Psalm 148 (NRSV)
Verse 1Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights!
Verse 2Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his host!
Verse 3Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars!
Verse 4Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!
Verse 5Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created.
Verse 6He established them forever and ever; he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.
Verse 7Praise the Lord from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps,
Verse 8fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind fulfilling his command!
Verse 9Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars!
Verse 10Wild animals and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds!
Verse 11Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth!
Verse 12Young men and women alike, old and young together!
Verse 13Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven.
Verse 14He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his faithful, for the people of Israel who are close to him. Praise the Lord!
The psalmist asserts that creation’s vocation is praise. The praising congregation includes everything: the animate and the inanimate. The closing verses explain why we praise, “He has raised up a horn for his people.” Luke 1:69 picks up this theme and announces, “He has raised up a horn of salvation” (NIV) in the person of Jesus, the incarnate savior.
This metaphor of the “exalted horn” originates in an image of a bull lifting its horns after victory in battle. The raised horn is a biblical symbol of God rescuing the children of Israel and Judah. The Lord “raises up the horn.” God brings triumph to the oppressed, consolation for the grieving, and comfort for the careworn. Followers of Jesus today join in worship with all of creation. God is worthy of praise. During the Christmas season, we celebrate that God embodies the horn of salvation in the Messiah.
Lord, we praise you, for you indeed are the horn of our salvation. Amen.