Book V is an invitation to exuberant praise; it is worship in light of God’s covenant love, His Word, and the reminder that His promise of David’s neverending throne would be fulfilled in the Messiah.
The crowd stuck around for what seemed like hours singing. Even the songs they sang, although with different variations here and there, were essentially one song. No one wanted to move on or leave the scene of victory. For the University of Michigan Wolverines, it had felt like ages since they were able to sing “Hail to the Victors” after soundly defeating Ohio State. And so, the celebration went on long into the early morning hours as fans relished every bit of victory they could.
Book V of the Psalms closes the entire Psalter with victory anthem after victory anthem extolling the greatness and grace of God over all things. Instead of the tune “Hail to the Victors” playing, each psalmist rejoices with the cry “Hallelujah!” It’s a lively and boisterous conclusion to the whole book initiated by praise in Psalm 145. The final words of the Psalter announce eternal praise to the Lord and point us to the forever King, Jesus, who brings the victory these psalms celebrate. Like the collegiate fight songs recounting the deeds of the victorious schools, these songs declare the power, grace, mercy, righteousness, and worth of the Lord God. They bring a culminating “praise Him!” to the forefront of our lives. They give us a taste of heaven.
When we read, sing, and pray these psalms, they become desire-inducing lyrics that make us hungry to see the reality of these things fully made sight. While it may seem that things here on earth are becoming more and more desperate, divisive, and destructive, these psalms point us to the King, whose kingdom is already breaking in but not yet fully realized. We see a King “executing justice for the exploited and giving food to the hungry” (Psalm 146:7). We see a King who “is great, vast in power; his understanding is infinite” (Psalm 147:5). We are invited alongside all things in heaven, on earth, and under the earth to “praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted” (Psalm 148:13). The people of God are called to sing of His redemptive power and how “the LORD takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation” while “inflicting vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples” who stood opposed to Him (Psalm 149:4,7). The command to worship the King extends to every creature with breath in its lungs. “Let everything that breathes praise the LORD. Hallelujah!” (Psalm 150:6). As we sing and pray these celebration songs, we sing on earth as it is in heaven.
The day is coming when Jesus, our victorious eternal King, will come again and make all things new. The final “Hallelujah!” will ring out as all of heaven will say, “Hallelujah! Salvation, glory, and power belong to our God…Hallelujah because our Lord God, the Almighty, reigns!” (Revelation 19:1,6). Let us begin today singing “Hallelujah!” and praising and blessing His name forever and ever.