As the Psalter works its way down the home stretch toward its finale in the 150th psalm, the gloves come off. Doxology reaches to a stretch, digs down to bedrock, summons even the unseen powers and convenes heaven’s lights.
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts!
Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars! Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord! For he commanded and they were created. And he established them forever and ever; he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.
(Psalms 148:1–6 ESV)
In the ancient Israelite context, calling upon sun and moon to praise their Maker is brave. They were often worshiped as gods themselves. It is also polemical: they are put in their place.
They do not seem to mind, in the psalmist’s opinion, though worshippers of the heavenly bodies might beg to differ. The psalmist imagines heaven’s lights praising YHWH at full throat simply for the privilege of having been created at his command so that they can do so.
There is, we are asked to accept, no corner of heaven or earth where praise is rightly withheld. If there is war in heaven, celestial conspiracies afoot, they are forgotten as the psalmist reaches forward to how things should be. Will be.
The most awesome, the most mighty, the high and almost holy, even these burst into song when their time comes. They know their place, and are glad in it.
How much more we mortals, elevated as we are now to sing along without too much embarrassment about our little voices, trembling hands, sad yesterdays.
Perhaps He commanded us, too, into existence so that we could sing like this, eyes moist because we are not yet fully home.