Psalm 150: A concert of celebration

Hallelujah!
Praise God in his holy house of worship,
praise him under the open skies;
Praise him for his acts of power,
praise him for his magnificent greatness;
Praise with a blast on the trumpet,
praise by strumming soft strings;
Praise him with castanets and dance,
praise him with banjo and flute;
Praise him with cymbals and a big bass drum,
praise him with fiddles and mandolin.
Let every living, breathing creature praise God!
Hallelujah!
The Message

What a vast array of instruments, and this is only one translation! I also took a look at the New Living Translation, Young’s Literal Translation, Orthodox Jewish Bible, American Standard Version, and Easy-to-Read Version and found the following list of instruments:

trumpet, castanet, dance, banjo, flute, cymbal, bass drum, fiddle, mandolin, harp, tambourine, singing, psaltery, timbrel, organ, shofar (ram’s horn), pipe, horns, lyre, and stringed instruments.

Now some of these instruments are unknown to modern day readers, like the lyre and timbrel. The best that I can verify what I’ve always heard, the lyre is a stringed instrument like a miniature harp (how appropriate during Valentine’s Day…remember Cupid’s little harp he plays after you’re shot with an arrow?) and the timbrel is like a tambourine. The psaltery appears to look like a mid-sized harp that can sit in your lap, or a zither.

Then there are some generic instruments, like “stringed instruments”. Quick wikipedia search and we have over 70 instruments! And we also have “horns”, which brings us in a sampling: trumpet, cornet, trombone, tuba, french horn, and bugle. I suppose the shofar, or ram’s horn, could go in this category as well.

Third, we have the more known but not necessarily popular instruments like the castanet, tambourine, organ, and pipe. Now, when I read the word pipe I instantly think of Peter Pan’s pipe, but I suppose it could also be a Native American pipe, recorder or bagpipe.

Last but not least, we have the more common/popular instruments and the non-musical “instruments” of praise: banjo, flute, cymbal, fiddle, mandolin, dance, and singing. You put all of these things together and you have quite the eclectic symphony!

There are only 6 short verses in this chapter, but with even minimal research it is abundantly clear that we are not just told, but welcomed to praise God with whatever method will best embody our personal relationship with Him. There is no instrument that cannot be used to worship Him, no style of music that cannot be used to bring Him glory. (Enter my three favorite Christian rock artists….in no particular order, Skillet, Stryper, and Devin Williams)

God’s love crosses all boundaries. He does not discriminate. And we are not only allowed to worship him in response to that love loudly with enthusiasm and fervor, or quietly with tranquility and stillness, but encouraged to do so. There is no “wrong method” of worshiping and praising Him if your heart is sincere.
Now that’s a reason to celebrate!
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One thought on “Psalm 150: A concert of celebration

  1. You’d be surprised how many people play a lyre these days. The Kantele (a Finnish instrument) is a lot like the Psalter. They’re both from the zither family. I make them. Check them out. You may find it edifying to play and sing along to them. Really. They are very interesting instruments.

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