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Psalm 150: Where, Why, How, Who, and When to Praise God?

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.


There are lots of things to say about Psalm 150 even though it is a short chapter of only six verses. It has the same number of verses as Psalm 1, the introductory psalm.

The concluding psalm is also the conclusion of the "Hallelujah Praises" from Psalm 146-150.

Psalm 150 is a doxology that ends the last section of the psalm and the book of Psalms.

There is no superscription with a writer's name, therefore, the psalm is an orphan.

It is an inclusio since it begins and ends with the same words.

While the above descriptions should be kept in mind, the last psalm answers these questions in this order:

  • Where to praise?
  • Why praise?
  • How to praise?
  • Who should praise?
  • When to praise God?

"Praise the Lord"

In the short chapter of only six verses, the command to "Praise the Lord" is recorded 13 times. Every third word tells us to praise the Lord. That means it is very important.

The psalmist did not leave it up to the individual to figure out the reasons. Neither did he use symbols and metaphors for the reader to interpret what is being said. The three words: "Praise the Lord" should be understood as they are.

Within the five reasons to praise the Lord, there are answers to where, why, how, who, and when.


1. Where?

Praise God in his sanctuary.
Praise him in his mighty heavens.

Verse 1 is very clear about where God is when you praise Him. Praise God as He sits in his sanctuary. If you don't know where that is, it is in His mighty heavens. When we pray the Lord's Prayer, we say "Our Father, which art in heaven." When we praise God, He is the same place.

Unfortunately, some people misunderstand and think they are to be "in the sanctuary portion of their individual church" when they praise God. The first verse says in "his sanctuary." While we should praise God in our individual sanctuary, that should not be the limit to where we should praise God.

Actually, God's sanctuary is wherever God is. God’s sanctuary is not confined to a particular building. He is not limited to your little church on the corner. He is not there only when you are there on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights and when you lock the door and leave, God stays there until you return.

  • Jesus is in a sanctuary in the heavens, according to Hebrews 8:1-2.
  • Jesus makes His sanctuary among His people (2 Corinthians 6:16).
  • Jesus makes His sanctuary in the individual believer (1 Corinthians 3:16).
  • Finally, Jesus Himself will be the sanctuary of God among His people when He returns, according to Revelation 21:22.

2. Why?

Praise him for his acts of power.
Praise him for his surpassing greatness.

Verse 2 tells us why we should praise God. In fact, two reasons are recorded.

  1. Praise God for His powerful acts.
  2. Praise God for His surpassing greatness.

We should continually praise God for the mighty things He has done not just for us but for all His creation. We should look around us and see the unimaginable things that are on earth because of God's mighty deeds. Then, we should think of how great God is. Even the little children acknowledge the goodness and greatness of God when they repeat the grace before eating their food. They have learned to say, "God is great and God is good and we thank Him for our food. Amen."

3. How?

3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre

4 praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings

5 praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.

In Verses 3-5, the psalmist uses the orchestra as an object lesson of praise. All of the instruments are included. Brass, string, wind, and percussion all join together to praise God. Don't overlook the word "dancing" in Verse 4. You can praise God through your dance. Remember David danced before the Lord (2 Samuel 6:14).

It is a good reason that the trumpet is listed first. According to Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon, the sound of the trumpet is associated with the greatest and most solemn events. Spurgeon, who preached for 38 years, said the solemn events included the giving of the law, the proclamation of jubilee, the coronation of kings, and the onset of wars. It is no wonder the trumpet is also used in praising the Lord.

Listing the instruments one by one illustrates the psalmist's desire to be inclusive. Also, he wanted to convey that people could use whatever instrument was available to praise the Lord. There was no lead singer or special instrument to praise the Lord alone. All chimed in to make a joyful noise to the Lord as in Psalm 100.


4. Who?

6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Don't think you are exempt from praising the Lord if you do not play a musical instrument. There is something that everyone has if he is alive. That is his breath. While you are alive you can praise the Lord.

A reminder must be given here that just saying "Praise the Lord" is not praising the Lord. You are merely repeating the command to praise the Lord. Praising the Lord is telling God how good and great He is. It is honoring God with your lips or celebrating with musical instruments if they are available. Praising the Lord also includes dancing before Him.

5. When?

Since having breath is the only qualification for praising, everyone can do it at all times. In other words, your breathe should be a constant reminder to praise God.

Don't let Psalm 150 be in the Bible for nothing. Do what it says for the reasons given in the psalm.


Bible Commentary: Psalm 150

  • How to Study the Psalms
    Psalms is a popular book of the Bible. It is not to be studied like other books. The book of Psalms is easy to understand when you know some background information instead of trying to interpret what the psalmists said thousands of years ago.
  • Psalms: Hymns About Him
    The Psalms are considered the most famous collection of religious poetry. The Psalms were meant to be sung.
  • Psalm 1: Contrasting Fate of the Righteous and the W...
    Psalm 1 is the introduction to all the 150 psalms. The psalmist contrasts the fate of the righteous with the fate of the wicked.