“Praise the Lord, His Glories Show”

"Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in His sanctuary: praise Him in the firmament of His power" (Ps. 150.1)

     INTRO.: A hymn which exhorts us to praise God in His sanctuary and in the firmament of His power is "Praise the Lord, His Glories Show" (#609 in Hymns for Worship Revised). The text was written by Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847). Lyte is perhaps best remembered for his hymn "Abide With Me." A paraphrase of Psalm 150, "Praise the Lord, His Glories Show" first appeared in Lyte’s 1834 Spirit of the Psalms, a collection of free paraphrases of the Psalms. The alleluias were added to fit the tune described later. Hymns for Worship Revised incorrectly identifies the text as coming from Psalm 148. In the 1974 Hymns for the Living Church, edited by Donald Hustad and published by Hope Publishing Company, this same error is found, but the Dictionary-Handbook to Hymns for the Living Church correctly identifies it as being based on Psalm 150. Also, Hymns for Worship Revised uses a tune (Albertson), usually associated with John Reynell Wreford’s hymn "When My Love for Christ Grows Weak," that was composed by Phoebe Palmer Knapp.

     Most other hymnbooks today use a tune (Gwalchmai) that was composed by Joseph David Jones, who was born in 1827 at Bryngrugog, in Montgomeryshire, Wales. His parents were so poor they could give him only a year’s schooling, so he spent his boyhood learning all he could about music. As an amateur musician, he produced psalm and hymn tunes, publishing his first collection, Y Perganiedydd (The Sweet Singer), in 1847 before he was twenty years old. After going to London, England, to study music with the money made from its sale, he returned to Wales to teach music in the British School at Rhuthyn and eventually opened a private school there. His other works include a popular cantata entitled The Court of Arthur, a book for singers, several collections of Welsh tunes, and with E. Stephen, Llyfr Tonau ac Emynau of 1868 which first included this tune. Two years later, he died at Rhuthyn on Sept. 17, 1870. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the song may be found in the 1986 Great Songs Revised edited by Forrest M. McCann; in addition to the version found in Hymns for Worship Revised.

     The hymn gives several reasons why we should praise the Lord.

I. From stanza 1, we learn that we should praise the Lord because of His love
"Praise the Lord, His glories show, Alleluia!
Saints within His courts below, Alleluia!
Angels round His throne above, Alleluia!
All that see and share His love, Alleluia!"
 A. The saints who are within His courts below shoulr sing praise to Him: Ps. 30.4
 B. Also the angels who surround His throne above should bless Him: Ps. 103.20
 C. The reason is that God is pictured throught the scriptures as loving His creation: Ps. 47.4

II. From stanza 2, we learn that we should praise the Lord because of His wonders
"Earth to heaven and heaven to earth, Alleluia!
Tell His wonders, sing His worth, Alleluia!
Age to age and shore to shore, Alleluia!
Praise Him, praise Him evermore, Alleluia!"
 A. Both the heaven and earth should praise Him: Ps. 69.34
 B. The reason is that the wonders that God has done for His people throughout history are worthy of praise: Ps. 107.24
 C. Therefore, we should sing His worth for He is worthy to be praised: Ps. 18.3

III. From stanza 3, we learn that we should praise the Lord because of His mercies
"Praise the Lord, His mercies trace, Alleluia!
Praise His providence and grace, Alleluia!
All that He for man hath done, Alleluia!
All He sends us through His Son, Alleluia!"
 A. We should sing of the mercies of the Lord: Ps. 89.1
 B. We should praise Him for the grace that He gives: Ps. 84.11
 C. All the wondrous works that He has done to show His mercy and grace praise Him: Ps. 145.10

IV. From stanza 4, we learn that we should praise the Lord because of His gifts
"Strings and voices, hands and hearts,
Alleluia! In the concert bear your parts, Alleluia!
All that breathe, your Lord adore, Alleluia!
Praise Him, praise Him evermore, Alleluia!"
 A. The Psalm does mention praising God with the sound of the trumpet, lute, harp, timbrel, dance, stringed instruments , flutes, and cymbals; we recognize that while instrumental music in worship was allowed under the old covenant, it is not authorized under the new. We could understand "strings" to refer to the "heart-strings" by which we make melody in the heart: Eph. 5.19; or if one still objects, a small change could be made to read "LIps and voices" or "Songs and voices."
 B. All of us have been given gifts by which we can serve the Lord and thus join in the concert of praise to Him: 1 Pet. 4.10
 C. Therefore, everything and everyone that has breath should adore and praise Him: Ps. 150.6

     CONCL.: The use of Roberts’s tune with Lyte’s text makes for a very stirring song of praise to God.  The Hebrew name for the book of Psalms, "Tellehim," means "praises." Even though it is part of the Old Testament, the book is still worthy of our attention because over and over it encourages God’s people of all ages to offer praise to Him and is filled with reasons for doing so. And songs based on the Psalms, such as this very stirring one, especially encourage us to "Praise the Lord, His Glories Show."


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