"I will praise God's name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hooves." Psalm 69:30-31
What's your favorite praise song? Some of the songs categorized as praise songs don't really glorify God with thanksgiving. Many songs seem to be more about and for us than God. With lyrics that speak of our need to let things go, our need for courage, or our need for God's love. While all of these things are true, they aren't really "praise" to God.
So what is praise? One definition I found on biblehub.com is: "act of glorifying or extolling the Creator; worship, particularly worship by song, distinction from prayer and other acts of worship" Webster's Unabridged Dictionary defines praise as: "to extol in words or song; to magnify; to glorify on account of perfections or excellent works; to do honor to; to display the excellence of; - applied especially to the Divine Being."
When explaining the difference between praise and thanksgiving to my children I told them we praise God for who He is and we thank God for what He has done. I think that's the problem I have calling some of today's music praise songs; they fit more in the category of songs of thanksgiving.
Psalm 69 is a Messianic Psalm, meaning it points to Jesus. In verses 1-5 we see glimpses of Jesus praying in the garden, pleading for God to "take this cup" from Him. Verses 6-8 tell of the scorn Jesus endured from His own brothers. Verses 9-12 tell of His rage in the temple when He overturned the tables of the money-changers, and of the scorn He endured from the Pharisees. In verses 13-15 we glimpse the burial of Jesus when He was placed in the depths of the earth. Verses 16-18 show a picture of Jesus on the cross when God turned His face from Him. Verse 20 takes us back to the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus sweat drops of blood asking for God to change His plan, all the while His disciples slept and He could find no sympathy. In verse 21 we are back at the cross where the soldiers offered Jesus wine mixed with gall to numb Him from the pain He was about to endure. And finally, verses 22-29 speak of the judgment those opposed to Jesus will one day endure.
These verses are also a picture of the time in David's life when he was running from King Saul. From verse 30 to the end of the Psalm, David's focus turns from prophetic message to praise proclamations.
"I will praise God's name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving."
Do you see my definition of praise here? David isn't praising something God has done, he is praising God's name. God's name is His character, who He is. Some of the names of God for which we can praise Him are:
Abba Father: "Because you are His sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, 'Abba, Father.'" Galatians 4:6
Alpha and Omega: "I am the Alpha and Omega, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." Revelation 1:8
The Ancient of Days: "As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took His seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of His head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire and its wheels were all ablaze." Daniel 7:9
El Elyon, God Most High: "Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, 'Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hands.' Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything." Genesis 14:18-20
Yahweh: The Self-Existent One: "God said to Moses, 'I AM who I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.'" Exodus 3:14
There are so many more characteristics of God for which we can praise Him. (An excellent study on the names of God is Kay Arthur's study titled: Lord, I Want to Know You.)
I love the way the Passion Translation puts verse 31:
"For I know, Yahweh, that my praises mean more to You than all my gifts and sacrifices."
God loves to hear our songs of praise more than anything else. In the Old Testament, the sacrifices were necessary in order to come into God's presence. But Jesus was the final sacrifice, He was put to death for all the sin of all people for all time. When he saw Jesus passing by, John the Baptist exclaimed:
"Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"
And Paul explains:
"God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Corinthians 5:21
God proclaimed through the prophet Hosea:
"For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6
And finally, David cried out:
"Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare Your praises. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise."
It pleases God when we come before Him in humbleness, knowing the depth of our sin against Him, knowing our inability to stand before Him in our own merits; yet praising Him with songs that declare His greatness. He is pleased when we stand before Him, washed in the blood of His Son, covered in His robe of righteousness and offer Him true thanksgiving.
Gathered Manna for Psalm 69:30-31 is:
Praising God for who He is, pleases Him and positions our hearts to offer true thanksgiving.
What are some of God's characteristics for which you offer Him praise? Why not compile a list of these, include Bible verses that speak of these names or characteristics. Keep your list in your Bible or prayer journal to aid in your praise time. How does praising God for who He is position your heart to offer thanksgiving for what He has done?
Praying we all learn true praise and offer it to our Lord often as we thank Him for what He has done.
Until next time keep gathering manna, growing deeper, and gaining intimacy!
God bless and keep you,