Exalt the Lord, his praise proclaim; all ye his servants, praise his name, who in the Lord’s house ever stand and humbly serve at his command. The Lord is good, his praise proclaim; since it is pleasant, praise his name; his people for his own he takes and his own peculiar treasure makes.
2 I know the Lord is high in state, above all gods our Lord is great; the Lord performs what he decrees, in heaven and earth, in depths and seas. He makes the vapours to ascend in clouds from earth’s remotest end; the lightnings flash at his command; he holds the tempest in his hand.
3 Exalt the Lord, his praise proclaim; all ye his servants, praise his name, who in the Lord’s house ever stand and humbly serve at his command. Forever praise and bless his name, and in the church his praise proclaim; in Zion is his dwelling place; praise ye the Lord, show forth his grace.
Psalm 135 is the climax of the Psalms of ascent sung on a pilgrimage to the temple Jerusalem. As the destination draws near the religious fervour increases – the Temple, God’s dwelling place is in sight. Yet the grandeur of the building is but a signpost to the greater glory of God. It is a visual reminder of the goodness of God who is working his purposes out.
The Psalmist exhorts all who gather in the holy place to join in praising God, to exalt the Creator who is in charge of all things.
Praise is the natural outflowing of gratitude for all God has done, but what purpose does it serve? Praise builds our relationship with God. We remember God’s power and in our weakness God’s compassion and grace our hearts are softened and gratitude wells up in us and becomes praise and thanksgiving.
The original version of the Psalm recalls significant events in the life of God’s people – the rescue from Egypt, the overthrowing of great nations and kings, the provision of the promised land. Take a moment to consider the milestones in your life when you have been aware of God’s guidance and compassion.
The earthly Zion is a signpost to the heavenly places where God is praised and blessed forever. In praise we join with all through time and space.
So today as you enter that holy place of communion with God, take time to ponder what makes your heart sing or sink. How wonderful that the God of all creation is present and draws close to listen to our hearts and voices, and then opens the doors so we can serve and give glory to God.
I heard the Lord call my name listen close you’ll hear the same… Take his hand, we are glory bound.
And to the Father all your days – with the Son and Spirit praise.. Take his hand, we are glory bound.
Cecil Jacob Krieger, poet and Hymn writer copyright Word of God Charismatic Movement 1973
The Rev’d Viv Henderson is a retired minister and member of Taunton URC.