5). It is not naïve praise. Psalm 150 isn’t trying to cover over the other psalms by giving a false impression that life is straightforward and that worship is easy. But rather that it draws together the previous psalms by emphasizing that when we trust God, his acts of power and his surpassing greatness will always deserve our praise.
God has since shown his power and greatness in Jesus, defeating sin and death and the devil. That day, when everything that has breath praises the Lord, is getting ever closer. While we wait for that great day, Jesus calls us to trust him, to know that he is unchanging, and that his continuing acts of power and his surpassing greatness will be our solid foundation in all circumstances. He calls us to praise him and to rejoice in him everywhere, everyway and in everything.
I hope that it won’t be too long until we can worship together in church. When we can draw together all the ways that Jesus has led us and carried us by his powerful acts and surpassing greatness during the hard months of Covid. When we can give Jesus the glory and honour and praise he deserves by singing wholeheartedly, and loudly, as our musicians play guitars, keyboards, drums and – yes – resounding cymbals.