The psalmists had an advantage in praise because of their closer tie to the natural world. David began life outdoors as a shepherd, then spent years hiding in the rocky terrain of Israel. Not surprisingly, a great love, even reverence, for the natural world shines through many of his poems. The psalms present a world that fits together as a whole, with everything upheld by a personal God watching over it.
Wilderness announces to our senses the splendor of an invisible, untamable God. How can we not offer praise to the One who dreamed up porcupines and elk, who splashed bright-green aspen trees across hillsides of gray rock, who transforms the same landscape into a work of art with every blizzard?
The world, in the psalmist’s imagination, cannot contain the delight God inspires. “Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises” (Ps. 98:4). Nature itself joins in: “Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills be joyful together before the Lord” (v.8).
The psalms wonderfully solve the problem of a praise-deficient culture by providing the necessary words. We merely need to enter into those words, letting God use the psalms to realign our inner attitudes.
Lift up your voice and with us sing, Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thou burning sun with golden beam, Thou silver moon
with softer gleam! O praise Him! —St. Francis of Assisi