This life provides ample cause for sorrow. Glorious as it is, this is a world of scarred beauty. We are “born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7). Yet, after the heart has voiced its concerns, let there be praise. “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD” (Psalm 150:6)!
Since we experience a life of sorrow, despair, and longing, we ask with the psalmist, “Why, O Lord, do you stand far off” (Psalm 10:1)? In sorrow we cry out, “Help, LORD, for the godly are no more; the faithful have vanished from among men” (Psalm 12:1). And in longing we can cry, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever” (Psalm 13:1).
Of course He has not forgotten us at all, but Scripture paints in sharp relief the real emotions of life. They confess the truth of our human condition and they express the raw emotion characteristic of Adam’s offspring. We sometimes feel as though He is far off or that He has forgotten us. But there is more to the book of Psalms.
Psalm 10 ends with these words: “You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted: you encourage them, and listen to their cry” (Psalm 10:17). Psalm 12 and 13 end similarly, by affirming God’s presence among us. “I will sing to the Lord, for He has been good to me” (Psalm 13:6).
It is then no surprise that the collection of Psalms ends with praise. In fact the term “praise” appears 49 times from Psalm 144 to Psalm 150 (NIV). The text uses different Hebrew words to express this English idea of praise, but each word express a grateful heart producing praise.
“Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.”
Despite the horrors of this world, much good is also present. Despite the pain and sorrow, much laughter is heard above the clamor. So we praise Him for the grandeur of mountains and the solitude of forest glades. We praise him for the chirping birds and the gentle rustle of leaves in the warm spring breeze. We praise Him for this year past and for the year to come. We praise Him for He has made us glad. And since we are a part of “everything that has breath,” we praise Him that we have breath.