Have you ever just wanted to haul off and shout or sing – as loud as you can – because you were so happy about something?
A grandchild prompts thanksgiving and praise to our great God for the blessing of children.
Have you ever just jumped for joy – for me, physical jumping is definitely out of the question, but inside I can jump really high!
The Ruby Throated Hummingbird has no problem soaring, hovering, flying or reflecting God’s glorious beauty.
There is infinite beauty in the profusion and detail of azalea blooms.
Has praise for your Lord ever just erupted and spilled over into your countenance and conversation after seeing God’s majesty in His creation?
Yosemite National Park showing God’s majesty and power in His creation.
Mt. Denali [formerly Mt. McKinley] in Denali National Park, Alaska evidencing God’s glory in creation.
If not, why not?
Praise for the Lord is scriptural and is a natural outpouring of thankfulness for the working of God in our lives.
In Exodus 14 we read of the escape of the Israelites from the hand of the Egyptians as they crossed the Red Sea on dry land. In Exodus 15, we read the song of Moses as he and the people of Israel praised the Lord for their deliverance.
Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the LORD, saying, “I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. … Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?” – Exodus 15:1-2, 11
In 2 Samuel 22, King David sings a song of thanks to the Lord for delivery from his enemies and from the hand of Saul.
And David spoke to the LORD the words of this song on the day when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said, “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence. … For this I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations, and sing praises to your name. ” 2 Samuel 22:1-3, 50
When David brought the ark to Jerusalem, he appointed the singers to praise the Lord.
“Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!” 1 Chronicles 16:6-11
The prophet Isaiah says:
“O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure.” Isaiah 25:1
The writer of Proverbs says:
An evil man is ensnared in his transgression, but a righteous man sings and rejoices. Proverbs 29:6
Praise and singing is not just for Old Testament folks. In the New Testament, we remember Paul and Silas being in prison for preaching about Jesus. In Acts 16:25 we read:
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.
Imagine, singing hymns to God after being beaten and thrown into prison. Not only were they praying and singing, they were singing so loud that the other prisoners could listen to them. They were not gloomy guys bemoaning the wrongfulness of their imprisonment. They were not complaining to God, arguing that this unjust imprisonment should not have come when they were obeying the command to carry the gospel to others. No — they were rejoicing – praying and singing to the very God who allowed them to be imprisoned.
And, the story continues. The conclusion of this story is that the jailer became free from his sins. The keeper of the prison asked what he should do to be saved and Paul and Silas told him to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul and Silas were released from jail and the jailer attended to the wounds of the former prisoners/now brothers in Christ.
How could Paul and Silas rejoice in those circumstances? Can we praise God when things are dark and circumstances are far from happy?
I suggest that we can praise God in any and all circumstances. Paul and Silas had a correct understanding of who they were in contrast to who God is. We, as sinners, cannot come into God’s presence. A holy God cannot even look on sin. Our very best is as filthy rags before God. We have absolutely nothing that we can offer to Him to seek His acceptance.
But, we have been redeemed by Jesus’ atoning death and resurrection. And this redemption is all about His grace and mercy, not one iota about how good we are. We have experienced the love of God in a way that the heavenly beings cannot imagine. Jesus, the spotless Son of God, paid the price for my sin – for all of it – and has claimed me as His, bringing me into the family of God: granting me access to God through Jesus righteousness, not my own.
Beloved, this is good news and it transcends any negative circumstance that we encounter in this world. We should fall at the feet of our Lord and thank Him nonstop for His grace and mercy, for His forgiveness and cleansing, for His love and atoning sacrifice on our behalf, for our adoption into the family of God.
Praise and thanksgiving are inexorably connected. Thanksgiving flows directly into praise and there can be no heartfelt praise of the Lord if we are not thankful to Him.
I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. Psalm 69:30
By the way, no audition is necessary before you can sing in praise to our God! The quality of your voice is completely irrelevant, but the condition of your heart is paramount!
- Have you lifted up your voice in a song of praise to your Savior?
- Have you expressed your thanks to the Lord for the gift of today?
- Have you praised Him for His loving kindness and longsuffering toward you?
- Have you praised Him for His compassion and forgiveness?
- Have you praised Him for His mercy and His grace?
- Have you expressed your love to Him by obedience to His commands?
- Have you worshiped the Lord today?
If not, why not?
The Centurymen is a group of over 100 musicians who serve in the music ministry of various churches and who praise the Lord in song. As you think of praise and thanksgiving, listen to the Centurymen sing Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee. I pray you will be blessed by it and that praise to the Lord would come to your lips and heart.
Father, thank you for your Spirit that enables me to give you praise, honor and worship. Thank you for your Son who provided the atoning sacrifice for me so that I can be cleansed of my sin and can come into your presence through prayer, reading your Word and worship. Forgive me when I have taken your blessings for granted, or when I have thought that I was entitled to your blessings. Forgive me when I have focused on outward circumstances rather than on your steadfast love and overwhelming mercy and grace. Forgive me, Father, when I have ignored your Spirit and when I have sinned in thought and deed. May my praise and worship be glorifying to you.