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Singing Psalm 148 to be near greatness

Fans get a bit off kilter beside themselves when they get near greatness or near those they deem to be great at something. It could be in sports, music, acting, a career, a hobby, academics, or just looking good.

Singing Psalm 148 to be near greatness unthinkable

“Hallelujah! Praise the LORD’s name

From the heavens praise His name.

In the heights above, O praise Him,

All His angels praise proclaim.

All His hosts together praise Him.” ~ Psalm 148:1-2

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” ~ Ephesians 3:20-21

Singing Psalm 148, you consider the one who made all things and the prospect of being near greatness orders of magnitude greater than imaginable, so much greater that he is in a completely different category, namely, the creator, with everything else in another category, the created. Even the highest of his created beings cannot fully understand God. It is unreasonable for any creature to expect to have the ability to reason out what God does. Job tried, as holy and blameless a man as he was, and came to the joyful realization that he ought to put his hand over his mouth. Job taught that, as a creature, it is good to know the limits of your understanding so you can feel secure in the arms of the creator who has unlimited understanding. Yet how is it that the infinite greatest of great ones makes himself approachable? How is it that God, the King of kings, wants to be close to you?

Wait a minute. Being near greatness is usually rare. Most celebrities or very successful people are unapproachable. You need special passes to the inner circle.

That God became man in Christ, you actually get to be near greatness so great that, once you begin to grasp it, you can’t help but praise him. You are ever enamored at who he is, so other, so perfectly wise that he thought to make the cosmos and that same one wants a relationship with you. What?!?

Angels get how high a trait humility like that is, but humans are blind to the reality of the awesome yet approachable and humble God until he reveals it to them.

Look at all of what God created if you can. The beauty and vastness takes your breath away! Look deeper and wider at the intricacies. You know him by his fruit and you praise him. Yet human sin and rebellion turned paradise into a war zone.

Jesus came into enemy territory, reclaimed the beauty for a people he counts as righteous. Sin is anthropomorphized as crouching at the door desiring to have you. It takes being near greatness that only the Lord can provide to enable you to rule over it. Jesus is in the process of recreating you for himself enabling you to rule over it as you overcome temptations. When you do give in, he makes it not as bad as it could be. Even when it is as utterly bad as it could be, he is merciful to forgive. With eyes of faith you are far more beautiful than naked and unashamed. You are clothed with Christ! All of his creation still groans for his second advent when he will bring to fruition the redemption he completed at the cross. When Jesus comes again for his bride, the church, the new Israel who longs for his coming to be near greatness, death will die, and he will make all things new.

The storm is there. Jesus is there. Which one you fix your eyes upon will determine whether or not you are near greatness.

“Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!…    Born that we no more may die.”

“Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” ~ Mark 4:41b

Jesus saves you from fear of death:

“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham.” ~ Hebrews 2:14-16

You praise him like the “stormy winds that heed His call,” ~ Psalm 148:8b

“Let them praises give the LORD’s name,

    For His name alone is high.” ~ Psalm 148:13a

Singing Psalm 148 to be near greatness revealed

Jesus made himself a part of human history so you could have access to the creator of all things and be near greatness. He made you in his image and knows you better than anyone else knows you. He made you for himself. He made you in such a way that you need to depend on him. Independence from him is like cutting a branch off the vine. Separated from him, you die not just once but eternally. You can do nothing without him.

The Word of God is preserved so you can know his ways and live eternally near greatness.

The sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s supper draw you near greatness. They point symbolically to Jesus’ body and blood and to the marriage supper. You’re being made spiritually clean once for all by the water Jesus made that points to his blood that washed away your sins. You are sustained by the bread and fruit of the vine that Jesus made that physically represent his body and blood each time you partake of this meal of remembrance and communion with his people.

You are set apart to be near greatness that created the land, sea, sky, all they contain, and mankind in his image—fearfully and wonderfully made. All that God made reveal his greatness. Every bit of landscape down to the grains of sand, every kind of weather, and every creature macro and micro, have one thing in common. Let all praise the Lord, their creator!

Jesus revealed in his word that you are to be holy. Without holiness, no one will see the Lord. That’s in part because without holiness, each one of us thinks our ways are better than his, our thoughts higher. He wakes you up and makes you holy by his Spirit bringing you near greatness that is humble. The Lord doesn’t boast of his greatness. He doesn’t have to. It’s evident to anyone who looks outside the ways of self and considers the ways of the Lord.

“Seek the Lord while he may be found;    call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way,    and the unrighteous man his thoughts;let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,    and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts,    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.For as the heavens are higher than the earth,    so are my ways higher than your ways    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven    and do not return there but water the earth,making it bring forth and sprout,    giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;    it shall not return to me empty,but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

“For you shall go out in joy    and be led forth in peace;the mountains and the hills before you    shall break forth into singing,    and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;    instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;and it shall make a name for the Lord,    an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” ~ Isaiah 55:6-13

“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” ~ Luke 6:38

“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” ~ Luke 12:32-34

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”  ~ Colossians 3:1-3

Singing Psalm 148 will enamor you to get to be near greatness you can hide in, revealed not just to your head but to your heart.

He places his martyrs and his suffering ones in a realm of otherness where you are alive to Christ and dead to the sin of those who are killing or hurting you like Stephen who, after Jesus, asked that it not be held against them.

If there’s anything that will put you in a constant state of wonder, it’s understanding that the one who made all things loves you. That the one who made all things above you, alongside you, and below you, cares for you. Being near greatness like this, once you apprehend it, is so overwhelming, you can’t help but forget yourself and your troubles and praise him unceasingly.

“He a horn raised for His people,    By His saints in praise adored;They are Israel His people,    Near to Him. O praise the LORD!” ~ Psalm 148:14

December 29, 2023 – January 5, 2024


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