Read Psalm 150.
When we began this journey through the book of Psalms, we quickly came to a fork in the road. There were two paths before us: “the way of the righteous” and “the way of the wicked” (Psalm 1:6). One trail leads to life, the other to death. One is marked by joy and peace, though it often winds its way through suffering in this world. The other promises pleasure, but it ultimately leads to pain and despair. Here at the close of the Psalms, only one road remains: the road of life, which has also become the way of praise.
In the end, the road less traveled will be all that’s left. God wasn’t kidding when He said the other way leads to destruction. He invites us—no, that’s not enough—He gave His Son for us so that we might enter through the narrow gate and meet Him on the road.
In Psalm 150, we get a glimpse at what it was all for: a universe where everyone joins together in worship. The psalmist looks forward to that day and invites all who hear his words to start right now: “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD” (v. 6). These words also serve to put a cap on the entire book of Psalms. This praise was the whole point, what every song and poem was pointing to all along.
We were made to praise God in everything we do. That’s the natural order of things. But when sin broke the world, it broke our praise. We became people who praised ourselves, praised the darkness, and praised the creation, rather than the Creator. We aimed our praise in all the wrong places, and we lost a bit of our humanity in the process. When Jesus came, it was to reveal the heart of the Father so that our praise might be lifted up where it belongs and we might become fully human once again.
That’s where repentance leads us—to a place where we must turn away from whatever else has captured our heart so that our praise can be directed back toward Yahweh. There, we give Him our trust, our loyalty, our love.
Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). The poor in spirit are the folks who have been beaten and battered by their own sins and the sins of others. They are tired, weary, and desperate for real life. They want to be fully human once again, even as they realize they do not have the power to make themselves whole. They are ready to receive the grace of God and give Him their praise.
In Jesus’ day, these were often the people deemed furthest from God by the organized-religious types. Among the ranks of the poor in spirit were the tax collectors, prostitutes, and criminals, as well as people Jesus rescued from demons and healed of leprosy. They appeared hopeless to those who’d supposedly gotten their act together, but in God’s kingdom it is the hopeless who find hope. It is the hungry who find bread.
It is fitting that the psalmist’s invitation—and the Lord’s as well—is to “let everything that has breath praise the LORD” (Psalm 150:6). When we recognize our desperate need for a Savior, we know that all we have to offer Him is the breath in our lungs. And when we meet the love of God, the only fitting response is to offer Him our life, poured out in praise.
That’s it! We’ve completed the book of Psalms! Whether this is the first devotional you’ve read or you’ve been with me since the beginning, thank you for reading!
I hope this time in God’s Word has been a blessing to you, and I’m excited to begin reading and writing my way through another book of the Bible, beginning next Monday, March 15. I hope you’ll join me!