“He has raised up for his people a horn, the praise of his saints, of Israel, the people close to his heart.” (Psalm 148:14)
Have you enjoyed your Christmas praises? You may have had many opportunities for praise in recent days, most wonderfully, praising God for the gift of a Savior, but also praising others, perhaps for gifts, kindness, or their special contribution to the joy of the enduring Christmas. On these days after Christmas, Psalm 148 celebrates praise and calls us along with the whole universe to fill heaven and earth with our praise.
The first stanza of this mighty song calls all creatures above in the highest heavens, the angels, the sun, moon and shining stars, to join in the praise of God who so wondrously made them and set them forever in their place: “Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created!” (verse 5).
The second stanza calls all who inhabit the earth below to join heaven’s praise. The whole human race is called to join the ocean depths, stormy winds, lightning, hail, trees, animals and birds, even the mountains and hills, in the great song of praise: “Let them praise the name of the Lord for his name alone is exalted, his splendor is above the heavens!” (verse 13). Surely God’s holy name and all his good and glorious work are worthy of praise in heaven and on earth!
But now comes the wonderful climax, the pinnacle of the song: “He has raised up for his people a horn, the praise of his saints, of Israel, the people close to his heart” (verse 14). The promised “horn” of Israel is none other than the mighty Davidic king, God’s own chosen one, raised up for all his saints and his people, Israel. The psalm points forward to the coming of the very one whose birth we have been celebrating — Israel’s Savior, the Savior of the world.
The psalmist could hardly have imagined this Savior as the child in a manger whom we have welcomed and worshipped again this Christmas. But by the Spirit, he called heaven and earth to praise the God who not only creates but also saves. “Let them praise!” he calls again today. Let nothing get in the way of it, hinder or prevent it. Praise gives itself gladly in response to what has been given. So with the whole universe, we join again to sing out our praise, “Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15).
All praise and thanks gracious God, Creator and Savior, for the gift of joy, Jesus Christ. Join our praise to that of the whole universe as we give you glory for the immeasurable love that has come to earth for us in him. Amen.