135. Sing Praise to the LORD God Almighty

1 Sing praise to the LORD God Almighty,
proclaim all his glory abroad.
O praise him, you servants appointed
to stand in the house of our God.

2 Give praise to the LORD for his goodness;
'tis pleasant his praises to sing.
His people, his chosen and precious,
your praises with gratitude bring.

3 I know that the LORD is almighty;
supreme in dominion is he,
performing his will and good pleasure
in heaven, on the earth, in the sea.

4 His hand guides the clouds in their courses;
the lightning flames forth at his will.
The wind and the rain he releases
his sovereign designs to fulfill.

5 To ransom his people from bondage,
great wonders and signs he displayed.
He smote all the firstborn of Egypt,
till Pharaoh gave in and obeyed.

6 Great nations and kings that opposed him
were smitten by God's mighty hand.
Their riches he gave to his people;
he made them inherit the land.

7 The name of the LORD stands forever,
through all generations renowned.
The LORD brings relief to his people;
his mercies forever abound.

8 The idols of gold and of silver
can speak not nor listen nor see.
Their makers shall also be helpless;
like them shall their worshipers be.

9 Praise God, every son, every daughter;
in worship your gladness proclaim.
His servants, and all you who fear him,
sing praise to his glorious name.

Text Information
First Line: Sing praise to the LORD God Almighty
Title: Sing Praise to the LORD God Almighty
Meter: 98 98
Scripture: Psalm 135
Topic: Biblical Names & Places: Egypt; Biblical Names & Places: Pharaoh; King, God/Christ as
Source: Psalter, 1912, alt.
Language: English
Tune Information
Name: JANET
Composer: George C. Stebbins, 1846-1945
Meter: 98 98
Key: A♭ Major


Text Information:

Praise of the LORD as Creator and Redeemer.

Scripture References:
st. l =vv. 1-2
st. 2 = vv. 3-4
st. 3 = vv. 5-6
st. 4 = v. 7
st. 5 = vv. 8-9
st. 6=vv. 10-12
st. 7 = vv. 13-14
st. 8 = vv. 15-18
st. 9 = vv. 19-21

In Jewish tradition, Psalms 135 and 136 served as an appendage to the "Songs of Ascents." The two psalms are also noteworthy for their recounting of Israel's history (see also 78,105, and 106).
In this post-exilic hymn, the psalmist first exhorts the temple personnel: Praise God; "proclaim all his glory abroad" (st. 1), for God, in his goodness, has chosen Israel to be his people (st. 2). Praise God as the Creator and as the King of creation (st. 3-4); praise the LORD for redeeming Israel and for giving them the promised land (st. 5-6). Praise God, who continues to sustain Israel (st. 7). The idols made by human hands are powerless, and so "shall their worshipers be" (st. 8). Praise God, all Israel and all you who fear the LORD; "sing praise to his glorious name" (st. 9).

Thus all believers are urged to praise the LORD as the one true God: the great Maker and Ruler of all creation who proves that all other gods are powerless, and the great Redeemer who overwhelmed Egypt and destroyed many kingdoms to give Israel the promised land. The combination of these two themes is common throughout the psalms; together they constitute the mighty acts by which the LORD became Israel's God. The (altered) versification is from the 1912 Psalter. Another setting of Psalm 135 is at 181.

Liturgical Use:
The entire psalm is appropriate to services focusing on Israel's history. A selection of stanzas (for example, 1-4 and 9) has more general use at the beginning of worship.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

JANET, by George C. Stebbins (PHH 63), is thought to have been composed for this psalm and was first published in the 1912 Psalter Written in Stebbins's characteristic gospel-hymn style, JANET is a simple tune with simple harmonization but with a strong rhythmic effect. Sing it in parts and in alternating groups for stanzas 3 through 8, and have everyone sing stanzas 1, 2, and 9. The bulk of this psalm is narration of salvation history–don't rush the narrative! Stanzas 1-2 and 9 frame the narrative with choral calls to praise.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook


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