READING: Psalms 143-145, 1 Corinthians 14:21-40
“I exalt You, my God the King, and praise Your name forever and ever.”
I confess that I’m still learning how to praise God. In my teen years (my first years as a believer), the charismatic movement was gaining steam – and most churches of my denomination stayed far from that movement. We certainly talked about praising God, but our praise was, as I recall, much more head-centered than heart-centered. Praise meant singing a hymn (a good thing), but in almost a stoic way. The goal of worship – most often defined as the musical component of a service – was to get ready for the preaching of the Word. Few people talked about worshiping God with our entire being, lest we move too far in the direction of our charismatic brothers and sisters.
To be honest, we did not worship God with the enthusiasm of the psalmist in Psalm 145. In a way that suggests he did not have enough vocabulary to explain “praising” God, he piled up terms to describe what the people would do: “exalt,” “praise,” “honor,” “declare,” “proclaim,” “speak,” “give testimony,” “sing” (Psalm 145:1-7). Moreover, their praise would not be simply a Lord’s day activity at a given time; rather, they would praise Him “forever and ever” and “every day” (Psalm 145:1-2). One generation would declare God’s greatness to the next (Psalm 145:4). Indeed, the cry of the psalmist was that “every living thing” would “praise His holy name forever and ever” (Psalm 145:21). That makes sense, too, when we consider so much for which God might be praised, including His name, His greatness, His mighty acts, His splendor, His majesty, His wonderful works, His awe-inspiring acts, His great goodness, and His righteousness (Psalm 145:1-7). He is “gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and great in faithful love” (Psalm 145:8); His kingdom is an everlasting one, and his “rule is for all generations” (Psalm 145:13).
Perhaps because I’m older now, or perhaps because I’m less concerned about what others think at my age, I’m learning more about worshiping God with my entire being. Raising my hands no longer frightens me, as long as I find my motives honest and pure. Singing both traditional hymns and contemporary choruses excites me, as both bring honor to Him. I’m realizing the value of personal and corporate praise. At the same time, though, I know that my praises can never adequately suffice to honor Him. His greatness simply is “unsearchable” (Psalm 145:3).
- Just praise God today. All day long. Sing of His goodness.
- Thank God that He allows us to be His children.
PRAYER: “God, I praise You for Your greatness forever and ever.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Psalms 146-147, 1 Corinthians 15:1-28