Thursday, February 01, 2007

Praise Him! - Psalm 150:1

Just Do It!

God deserves all of our praise. We should exalt Him alone. Our actions, word, and even thoughts should glorify Him. Do you agree? Do you give Him all of your praise? If so, way to go! If not, why?

One of my reference materials, The Treasury of David, writes that God should be our only object of adoration. If we give any honor intended for Him to another, it is treason. If we don’t honor Him, we have robbed Him.

Do you feel convicted? I certainly do. Although I don’t believe that humans are physically capable of giving God all of the praise that He deserves, to think of this in terms of “treason” and “robbery” leads me to believe that each of us is ultimately responsible for praising Him!

To what, besides God, are you giving your praise?

We are going to refocus our attention over the next few weeks. We will begin looking for God in unusual places and celebrating Him in unique ways. It is my prayer that this will draw us closer to Him and enhance our relationship with our Heavenly Father. Then we will be better equipped to send our praise where it belongs – directed toward God, the only deserving recipient of our worship!

The word “praise” appears in 293 verses of the NIV Bible. Let’s take a look at a few of those verses. Look up the following verses of scripture for a look at who has praised God and for what. (Genesis 24:27, Genesis 29:35, Exodus 18:10, Ruth 4:14, 1 Samuel 25:32, 1 Kings 1:48, 1 Kings 5:7)

And this isn’t even the tip of the iceberg! The Bible records incidents of God being praised for a variety of things. Have you praised Him lately for any of the following? (your children, safe travel, keeping you from doing evil, your redemption, wisdom in someone powerful, seeing God work mightily in someone, deliverance from bad circumstances)

We should be praising Him for everything. Yes, everything. During the writing of this study, three members of my family and a handful of co-workers passed away within a period of six months! There were certainly tears shed out of pain, but I also had to praise God for ending suffering, restoring wholeness and bringing freedom to caregivers. Even though the circumstances hurt me and others, I had to praise Him for doing what was ultimately best. Even if I didn’t agree right at the moment.

Here, There and Everywhere

Where Should I praise God? Only in church? Only on Sunday? Only when the choir does? What do you think? Where do God’s praises belong?

According to Psalm 150:1, one of the places where we should be praising God is in His sanctuary. When I hear the word “sanctuary,” I think of a church building. Before Christ, the temple was separated into areas where women were allowed, others where gentiles were permitted, still other vicinities where Jews could go, and the Holy Place was only accessible to priests! They would attend to the glowing lamps; display the bread of the presence and light incense before the Lord. Exodus 28:35 says that Aaron even had to wear bells on his robes to announce his entry into the Holy Place so he wouldn’t die.

What an awesome responsibility the priest had. And, guess what? We are His priests, now. Read Revelation 1:5b-6.

Jesus made us to be priests to serve God. Since we have access to the sanctuary as His priests, we certainly can worship Him there, but we should know that the term “sanctuary” refers to more than just a building. Look up the word. What else is meant by “sanctuary?”

I learned that a sanctuary is also a refuge, a safe place. To a believer, wherever God is found is a safe place. Since God lives in us, I guess that means everywhere we are is a sanctuary. So to comply with the instruction in verse 1 to praise Him in His sanctuary, where should we be praising God? Unscramble the letters below. (Hint: “Savoir-faire is…”)

VWEERRHEEY

There is another nuance in this verse with regard to the use of the word sanctuary. The actual transliteration of the Hebrew word for sanctuary is “qodesh.” If you look this up in the Bible Study Tools at crosswalk.com, you will find that this means apartness, holiness, sacredness, separateness. So, the psalmist was referring to God’s holiness rather than a point on the map. The sanctuary is not a place, but an aspect of God’s character.

With this in mind, what is meant by this part of Psalm 150:1 (“…Praise God in His sanctuary…”)?

When we praise Him in His sanctuary, we are acknowledging His uniqueness, His holiness, His superiority and glory. We are recognizing how wonderful and special He is. Hallelujah!

We are also instructed to praise Him in His mighty heavens. The verse means exactly what it says in this case: heaven. But I must ask myself about the use of the word “mighty.” In this instance, I feel the word alludes to the size of heaven, not necessarily its power. I believe that heaven is enormous. “Ginormous” for you Elf fans. Personally, I can’t wait to see the place!

I sometimes close my eyes and try to picture the vision of the new Jerusalem that the apostle John recorded for us in Revelation 21. Read verses 10-21 in your Bible. The New American Standard version records the measurement in verse 16 for the length, width and height of the city as 1500 miles and the measurement in verse 17 as 72 yards for the thickness of the wall. What do you imagine it to look like?

Can you imagine a city that is roughly half the length of the United States? A city! That’s huge! And that’s the place that Jesus is preparing for us. While our Savior is hard at work and waiting for our Father to tell Him it’s time to go pick up the kids (that’s us! Hurray!!!), the angels praise Him continually in His mighty heavens. Eventually, the old heaven and earth will pass away and we will praise Him in the new Jerusalem. Can you say, “Hallelujah!”

With Others and Alone

According to the Treasury of David, we are instructed to “Praise Him in the assembly of the saints. Praise Him in the silence of the heart.” I think this is pretty self-explanatory. What does Hebrews 10:25 say? Go ahead. Look it up.

For many years I told myself that my Christian walk was okay. When, in fact, it was mediocre at best. I wasn’t going to church on a regular basis. I wasn’t fellowshipping with other Christians. I had no one to hold me accountable. The only thing I can honestly say is that God Himself saved me. The only thing in my life that was right was my hunger for the Word! He gave me a voracious appetite to read the Bible.

I spent a lot of time in the Word at that time in my life. Reading the Bible eventually led me to pray. Not a lot, mind you. You see, God wanted to speak to me. That’s why He gave me a desire to read the Bible. And it wasn’t anything so dramatic as me being angry with Him that I didn’t speak to Him through prayer very often. I just didn’t recognize back then that, in order to really communicate, I should’ve been speaking to Him as well. I didn’t see what I was doing as getting to know Him. I really didn’t know why I wanted to read the Bible. It was just something I had to do.

So, I had the ‘silence of the heart’ part down cold! I was always basically a keep-to-myself kind of gal, anyway. I was a very shy child. My family tried many ways to pull me out of my shell. When company would come over, I would sing for them or “read” my favorite book Captain Kitty. I didn’t actually read the book. It had been read to me so many times, I had memorized it – including when to turn the pages! My Mom took me to McDonald’s once and told me she would only buy me a Big Mac if I sang the “two all-beef patties…” song to the cashier. Nothing worked.

I always loved to sing, so I became involved in choir throughout all of my school years. It naturally evolved into auditioning for the musical plays in high school. So I was able to come out of my shell onstage. That love of music enabled me to really engage in praise at church. The love of theater helped me to be involved in creative ministry, also a form of worship. So it didn’t require much adjustment to praise Him in church with others.

How about you? What’s your story? Think about it. How did you come to the point where you are today? Are you immersed in your church body? Could you be more involved? How? Check with the leadership at your church to see where you may be able to help.

If you’d like a challenge, I suggest you memorize Psalm 150:1

Recommendations for Praise

Music: John Elefante, Travis Cottrell
Devotions: Rise and Shine: A Devotional by Liz Curtis Higgs

That’s Praise?

Keeping God in mind, do one or more of the following as an act of praising Him. Or come up with ideas of your own. What has the Lord taught you from the experience? (Do someone else’s chore, Read to your kids before bed, Send a note of encouragement to someone, Go out of your way to help someone at work, Invite someone home for dinner, Go out with a friend

No comments: