Let Everything Praise the LORD
"Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness? Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!” (Psalm 150, ESV)
Many people, including believers, talk about praising God. In reality, very few people actually accomplish it. I think many fail to actually praise God due to ignorance than for any other reason.
There seems be at least three (3) probabilities that hinder real or true praise to God. It is my personal belief that honest and sincere believers truly desire to praise God. I do not believe that they enter into or become trapped by one of these three (3) probabilities or realities purposefully. I believe we do not edify or educate new believers about what it means to praise God. As new believers are allowed to remain with bad habits, those bad habits continue to grow.
First – believers have developed a sort of language that is all their own. Some have come to call it “Christianeese.” We acquire or develop pet words or phrases that we repeat easily and almost mindlessly.
As an example, when we realize a prayer has been answered, or a “good” thing has happened to us, or even when we hear good things from the Word of God our tendency is to say, “Praise God.” This phrase is sometimes accompanied by a “Hallelujah” or two or maybe a “Praise be to God," or "Praise the Lord!
We even write songs or sing hymns either commanding or cheering us on to praise God. Hymns such as “Praise Him, Praise Him” or “Praise Ye the Lord” and many choruses utilize those exact words. Many people come to believe that if they say, shout, or sing “Praise the Lord” or “Praise God” that they have actually given praise to our glorious and majestic God.
A number of Psalms begin with the command to Praise God – such as 111, 112, 113, 117, 135, 146, 147, 148, 149, and 150 (just to mention a few) Many other Psalms are riddled from beginning to end with the command to praise God.
Simply saying the words, “Praise God,” especially from rote habit or mindless repetition does not qualify.
Second – believers have a tendency to miss the actual meaning of the command to praise God. They do this when their “praise” is more about them and what they did than about the works of God. Believers have a tendency to begin by saying “Praise God,” He did this and I was able to this, that, and the other thing. Unfortunately many times praise for God becomes a praise of us.
For example, we might begin praising God for an opportunity to share the gospel, but our sharing becomes an accounting of what we thought, said, or did. Our words shift from what God did, or opened, or worked, or caused, or made happen, to “…and then I said this, or I thought of this, or I was able to do this…” We need to be careful when we desire to offer praise to God that it does not end up as a “boasting session” on ourselves.
Third – we fail to understand exactly what praise really or of what it consist. What actually constitutes “praise” to or of God? What is missing from our praise?
Hopefully, I can pick this up and somewhat adequately answer this question in part two of our discussion. Join us tomorrow, where, Lord willing, I hope to conclude this two part article on “Preventing the Problems and Pitfalls of Praise.”