Are we obedient to praise the Lord?
The writer of the book of Hebrews says we are to “offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name…the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” (Heb. 13:15 NLT, NKJV)
First, do we know what praise means? The combined words in Hebrew mean to extend the hands to revere or worship, make confession, give thanks or glory, bless God in adoration, to celebrate in music, to sing forth praises, and so on. The combined Greek words mean thanks offering, to celebrate God by singing religious songs, to give glory, honor, or applaud, and so on.
But sometimes, I don’t feel like praising, you say.
Yeah. I get it. When your heart is aching, when the world comes crashing down on your shoulders, when storms hit and there isn’t much you can do, it’s difficult to still praise the Lord.
There are some trials and sufferings for which we question giving thanks, but we trust God in those circumstances, relying on Him to remedy them and thanking Him for His working. And that’s when we need to praise Him the most!
So, what usually happens to our thanksgiving and praise when peace disintegrates into chaos, when a husband loses his job and finances are cut off, when a child is in a car wreck, when the repo man stands knocking at the door, when buying Christmas presents is a vague recollection, when pain strikes the chest and there is no insurance, when the roof overhead is in jeopardy of being taken away, or when the cupboard holds no more than the cup?
How lavish, then, is our praise of the Creator?
Our grateful praise and thanks to God is to be fruitful continually, offering “thanks at all times for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eph. 5:20 Received Greek Text) David said, “From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.” (Ps. 113:3 NIV)
David says those “who seek Jehovah shall praise Him.” (Ps. 22:26 Masoretic Text) If we seek the Lord, are we praising Him? And Paul instructs us, “No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:18 TLB) God’s will!
If it is the will of God for us to be thankful in all circumstances, then how disobedient are we?
Paul said he was “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.” (2 Cor. 6:10 NKJV) That is called a sacrifice of praise, for it costs us the sacrifice of our feelings in difficult situations, praising even when we do not feel like it.
I have learned to praise God no matter what. When my eyes spill over with the tears of heartache, when chaos invades my world, when I feel pulled apart by schedules, do I still claim His peace and praise Him? Yes, indeedy! For “I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of His glories and grace.” (Ps. 34:1 TLB) Amen!
If we constantly boo-hoo our circumstances more than praising God, we magnify our circumstances above God’s character and power. We are to “magnify Him with thanksgiving.” (Ps. 69:30b NKJV)
Therefore, do we still raise our hands in praise and worship when in painful despair?
The disciple John said it most succinctly, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30 NKJV)
Are you being obedient to praise the Lord and increase Him in your life?