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           “Praise ye the Lord. Praise ye the Lord from the heavens: praise Him in the heights. Praise ye Him, all His angels: praise ye Him, all His hosts. Praise ye Him, sun and moon: praise Him, all ye stars of light. Praise Him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the Lord: for He commanded, and they were created” (Psalm 148:1-5).

 

            Man was created to love, honor, and praise God the creator. The psalmist stated that He spoke and creation became a reality (Psalm 148:5). John tells us that Jesus was the active agent in fulfilling the plan of creation. He stated, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:1-3). Who deserves man’s praise more than God? The psalmist wrote, “Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth: Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children: Let them praise the name of the Lord: for His name alone is excellent; His glory is above the earth and heaven. He also exalteth the  horn  of His  people, the  praise  of  all  His saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto Him. Praise ye the Lord” (Psalm 148:11-14). 

 

            In 1893 William J. Kirkpatrick put the words of Psalm 148 in the song “Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah.”  The chorus states; “Let them praises give Jehovah, For His name alone is high, And His glory is exalted far above the earth and skies.” Moses wrote, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.  And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day” (Genesis 1:1-5).

 

            In creating the world and all that is in it, God gave man alone freewill.  The rest of creation would be, and do, what God commanded. However, mankind often chooses to disobey God.  Israel often turned her back on the commands of the Lord and turned to false gods. When they had entered the Promised Land Joshua challenged them with the words of God saying, “And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat. Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve Him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods; For the Lord our God, He it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed: And the Lord drove out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the Lord; for He is our God” (Joshua 24:13-18).

 

            Having challenged Israel to make a choice, Joshua then warned, “If ye forsake the Lord, and serve strange gods, then He will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that He hath done you good. And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the Lord. And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the Lord, to serve Him. And they said, We are witnesses. Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the Lord God of Israel” (Joshua 24:20-23). During the lifetime of Joshua, and for many years following his death Israel remained faithful to God (Joshua 24:31). However we are told throughout the Old Testament that they were not always faithful.

 

            Jesus challenges mankind today with words recorded in the gospel of Matthew. He tells mankind to do the Father’s will (Matthew 7:21). His call, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30) still rings out to mankind today (James 1:22). 

 

            Whom do you serve (Matthew 6:24)?

                                                                         -PER