There are five books of songs in the Bible, combined into one book called the Psalms. I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed how they’re organized but the books are not evenly divided according to chapters. Opinions vary as to why there are five. Some think it mimics the first five books of the Old Testament–the Torah. One thing we do know is how each of the books ends.
Book One (Psalms 1-41) ends with this verse: Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen.
Book Two (Psalms 42-72) ends with these verses: Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things. Blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and Amen! The prayers of David, the son of Jesse, are ended.
Book Three (Psalms 73-89) ends with this verse: Blessed be the Lord forever! Amen and Amen.
Book Four (Psalms 74-106) ends with this verse: Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! And let all the people say, “Amen! Praise the Lord!”
The last verse of Psalms, and of course the end of the 5th book, is this: Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
The theme is obvious: Bless the Lord! Praise the Lord! These days, as in the days of the writers of the Psalms, there are many opportunities to complain, many reasons to whine, multiple situations that can easily cause frustration. My challenge to you today: praise the Lord! Bless the Lord!
Fanny Crosby (1839-1908) had reason to grumble. Blind at the age of six weeks, Crosby grew up in a world unaccustomed to caring for the blind. She began writing hymns as a six-year-old, and became a teacher at the New York Institute of the Blind at the age of 22. One of her most famous hymns reiterates the thrust of the Psalms:
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine, O what a foretaste of glory divine…She goes on to write. This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long. This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long.
If Fanny Crosby can praise the Lord, and if each book of the Psalms ends with praising the Lord, then we should (must!) too.