Because of William J. Kirkpatrick’s composition of the music and use of Psalm 148 as the lyrics, the song “Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah!” probably has made this psalm the most recognizable and remembered of the Psalter’s “Hallelujah Chorus” (Psalms 146-150).
The psalm has two distinct sections—the call for exuberant praise of God from the heavens (vv. 1-6) and the call for like praise of God from the earth (vv. 7-14).
Biblically speaking, there are three spheres that are identified as heaven—the place where birds fly (i.e. the earth’s atmosphere), the place where the sun, moon and stars call home (i.e. space and outer space), and the place where God resides and to which Jesus went when He ascended from earth (i.e. the “third heaven” of 2 Corinthians 12:2). The composer summons each of these heavenly realms and instructs them to render the praise that Jehovah is due.
“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 stars of light! Praise Him, you heavens of heavens and you waters above the heavens!” (vv. 1-4).
The rationale for such praise from the heavens is given in verses 5 and 6—” Let them praise the name of the Lord, for He commanded, and they were created. He also established them forever and ever; He made a decree which shall not pass away.”
Creatures and creations within and beyond the earth’s gravitational pull owe a debt of profuse praise to the utterly praiseworthy Jehovah. The heights with all its angels and hosts do. The sun, moon, and stars do. The waters above the heavens do.