Praise the Lord! – a sermon on Psalm 135 by Rev. Colin Pretorius
A minister had been serving in a small church for some years and, as it happens, some of the times were good and others a bit less good. But he enjoyed his time in that congregation and as far as he knew, the congregation also appreciated him. Then, one day Saturday morning he received a call from another church. He spent the rest of the day in prayer, and on the Sunday morning he informed the church of the call and asked that people keep him in prayer. It was the practice in that church that people could get up and pray, and a few did. Then one elderly lady, who was known for her straightforward prayers, got up and prayed. “Dear Lord” she said, “if it’s Your will to leave our minister right here among us we shall say “Amen.” But if it’s Your will to send him somewhere else, we’ll all say “Hallelujah!”…
But folks, psalm 135 isn’t a picture of giving thanks because the Lord has seen fit to bless another congregation with your minister – although it might include that. It is a psalm about all-of-life praise. It’s a psalm about all-of-life worship of our great God. It’s about praise from beginning to end, just as this psalm begins and ends with the word “Hallelujah!” It’s about coming before the Lord our almighty God with a Hallelujah on our lips and in our hearts. Perhaps one way of putting it is that psalm 135 is about living hallelujah lives.
We don’t know who composed this psalm or exactly when. But from its content and structure it’s clear that it was intended for use in the temple area, where people gathered to worship. It’s a psalm of praise that has three main sections: There’s an initial call to praise, followed by reasons for that praise, and then a final call to praise.
- In the first 4 verses, the audience are called to worship and also reminded of God’s goodness;
- Verses 5-18 speak of God’s greatness and sovereignty; and
- Verses 19-21 is again a call to praise the Lord.
Let’s begin at the beginning, with the call to…Praise the Lord for He is good!