A Call to Praise
“Let everything that hath breath praise Jehovah. Praise ye Jehovah.”—Ps. 150:6, Am. Stan. Ver.
1. Whom must we praise? Why is it increasingly urgent to do so?
JEHOVAH, the great Builder of the universe and the Creator of life, is worthy of praise. For his own pleasure he willingly undertook the burden of bringing into existence a great mass of orderly creation, visible and invisible. None of this creation exists independently of him, and therefore all creation has an obligation toward God and must join in testifying to his supremacy by showing that his work is commendable, or else perish. The rapidly approaching battle of Armageddon makes the matter of praising God increasingly urgent for survival. At this critical stage of world history it is more than a question of what is expedient for us. This is a great day of decision, and necessity requires us to face the facts and decide where we stand on the issue of universal sovereignty. Are we for God and his kingdom of righteousness? Or do we throw in our lot with this evil world under Satan its prince, being content with what it provides and supporting its multifarious schemes for human betterment? We cannot avoid the issue, nor will the shortness of the time allow for us to indefinitely ponder our steps. Only positive action now in favor of praising Jehovah will guarantee continued existence, for God is now bringing everything into final judgment. That which does not reflect God’s glory is doomed to destruction.—Ps. 9:7, 8.
2. How far up does the command to praise him extend? Why?
2 The inspired psalmist had foreknowledge of these things, and therefore he calls upon “everything that hath breath” to praise Jehovah. So fully did he appreciate creation’s absolute dependence upon God for survival in this day of judgment that he goes beyond the realm of man and extends his call to praise even into the invisible heavens. In exalted phrase he sings out: “Praise ye Jehovah. Praise ye Jehovah from the heavens: praise him in the heights. Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his host. Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light. Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that are above the heavens. Let them praise the name of Jehovah; for he commanded, and they were created. He hath also established them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass away.” (Ps. 148:1-6, Am. Stan. Ver.) Even the faithful spirit creatures inhabiting the invisible heavens high above man are not exempt from honoring Jehovah God. They must bless and praise God in proof that they support his universal domination. The faithful spirit creatures are doing this, for at the birth of Jesus they appeared with the announcing angel and were observed by the God-fearing shepherds. “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men in whom he is well pleased.” (Luke 2:13, 14, Am. Stan. Ver.) Now that Jesus has come since 1914 as King and sits upon his throne of power, those heavenly hosts are more than ever causing the corridors of God’s habitation to resound with his praises.—Rev. 12:1-12.
3. Who on earth are commanded to praise him? Why wisely do so?
3 It would be fatally erroneous to conclude that the necessity of giving God praise is limited to only heavenly creatures. No creature, in the highest estate or in the most humble position, is exempt from the obligation of honoring and glorifying his Maker. Moreover, it was down here at this earth that the supremacy of God was originally challenged, and so it is in the vicinity of this earth that the issue will shortly finally be settled. Inasmuch as man is created a little lower than the angels, he is wise in taking his cue from the faithful hosts. All inanimate creation shows forth God’s glory, so it is only reasonable that all living creatures, and outstandingly the intelligent human creature, should join the rest of creation, including the angels, in declaring God’s adorable qualities and virtues. The psalmist meant to overlook nothing when calling for praise to God, and so he turns his attention from the high heavens to this earth: “Praise Jehovah from the earth, ye sea-monsters, and all deeps; fire and hail, snow and vapor; stormy wind, fulfilling his word; mountains and all hills; fruitful trees and all cedars; beasts and all cattle; creeping things and flying birds; kings of the earth and all peoples; princes and all judges of the earth; both young men and virgins; old men and children: let them praise the name of Jehovah; for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above the earth and the heavens.” (Ps. 148:7-13, Am. Stan. Ver.) It is wise now for man to give serious heed to these words, for they mean life. The reason is shown by another prophet of God, who wrote concerning these last days: “Jehovah hath a controversy with the nations; he will enter into judgment with all flesh: as for the wicked, he will give them to the sword, saith Jehovah.”—Jer. 25:31-33, Am. Stan. Ver.
4. Have rulers and peoples obeyed this command? What proves it?
4 In the face of such wholesome admonition, with a prediction of dire consequences for those not heeding the call to praise God, one might expect to find a great chorus of voices extolling the Most High, looking for his salvation. Unhappily, such is not the case. It is manifest that “kings of the earth and all peoples; princes and all judges of the earth; both young men and virgins; old men and children” have not followed the instructions of the 148th Psalm. Had they done so, there would not have been two total world wars in this century with practically all humankind, young and old, male and female, being regimented and required to take part in the effort of the total nation against its enemy. There would not now confront the nations the perplexing problem of how to control the use of atomic energy to prevent world disaster. The military would not be directing the scientific effort of every nation toward the development of more efficient instruments of death and destruction. The dread of a cosmic-ray bomb with a thousand times the power of its atomic forerunner would not haunt the rulers, nor would they find it necessary to appropriate huge sums to keep abreast of the field in a world armaments race. No; instead, the total effort of all nations and peoples would be centered and united on exalting the Lord God, whose kingdom by Jesus Christ was brought forth A.D. 1914 in realization of Bible prophecies.
5. Whom does this disprove to be the “higher powers”? Why so?
5 So, in the light of Psalm 148, the nations have failed in their highest duty. More than ever it is now clear that the rulers are not the “higher powers” “ordained of God”, and there is no truth to their claim to rule “by the grace of God”. According to the facts they certainly do not rule “for the glory of God” nor as his administrative servants or ministers. (Rom. 13:1-4) The best interests of the people are not served, either, for, true to Jesus’ prediction for these very days, we find “men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth”.—Luke 21:26.
6. With whose praises does earth ring? On the part of whom?
6 Nevertheless, in the nations of the earth, particularly in Christendom, there is today a great pretense at praising God. Imposing church buildings and temples are everywhere to be found, with paid clergy to direct man’s praise. Instead of praise to God, however, the earth rings with the glorifying of creatures. Men and women who have achieved fame in financial, political, social, military, religious and athletic fields are held constantly in the public eye and are lauded for their works. Without protest from the clergy, who indeed often join them, the people continue to forsake God’s law. They magnify the prominent and wise men of this world which lies under the wicked one, Satan the Devil. (1 John 5:19; Matt. 4:8, 9) The unhappy results that have always come from praising men have no retarding influence on this misdirected worship. Every man glories in his own works and in the works of fellow men, whereas the apostle Paul advised: “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” (1 Cor. 1:31) Ignored is the wise declaration that God himself is the one to be praised, and for good reason, too: “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” (Rev. 4:11) That includes praise from the creature man, who was brought into being for God’s pleasure.
7. What world organization is idolized? Will its praises endure?
7 Not only do men join together to give praise to individuals, but nations have joined together in setting up a great idol to which they give honor and glory. A United Nations organization, with a world capital, is set forth as the only remedy for the fearsome troubles that now beset the peoples and nations. The proverb advises mere man: “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth”; but global architects heedlessly boast of a “better world of tomorrow” through the efforts of the U.N. They predict it will achieve great things for suffering humanity, and they call upon the people to trust in it and support it. Religious clergy lend their moral support and look upon it as God’s way of ushering in peace. The U.N. has become a graven image that stands for man’s power and achievement and it is hailed as the world’s salvation. But it can never stand alongside of Jehovah God. In the coming settlement of the controversy as to who is worthy of praise, God will not let the glory due him go to any such image. Says he: “I am Jehovah, that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise unto graven images.”—Isa. 42:8, Am. Stan. Ver.
8. Examining Bible history, what should such idolaters note?
8 The political and religious leaders would do well to examine the record of past ages to determine whether like schemes for world salvation met with any success. They might with profit note what happened in the days following the deluge of Noah’s time when men tried to build a super city and a tower that would reach into the heavens, all in an effort to hold the world together and make for themselves a great name. God held to his rule of not allowing his praise and glory to go to another. He confounded the would-be builders and reduced their combined efforts to nothing. He has not changed from then till now, and he will not change in future days till Armageddon in requiring that praise be given to him. If twentieth-century men persist in idol-building, they can expect nothing better upon their efforts than that which God has decreed: “Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols.” (Ps. 97:7) They might with great profit note how God was provoked to anger and moved with jealousy because of the graven images to which Israel gave praise, and how he gave that nation of old over to complete destruction.—Ps. 78:55-64.
9. By what agency will God perfect his praise? When?
9 But the rulers do not prefer to give heed to the record of history preserved for the learning of those who would be truly wise. (1 Cor. 10:11) Undaunted by past failures they proceed with their own schemes apart from God, at the same time keeping up a pretense of acknowledging God. The situation in the world is as Isaiah was obliged to describe it: “Forasmuch as this people draw nigh unto me, and with their mouth and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment of men which hath been taught them; therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.” (Isa. 29:13, 14, Am. Stan. Ver.; 1 Cor. 1:19) Jehovah will not be served through any political government, nor through any agency of idol-images. It is by and through the Kingdom that Jehovah will perfect praise to himself, in heaven and earth, and that is why the Kingdom is the predominant theme of the Bible and why Jesus taught Christians to always pray for its coming. Now it stands revealed in heavenly glory, and it will soon command unlimited jurisdiction of this planet earth. So the day is truly here when men must decide whether they will worship and praise other creatures and images or whether they will seek out God and honor him.
WHY KNOW AND PRAISE HIM
10. What does it mean for one to know and praise Jehovah? Why so?
10 Being practical, now, Why should an honest and sincere person seek to know God and praise him? Do you not stand to lose in a world filled with creature-praisers, man-made idols and get-rich-quick schemes if you take the opposite course of praising God? What is there in it for you? Stated briefly, it means life for you, not for sixty or seventy years, but for years without number. Said Jesus: “And this is life eternal, that they should know thee the only true God, and him whom thou didst send, even Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3, Am. Stan. Ver.; Rom. 6:23) No human agency can guarantee as much for you. When Almighty God shortly goes forth to express his righteous indignation against this iniquitous, creature-worshiping world, only the person with unshrinking faith will live because of having God’s pleasure upon him. Men who now worship God aright will be “hid in the day of the LORD’S anger”. (Zeph. 2:3) Therefore you must recognize the truth of the prophet’s words: “For great is Jehovah, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols: but Jehovah made the heavens.” “From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same Jehovah’s name is to be praised.” (1 Chron. 16:25, 26; Ps. 113:3, Am. Stan. Ver.) You must realize that your eternal destiny rests in the hands of God, and therefore you must seek to win God’s favor by praising his name, for “in his favour is life”.—Ps. 30:5.
11. Why must praising him be started now, before Armageddon?
11 Make no mistake about the matter! It is the praising of God that guarantees deliverance and salvation into the new world of everlasting life. Unless a man now praises God by confessing his faith, there is no lasting future for him; and there are no exceptions, either. “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else. By myself have I sworn, the word is gone forth from my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.” (Rom. 14:11; Isa. 45:22, 23, Am. Stan. Ver.) The faithful apostle Paul, then, had Scriptural support when he argued that not the praising of men or images but the confession of praise to God leads to eternal salvation. He was uttering the mind of God on the matter when he said: “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Rom. 10:10) It is inescapable that all men who live shall bow the knee to Jehovah God and confess to his supremacy, and they must start now. When Armageddon breaks over the earth it will be useless for men to then first start doing these God-honoring acts, because the judgment of all living men will have been completed and the executioners will have been given the go-ahead signal. No Armageddon deathbed repentance will be acceptable. Therefore it is time to soberly consider the matter now while there is yet opportunity.
12. By whom is he now being praised increasingly? In what way?
12 Today a “great multitude” of persons “of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues” are offering praise to God in the proper way; and their ranks are constantly growing. (Rev. 7:9-17) With Jehovah’s witnesses they raise their voices from every nation, echoing the words of the psalmist: “Praise ye Jehovah. Praise Jehovah, O my soul. While I live will I praise Jehovah: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being. Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” (Ps. 146:1-4, Am. Stan. Ver.) Jehovah’s irresistible spirit is behind this singing of praise and nothing can stop its increase. In a very practical way, with much hard work in tramping from door to door, repeatedly visiting the people with the Kingdom message, Jehovah’s witnesses and their companions testify to the people concerning the Kingdom and its blessings. They call upon the people to join in praising God, because it is on this issue of praising God that men are now being judged. It is a great dividing work that is now in progress among the people everywhere, as Jesus foretold. Those who join in singing God’s glories are classed as “sheep” whose inheritance will be eternal blessings. Those who refuse to acknowledge God by praising his name now place themselves with the “goats” whose end is eternal destruction. (Matt. 25:32-46) Where will you stand? Will you be able to say, as it was foretold Jesus did, “I will give thanks unto Jehovah with my mouth; yea, I will praise him among the multitude”?—Ps. 109:30, Am. Stan. Ver.