Praise the LORD.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Each week millions of Christians throughout the world gather together in order to offer praise to God. Moreover, we praise God in our private devotions and, in many cases, throughout the day as we celebrate God’s goodness to us. I figure that I have spent almost a half year of my waking life speaking or singing praise to God.
Why? Why is it so important to praise the Lord? Why should we do it?
The most obvious answer points to the beginning of Psalm 150: “Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 150:1). The Hebrew of this verse is halelu yah, which we know as the word Hallelujah. This is a plural imperative that would be rendered in Texan-ese as “All y’all praise the Lord.” Scripture commands us to praise God, so we should do it.
Yet Psalm 150 provides more than simply a command to praise the Lord. The second verse gives us a partial rationale for our praise: “Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness” (Psalm 150:2). First of all, we praise God for what he has done, for his deeds of power. These deeds of power would include both creation and salvation in all of their multifaceted dimensions. Second we praise God not for what he has done but for who he is, for his extraordinary character, for his “surpassing greatness.” God’s works, captured in Scripture and experienced in our world today, reveal God’s unmatched greatness.
As Christians, we believe that God’s mightiest work is found in Jesus Christ. In Jesus, God became human, making himself known to us, living among us in an ordinary way, teaching us about his kingdom, bearing our sin on the cross, and breaking the power of death through the resurrection. In Jesus we glimpse God’s surprising and unequaled greatness. We see that God’s greatness includes his willingness to become human, to serve, to suffer, and to die.
The more we reflect on God, on his great works and his unparalleled greatness, the more we will be inspired to praise him, and the more our praise will be glorifying to God because it will be filled with the truth of what he has done and who he is.
Something to Think About:
What helps you to praise the Lord?
What hinders your praise?
How might you praise the Lord today?
Something to Do:
Set aside several minutes to reflect on your experience of God’s goodness and greatness. As you reflect, offer praise and thanks to God.
Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven;
To His feet thy tribute bring.
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Evermore His praises sing:
Praise the everlasting King.
Praise Him for His grace and favor
To our fathers in distress.
Praise Him still the same as ever,
Slow to chide, and swift to bless.
Glorious in His faithfulness.
Fatherlike He tends and spares us;
Well our feeble frame He knows.
In His hands He gently bears us,
Rescues us from all our foes.
Widely yet His mercy flows.
Angels, help us to adore Him;
Ye behold Him face to face;
Sun and moon, bow down before Him,
Dwellers all in time and space.
Praise with us the God of grace. Amen.
“Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven,” by Henry F. Lyte, 1834. Public domain.