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Praise Defined From Psalm 150

In Psalm 150, we get a Biblical understanding of praise. We see the type of praise that glorifies and honours God. It gives us the framework for the what, why, how and who of praise. In this post, we will look at this Psalm and see how praise is defined in scripture.

Psalm 150:1-6 - Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in the firmament of His power! Praise Him for His mighty acts; praise Him according to His excellent greatness! Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; praise Him with the lyre and harp! Praise Him with the tambourine and dancing; praise Him with stringed instruments and flute! Praise Him with loud cymbals; praise Him with the clanging cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

the biblical definition of praise

Praise Defined From Psalm 150


The first thought to consider is, what is praise? It is the expression of appreciation for an attribute or an action by someone. Webster's dictionary says praise is “to express approval of or admiration for…” or “to admire or glorify a deity or hero."

In a previous post, I wrote praise is a declaration and acknowledgement of who God is. In it, we speak about God’s greatness; we speak of His might, power, activities and what He has done. We are declaring the awesomeness of God. We are magnifying God and making known who He is.


Verse 1 says, "Praise the Lord! Praise God". That is easy and self-explanatory. We are to praise God.


The psalmist gives us two locations: His sanctuary and mighty heaven. Let's talk about these for a moment.


Some may think that this is referring to the time when we come to church. It includes that time and location, but the Lord’s sanctuary is far more significant than a building.

The Israelites in the Old Testament often tended to isolate God to the Temple and the Temple alone. We usually do the same. We know from the Bible that God is everywhere; we cannot run or hide from Him. Also, as His children, He lives inside us; we are always in His presence.

In Acts 7:48-50, Stephen, in his message just before he was stoned to death, quotes from Isaiah 66:1-2 which says: “However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made with hands. As the prophet says: 49 ‘Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool. What house will you build for Me? says the Lord, or what is the place of My rest? 50 Has not My hand made all these things?’

In Psalm 99:5, we are encouraged to - Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at His footstool— He is holy!

So if the earth is His footstool and we are to worship at it, we could look at it in many ways as His sanctuary. So what I am saying is that worship or praise is not to be only done in a church building or some spiritual place but should be part of our lives wherever we may be. It is not limited to being in the right place, at the right time, or with the right music. Paul and Silas worshipped in a jail in Philippi.


Psalms 103:19-21 says - The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His kingdom rules over all. 20 Bless the Lord, you His angels, who are mighty, and do His commands, and obey the voice of His word. 21 Bless the Lord, all you His hosts; you servants who do His pleasure.

We are not in the heavens yet, so we cannot now bless and praise God as the angels can and are doing even as we speak.

We should praise God at all times here on earth, and there will come a time when we will continue praising Him when we are in eternity.


Again we are given some guidelines in this Psalm.


We might ask, what are His mighty acts? First of all, we would have to acknowledge His creation.

The psalmist says in Psalm 19:1-2 - The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork. 2 Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night declares knowledge.

Indeed, a long list of mighty acts could be listed.


There was no more extraordinary act of greatness on the part of God than sending His son to this earth and then rising victorious over our enemy, death, and the devil.

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 9:15 – Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.

Hebrews says, Through Him, then, let us continually offer to God the sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. - Hebrews 13:15

God, in His excellent greatness, has given us Jesus - Romans 5:15 – But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if through the trespass of one man many died, then how much more has the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.

To really appreciate the gift of Jesus Christ, we must recognize that without Him, we are completely desperate and lost. Without Jesus as our Savior, we are headed for eternal devastation. But you do not have to because of God’s extraordinary grace.

Ephesians 2:4-9 says - But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in sins, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and He raised us up and seated us together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, 9 not of works, so that no one should boast.

Not only do we have the gift of the Savior, but God is the giver of all good gifts. James tells us in James 1:17 - Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no change or shadow of turning.

Words and expressions of praise should be coming from our lives every day as we experience the incredible blessings from God.


Here in Psalm 150, we see that it takes three verses to express the mediums of our praise.

Verse 3 Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; praise Him with the lyre and harp! 4 Praise Him with the tambourine and dancing; praise Him with stringed instruments and flute! 5 Praise Him with loud cymbals; praise Him with the clanging cymbals!

We understand our part in verbally expressing our praise (singing and verbal should be natural), but here we see that instruments can be used. We also see that praising God can be expressed through dancing.

It was interesting that when the Temple was built, the glory of the Lord filled it after the singing and playing of the instruments.

2 Chronicles 5:13-14 - it happened, when the trumpet players and singers made one sound to praise and give thanks to the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and all the instruments of music and praised the Lord saying, “For He is good and His mercy endures forever,” that the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud. And the priests were not able to stand in order to serve because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God.

We see here that we are to praise God with many expressions of variety. A variety of instruments, clapping, singing, and even dancing.

Remember the Bible says in Psalms 66:1 as “Make a joyful noise unto God, all the earth…” KJV


Verse 6 says, Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

If we have breath, we should be involved in praising God.

Looking into the future Revelation 5:13 says - Then I heard every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that are in them, saying: “To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and power, forever and ever!”

The reason being praise is the product of a relationship with God. If we have healthy fellowship with God, praise should automatically come as a result.

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