Psalms 135:1. Praise ye the LORD.
Or, “Hallelujah.” “Hallelujah” is the key-note of it. So this is one of the Hallelujah Psalms, for so it begins; and if you look at the end, you will see that so it closes. There is “Hallelujah” again. The whole Psalm is shut in at the beginning and at the end with this which is both our duty and our delight: “Praise ye the Lord.”
Psalms 135:1. Praise ye the name of the LORD
The character, the work, all that is revealed of God, is a subject for praise: and especially that wonderful and incommunicable name Jehovah, — never mention it without praise: “Praise ye the name of the Lord.”
Psalms 135:1. Praise him, O ye servants of the LORD.
Make it a part of your service. Praise him because you are his servants. Praise him because he accepts your service. You ought to be first in sounding his praises, therefore, “Praise him, O ye servants of the Lord.”
Psalms 135:2. Ye that stand in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God, —
You are permitted to dwell near to him. You have a standing and an abode, an office and a work, in the courts of the Lord’s house; therefore take care that you begin the strain. Should not the King’s courtiers praise him? Praise him, then, “ye that stand in the courts of the house of our God,” —
Psalms 135:3. Praise the LORD for the LORD is good:
There is one excellent reason for praising him, and you can never praise him too much. He is so good that you can never extol him to an exaggeration.
Psalms 135:3. Sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant.
That is, singing God’s praises is pleasant; it is a pleasant duty, and the Lord’s name is pleasant, or lovely. The very thought of God brings the sweetest emotions to every renewed heart; there is no pleasure in the world that exceeds that of devotion. As we sing praises unto the Lord, we shake off the cares of the world, we rise above its smoke and mists, and we get there the clearer atmosphere of communion with him.
Psalms 135:4. For the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure.
There is something for you who are the Lord’s chosen to sing about.
“In songs of sublime adoration and praise,
Ye pilgrims to Zion who press,
Break forth, and extol the great Ancient of days,
His rich and distinguishing grace.”
Psalms 135:5. For I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods.
“I know it,” says the writer of the Psalm; “I know it by experience; I know it by observation; I am sure of it. There is no god like unto our God. He is a great Creator, a great Preserver, a great Redeemer, a great Friend, a great Helper. ‘I know that Jehovah is great, and that our Adonai is above all gods.’”
Psalms 135:6. Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.
The heathen divided out the universe into provinces, and they had Jupiter to rule heaven and earth, and Neptune for the sea, and even today many sing, but, oh! how inaccurately, “Britannia rules the waves.” It is Jehovah, and no one else, that rules the waves, and the people on either land or sea. He is Lord everywhere, and whatever he pleases to do is done. He is no lackey to wait upon the free will of his creatures: “Whatsoever Jehovah pleased, that did he.”
Psalms 135:7. He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth;
That is a very wonderful work; what millions of tons of water are every day turned into vapour, and caused to ascend from different regions of the earth to fall again afterwards in cheerful, refreshing rain! What should we do if this process were suspended? It is the very life-blood of the world.
Psalms 135:7. He maketh lightnings for the rain;
It is said that the Bible was written to teach us religion, not science. That is very true, but the Bible never makes a mistake in its science; and I would rather agree with the old writers, who held that the Bible contained all science, than I would go with those who blasphemously pretend to correct the Holy Ghost, and to set him right upon geology, and I know not what besides. In the long run, it shall be proved that the old Book beats all the scientists; and when they have made some wonderful discovery, it will turn out that it was all recorded here long before. “He maketh lightnings for the rain.” There is an intimate connection between electricity and the formation of rain; and in the East this is very clear, for we are constantly reading in books of travel of heavy downpours of rain almost always accompanied by thunderstorms.
Psalms 135:7. Re bringeth the wind out of his treasuries.
The wind never comes puffing around us according to some freak of its own; but “He bringeth the wind out of his treasuries; “counting, and spending it as men do their money, not suffering more wind to blow than is needed for the high purposes of his wise government. Let praise for this be given to the God of nature who is ruling over all, and ever doing as he wills. The psalmist goes on to show that the God of nature is also the God of his people: —
Psalms 135:8. Who smote the firstborn of Egypt, both of man and beast.
It was God’s own hand that did it. The firstborn of man and beast could not have died by accident all over the land of Egypt at the same hour of the night; but Jehovah thus punished the guilty nation. Had they not oppressed his firstborn? Had they not cruelly trampled on his people, and refused to hearken to his Word? And when the time came for this last and heaviest blow, the Lord did but act in justice to them, and in mercy to his people.
Psalms 135:9. Who sent tokens and wonders into the midst of thee, O Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his servants.
“Tokens and wonders;” — not only prodigies which astounded the people, but “tokens” which taught them, for the plagues were directed against their deities, and large books might be written to show how every plague exposed the impotence of some one or other of the false gods which the Egyptians worshipped. Pharaoh and his servants were all involved in the sin, so they were all included in the punishment. How much better was it to be a servant of Jehovah than to be a servant of Pharaoh!
Psalms 135:10. Who smote great nations, and slew mighty kings;
Two of them are mentioned, perhaps because they were two of the most powerful kings who blocked the road of Israel.
Psalms 135:11-13. Sihon king of the Amorites, and Og king of Bashan, and all the kingdoms of Canaan: and gave their land for an heritage, an heritage unto Israel his people. Thy name, O LORD, endureth for ever;.—
He is the same Jehovah now as ever he was. Multitudes of people, nowadays, have made unto themselves new gods; they have imagined a new character for Jehovah altogether, and the God of the Old Testament is ignored and slandered; but not by his chosen people, they still cling to him.
The God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob is not the God of the dead, but of the living; and that is true spiritually as well as naturally. Those who are spiritually dead refuse to own him, and set up gods that they have imagined; but those who are quickened by his grace delight in him, and glorify his name. Let this, beloved, be our joyful song, “Thy name, O Lord, endureth for ever; —
Psalms 135:13-14. And thy memorial, O LORD, throughout all generations. For the LORD will judge his people, and he will repent himself concerning his servants.
For they have their dark times, and are often in trouble through their sin. Then the Lord sends chastisement upon them, but when it has answered his purpose, he gladly enough withdraws it. How different are the idols of the heathen from our God!
Psalms 135:15. The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.
They can do no works, for they are themselves the result of the work of men. Their handiwork can be nothing, for they are the work of men’s hands.
Psalms 135:16-18. They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not; they have ears, but they hear not; neither is there any breath in their mouths. They that make them are like unto them: so is every one that trusteth in them.
The original conveys the idea that those who make such gods grow to be like them, they are continually getting to be more and more like them. They become dumb, blind, deaf, dead, as they worship such idols as these.
Psalms 135:19-20. Bless the LORD, O house of Israel: bless the LORD, O house of Aaron: bless the LORD, O house of Levi: ye that fear the LORD, bless the LORD.
All of you, whether you be of the house of Aaron or of the tribe of Levi, to whatever house or tribe you belong, bless the Lord; and if you are Gentiles, even though Abraham acknowledge you not, yet, “ye that fear the Lord, bless the Lord.”
Psalms 135:21. Blessed be the LORD out of Zion, which dwelleth at Jerusalem.
Our inmost hearts would bless him. We cannot make him more blessed than he is; we cannot add to his glory; but, oh! we do wish that everything we can do, everything that can be done to his honour, may be done.
Psalms 135:21. Praise ye the LORD.
That is, once again, “Hallelujah.” Oh, for the spirit of divine grace to set us praising God from the heart, and to keep us at that holy exercise all our days!