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Praise is a unique action. One which gives and receives. That provides and takes.
Praise is a way to honor God through an outpouring of love and awe; and yet, as we give praise to God, we welcome His blessings—above all that we could possibly ask or think!
Come along as we examine the mystery of praise in the Bible!
What is Praise?
Praise is an outpouring. Through it, we not only give the Lord the honor He is due and the righteous fear of the Lord held within us… but we pour out of love and devotion.
It is a sweet outpouring. One that God loves!
Yet, when we praise God, it does more than even this…
In praise there is breakthrough. Overcoming. Peace. Hope. Wholeness. Joy. Perfect love. And so many other wonderful things. Because, as we pour out to God, we are poured back into; until we overflow, filled with Him.
By giving praise in our heart, in our words, in our actions, in our songs… we both give and receive, in God’s perfect design.
So, exactly what is praise?
That is an equally simple and complex question; as praise is both quiet and bold, soft and firm, deliberate and spontaneous. Praise goes beyond what we can say in the natural…
It is something that every creation of God’s does automatically; from plants, to rocks, to people…
“Let the trees of the forest sing, let them sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth.”
—1 Chronicles 16:33 (NIV)
“Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.”
—Psalm 96:12 (NIV)
“Sing for joy, you heavens, for the Lord has done this; shout aloud, you earth beneath. Burst into song, you mountains, you forests and all your trees…”
—Isaiah 44:23 (NIV)
And yet, it is something that we who are made in God’s image can choose to do…
“Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.”
—Psalm 27:6 (NIV)
Certainly, every person—knowingly or unknowingly—has praised God. In their mother’s womb, in their admiration of someone or something God created, in their best days. For if the plants sing to the Lord, surely we, to whom God gave voice, give God praise; but intentional praise is needed too.
A moment of admiration of His works—the praise that it brings—is one thing. But choosing to give the Lord the praise He is due when things are not going the way we want, choosing to give Him praise when things are going how we want… that is simultaneously precious and powerful.
So, what can we say of praise?
Praise is a form of worship.
Praise is a token of love.
Praise is a way of honoring.
Praise is a recognition of sovereignty.
Praise is a wise use of time.
Praise is a true, pure acceptance of what God has poured out.
Praise is a hope.
Praise is a choice of restoration.
Praise is a healer.
Praise is a weapon of overcoming.
Praise is a divine encounter.
Praise is a childlike awe.
Praise is a releaser of victory.
Praise is a faith renewal.
Praise is a ‘yes’ to God.
Praise is a reminder of Who is on the Throne.
On and on we could list the things that praise is!
Be it quietly in our hearts, or loudly in song… praising God is a releaser of good things. To God, and to us.
Praise in the Word
When discussing anything connected with God, it certainly helps to dive into the Word. After all, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us—God IS the Word (see John 1:1 & 1:14)!
So, when discussing praise—which directly connects to God—we ought to look into God’s Word to better know and understand how praise relates to God, and us.
“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!”
First, it is important to know that ‘praise’ is included in God’s Word hundreds of times in nearly every version of Scripture. God VALUES praise! It is a part of Heaven and earth’s reaction and response to God. It is a part of our love-song to our Creator. And God responds to it… giving us love, peace, hope, and so many other wonderful things!
Yet, praise is not for what we can get, but what we can give; the goodness and mercy and love of God are the reasons why He gifts us with good things when we are giving Him His due praise.
God is due every ounce of praise!
Still, how does God view praise? We know that He values it, and blesses us in response… but are there any biblical examples that can help us understand His reaction?
God’s view of praise can be seen in His relationship with David…
David did not have a lot of things going for him in the natural growing up… he was not overly appreciated by his family; he was alone working as a shepherd much of the time… but he used his time and gifts well. For David would praise God! David was a boy and man of praise!
Certainly, God loved David’s faith, his courage, his faithfulness… but God especially loved David’s praise. God saw David’s praise, heard it, and was touched.
David was not perfect—only God can be—yet David knew the importance of praise. And God decided—partially because of this—that it was David who would be the next king. It was David who would father other kings. It was David whom God would use as part of our Savior’s lineage!
“Then David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet.”
—2 Samuel 6:14-15 (NIV)
David actually was, in man’s opinion… ‘too much’ of a man of praise. David’s wife Michal, for instance, certainly did not approve when David danced before the Lord… but GOD APPROVED. God loved it!
David knew the importance of praise. So much so, that of the psalms David wrote, a large portion of them speak of praise.
“…I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.”
—Psalm 7:17 (NIV)
Yet, David did not write all of the psalms in the Book of Psalms… David’s son Solomon and others authored portions of that book, and still they all realized the importance of praise. They understood God’s desire for relationship, the honor and glory due Him… and how these can find release in praise!
“From birth I have relied on you;
you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.
I will ever praise you.
I have become a sign to many;
you are my strong refuge.
My mouth is filled with your praise,
declaring your splendor all day long.”
—Psalm 71:6-8 (NIV)
“Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord, my soul.
I will praise the Lord all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.”
—Psalm 146:1-2 (NIV)
Over and over again in the book of Psalms and beyond, we are told of the importance of praise. We are instructed to praise the Lord.
In praising God, He is honored and we are reminded that HE is the One who is in control. HE is the One who cares for us and provides for us.
It is in Him that we are able to prosper and accomplish what He desires. HE is the One who deserves all of the glory, and honor… and praise!
“All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.
—Revelation 7:11-12 (NIV)
We were made to praise the Lord! We were created as a household of praise!
It is time to praise the Lord! In every situation. In every moment. It is time to praise the Lord!
“I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.”
—Psalm 16:7 (NIV)