Praise ye the Lord!

In my previous post, I talked about thanksgiving and being grateful to God. As Christians, our lives are to be characterized by gratitude to God, highlighted by the command in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to “give thanks in all circumstances.” We are never removed from the things that the Lord is constantly doing for us, and for this reason, we are to show outward expressions of this thanksgiving.

Two ways, in particular, stand out when it comes to putting one’s thanksgiving on display: praise and service. Hebrews 13:15-16 highlights both of these aspects, stating, “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” In this post, I would like to highlight praise as an outward expression of thanksgiving to God.

Well, one might ask, what exactly is praise? As Christians, we certainly have some working knowledge of what praise is because, in fact, we find ourselves doing it almost everyday. Aside from God, you may praise your children for doing something good, a singer for a fine performance, or even yourself for a job well done. Praise, then, is defined as follows: “to commend; to applaud; to express approval or admiration of; to extol in words or in song; to magnify; to glorify.” Our praise is either directed towards God or to others in reference to God, but it is a detectable display of our appreciation.

Mainly, especially as it pertains to thanksgiving, we may think of praising God for something he has done. This is not wrong to do—it is actually more than appropriate to honor God for what he has performed in your life. Let us consider, however, that God, regardless of what he has done, is worthy to be praised simply for who he is. Psalm 145:3 resounds, “Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.”

God is so awesome that despite the fact that he is worthy of praise for simply being God, he actually gives us a reason to praise him. For the Israelites, God performed numerous wonders on their behalf to declare himself praiseworthy. One of the most notable of these events is the Passover. Of course, the Passover accounts the last devastating plague (the death of the first-born son) that inflicted the Egyptians before pharaoh permitted the Israelites to leave. The Israelites were instructed to place the blood of an innocent lamb on the door-post of their homes so that the death angel would bypass them.

Israel is given this command in Exodus 12:14: “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance.” This passage highlights giving our praise to God, as it denotes that the celebration be a “festival to the Lord.” Verses 26 and 27 of the same chapter denote directing praise to others in reference to God, stating:

“And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.’”

The Israelites are commanded to tell their children of the goodness of God, expressing their thankfulness to God for their deliverance from Egypt. Doing so, Israel fulfills the decree in Psalm 145:4 that, “One generation will commend (praise) your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts.”

Probably the archetype for praise is the anointed psalmist, King David. One of the most notable instances of praise is found in 2 Samuel 6. Following the defeat of the Philistine army and recovery of the Ark of the Covenant (representing the glory of God), the ark makes a grand entrance back into Jerusalem. Excited by the ark’s return, “David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the Lord with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets” (2 Sam. 6:14-15). We learn from verse 20 that David wanted to show his appreciation so much that he actually disrobed while dancing!

Even today, Christians have a reason to be just as expressive as David. 1 Peter 2:9 gives us this reason, declaring, “But you are a chosen people, a royal generation, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” The Lord has literally designated for himself a people who will declare his praises. What better reason to praise God than to be snatched from a path of destruction and placed on the path that leads to life (Matthew 7:13-14)!

So today, let Psalm 100:4-5 be the song of your heart: “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

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~ by christianballenger on May 11, 2011.

2 Responses to “Praise ye the Lord!”

  1. Wonderful blog. Thank you so much, indeed. I have certainly bookmarked and will read all your previous blogs and look forward to future ones.

    Sincerely,

    Tosca (kalnok on Twitter).

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