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December 26, 2018

THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 26 December 2018

Psalm 148 is a call for everything “from the heavens” and “from the earth” to join in praising the Lord because He is the Creator and is responsible for their continuing existence. The placement of Psalm 148 among the five Hallelujah psalms is extended to broaden the extent of the recurring calls for praise. All creation is summoned to praise the Creator.

Praise is to come first “from the heavens” (v. 1). Beginning with the angels who serve in the presence of God, the psalmist invites all who dwell “in the heights” to lift their voices and magnify “the name of the Lord” (vv. 1-2, 5). The heavenly bodies are not literally able to speak words of praise to God (vv. 3-4), yet they do reflect the Lord’s glory (Ps 19:1); and, they are silent, visible witnesses to the majesty of the Lord. Even “the waters that are above the heavens” (i.e. the clouds) testify to the glory of God. The entire heavenly order is to “praise the name of the Lord” for they were created at his command. God alone established the dependability of creation (its regularity) and thus nothing occurs by chance (148:6).

Praise is to arise next “from the earth.” The psalmist begins with the “sea monsters and all deeps” (cf. Gen 1:7, 10, 21). “Fire and hail, snow and clouds; stormy wind” fulfill his bidding (Ps 148:7-8), which is to indicate God’s sovereignty in creating them and guiding their activity. Storms fulfill God’s word regardless if one considers the weather bad or good (v. 8). The “mountains” testify to God’s transcendence, and the “hills” reveal his majesty. “Fruit trees” are the sweetness of God’s provision. The “cedars” declare his preeminence (v. 9).

All creation reveals God’s splendor and is reason to praise Him. Even “beasts” and “cattle” are summoned to praise God, in addition to the “creeping things and winged fowl” (v. 10). The earth’s highest authorities – “kings,” “princes,” and “judges” – are negligible in comparison to their Creator, so they like “all peoples” should praise God for his creation, and even more for what He accomplishes in the lives of his people (vv. 11-14; cf. Isa 43:21).

The final choir invited to praise God is all who have received the Lord’s sovereign grace. Humanity has even greater reason to praise God because men and women are created in his image (vv. 11-12), and the motivation is even greater when one is redeemed by God’s grace (vv. 13-14). God restores his people and grants them strength for they are “near to Him” (the meaning of “lifted up a horn for His people”). Such intimacy is based upon the redeeming work of Christ in dying on their behalf (cf. Eph 2:13-18). Psalm 148 concludes as it began with the ringing declaration, “praise the Lord!” God’s people boast in the Lord whose sovereignty (v. 13) and strength (v. 14) are readily evident.

To God be the Glory!

Your Missionary to our Political Leaders,

Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia

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Capitol Commission is prepared to encourage and enable local churches to participate in reaching our capitol communities for Christ (1 Tim 2:1-4). We only need to hear from you, if you have not already contacted us. We also seek to enlist individuals, businesses, and churches to become strategic partners with us in this ministry (2 Cor 8:3-6). Our success as a ministry is based upon God blessing all facets of the ministry, which certainly includes partners in this ministry. We earnestly desire to engage those who desire to participate in the ministry by offering their time and talents (Matt 25:20). If you have not already done so, join us and experience the joy of bringing hope, light, transformation, and truth to those who constitute our capitol communities.