Praise. What is it? Dictionary.com defines praise as:
-to express approval or admiration of; commend; extol
-to offer grateful homage to (God or a deity), as in words or song
We praise many things and people in our lives by expressing approval of them or admiring them. On occasion we may even verbally commend or extol a person for something they have done. But this praise is different from what our praise for God should be.
Our praise of God stems from our deep appreciation of WHO He is. To praise God means we publicly acknowledge His worth. In order to do this we must first know two things. We must know who God is and know His worth in our lives.
Who is God? In order to answer this question we must look into the Bible. I love the thought that the Bible is God's love letter to us. When my husband and I first met we were the proverbial "just friends" for a long time. Because we met in college and we lived in different states we communicated through...*gasp*...LETTERS! Yes. Snail mail letters! We wrote each other almost weekly for about two years. I recently pulled out those old letters and read through some. As I looked at the dates on each one I could see the progression of our relationship from "just friends" to something deeper. Each letter became more and more personal and less about trivial things.
That's how the Bible should be for us. As we read it, allowing God's Spirit to speak through it, God becomes more and more personal to us. Suddenly we are seeing Him as Creator, as Provider, as Mighty Warrior, as Everlasting, as Prince of Peace, as Savior.
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth..." Genesis 1:1
"Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through Him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth." Colossians 1:15-16a
"Do not lay a hand on the boy," God said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know you fear God, because you have not withheld you son, your only son, from Me." Abraham looked and there in the thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place Jehovah-Jireh, The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided." Genesis 22:12-14
"And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others." 2 Corinthians 9:8
"He said: 'Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: "Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not your, but God's.'" 2 Chronicles 20:15
"But the Lord stands beside me like a mighty warrior. Before Him my persecutors will stumble. They cannot defeat me. They will fail and be thoroughly humiliated. Their dishonor will never be forgotten." Jeremiah 20:11
"Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, Who lives from everlasting to everlasting! Let all the people say, 'Amen!'" Psalm 106:48
"But the Lord, He is the only True God. He is the Living God and the Everlasting King! The whole earth trembles at His anger. The nations cannot stand up to His wrath." Jeremiah 10:10
Prince of Peace:
"For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on His shoulders. And He will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6
"Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7
"For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.." John 3:16
"For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was paid with the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God." 1 Peter 1:18-19
The Bible contains so much more about the WHO of God, and when we know Him personally, intimately, we realize no matter what happens in our lives He is always faithful. Knowledge of WHO God is helps us praise Him in all circumstances.
Passionately praising God in all of life's circumstances shows the world His character can be trusted.
The second thing we must know in order to correctly praise God is the knowing of His worth in our lives. Why is God worthy? To know God is to know His worth.
First, God is worthy because He is our Creator, He made every person who has ever lived.
"For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 138: 13-14
Not only did God create every human being, but He is worthy because He desires a relationship with us all.
"But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:8-9
Second, God is worthy because He provides all we need.
"And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19
God provides not only our physical needs but He provides all we need spiritually as well.
"But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ."
1 Corinthians 15:57
Third, God is worthy because He is our Mighty Warrior, our Defender against evil.
"O Sovereign Lord, the strong one who rescued me, you protected me on the day of battle." Psalm 140:7
"Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, 'I will take revenge; I will pay them back,' says the Lord." Romans 12:19:
Fourth, God is worthy because He is Everlasting. His energy is everlasting, never growing faint.
"Have you not heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of His understanding." Isaiah 40:28
His love and faithfulness are everlasting.
"For His unfailing love for us is powerful; the Lord's faithfulness endures forever. Praise the Lord!" Psalm 117:2
Fifth, God is worthy because He is our Prince of Peace. With Christ as our peace we do not need to be worried, troubled, or afraid in this world no matter what may happen.
"I am leaving you with a gift - peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid." John 14:27
"Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you His peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all." 2 Thessalonians 3:16
Finally, God is worthy because He is our Savior, the One Who rescues and redeems us.
"I will sacrifice a voluntary offering to You; I will praise Your name, O Lord, for it is good. For You have rescued me from my troubles and helped me to triumph over my enemies."
"Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has visited and redeemed His people."
When we know God's worth in our lives we can praise Him through all of life's ups and downs..
Passionately praising God in our trials and triumphs shows the world God's worth in ways that can draw them into a personal relationship with Him.
Our praise is a sacrifice we make to God as we grow to know Him better and better because we realize His worth. It is our gift to Him for all He has done for us. The book of Psalms is a wonderful resource to use as we seek to praise God. This week I challenge you to read a Psalm a day and reflect on what God has done for you. As you reflect, praise Him, and as you praise Him show the world His worth in your life by publicly pronouncing Him as the One who created you, who fights for you, who is everlastingly faithful in His love for you, who gives you peace, and especially as the One who has saved you from a life of sin and death! And come back next week as we learn more about making pronouncements of God's sovereignty in our lives!
See you then!
God bless and keep you,
Here are some suggestions for your daily Psalm reading!