“Praise Ye the Lord”

"Praise ye the Lord. Praise ye the name of the Lord; praise Him, O ye servants of the Lord" (Ps. 135.1)

     INTRO.: A hymn which exhorts us to praise the name of the Lord is "Praise Ye the Lord." The text, based on Ps. 135.1-6, was written and the tune (Greenwood) was composed both by Wayne S. Walker (b. 1954). In 2000, we were visiting my father in Abbeville, SC, and worshipped with the Central Church of Christ in Greenwood, SC, where my mother had previously attended prior to her death in 1994. The Bible class, which was being taught by the local preacher Everett Ward, was studying Psalm 135. As I was reading over the first few verses of the Psalm silently to myself, the words seemed to come together as a poem with an accompanying melody in my mind. I set them down some time afterwards when we had returned home and eventually sent them to Richard Morrison to be typeset. He made a few changes in the harmony. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the recent past for use in churches of Christ, the song has appeared in the 2000 Sing to the Lord! New Song Supplement 2000, the 2002 Sing to the Lord! Song Supplement 2002, and the 2007 Hymns for Worship Supplement, all edited by R. J. Stevens with the help of others.

     The song expresses praise to the Lord for who He is and what He has done.

I. Stanza 1 tells us to praise God because of His name (vs. 1-2)
"Praise ye the Lord, Jehovah is His name.
Ye who are servants sing unto His fame.
Stand in His house where He can be adored.
Forever in His courts, Praise ye the Lord!"
 A. Jehovah, apparently carrying with it the idea of self-sustained and eternal existence, is the name that God chose to identify Himself: Exo. 6.2-3 (this is not readily seen in the King James and New King James versions, but whenever the word LORD appears in all capitals, it is the Hebrew name for God, YHWH, from which we get Jehovah)
 B. Because He is the Eternal One, we should strive to sing unto His fame so that others will know of Him: Josh. 9.9
 C. While this may be done at any time and at any place, one circumstance where we need to praise Him is "in His house," referring to the church when it is assembled together: 1 Tim. 3.15

II. Stanza 2 tells us to praise God because of His grace (vs. 3-4)
"Praise ye the Lord, for He is full of grace.
Yes, praise is pleasant here and every place.
He chose a people for Him by His word.
Ye who His treasure are, Praise ye the Lord!"
 A. Our God is a God of grace towards His people: Ps. 103.8-10
 B. Therefore, to sing praise to such a God is something that is good and pleasant: Ps. 147.1
 C. While all people should praise God, those people who have been chosen as His special treasure should especially proclaim the praises of Him who called us: 1 Pet. 2.9-10

III. Stanza 3 tells us to praise God because of His greatness (vs. 5-6)
"We know the Lord is holy and is great.
He dwells above all gods in heaven’s gate.
He does what-e’er His wondrous plans afford.
In heaven and earth and sea, Praise ye the Lord!"
 A. The God who created the universe, upholds it by His power, and provides for all the needs of mankind on earth is surely a great God: Ps. 145.1-3
 B. It is clear, then, that He is infinitely greater than all other so-called "gods" which are the inventions of men’s minds: 1 Cor. 8.5
 C. And His greatness is manifested in all the works which His wondrous plans afford: Ps. 92.1-5

     CONCL.: I still feel strange doing hymn studies for my own songs.  It is really not my desire to "toot my own horn." Of course, "he who is the editor gets to choose the songs." Through the years, I have noticed that in each of the song books that brethren have published, the editors generally include a number of their own songs, some more than others. A few of these songs live on, but a vast majority of them are quickly forgotten. Having written very few hymns, I am really not in a position to be a judge of my own work, but I guess that it would be nice to see the ones that I have written be given a chance as we encourage each other to "Praise Ye the Lord."


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