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What does God think of our praise to Him?

A major part of our worship services are given to praise.  We praise God in many ways: clapping our hands, raising our hands, saying words of adoration and exaltation, dancing, running, leaping, playing instruments, singing, and other forms of exuberant physical displays of worship.  Praise leaders often call us to praise the Lord, loud and with enthusiasm.  We are exhorted, encouraged, incited, pushed, prodded, commanded, ordered and led into praise sessions.

The human response to this activity is varied.  Some people respond positively, others reluctantly.  Many people think of their circumstances, their feelings, their attitudes or the events in their lives as the incentive or disincentive to praise God.  Some people, however, dismiss the exhortation to praise God altogether as a waste of time.  They resent being pressured to actively demonstrate their worship to God by physical actions.  They think it is silly, unnecessary or even garish to engage in open praise.  The operative question then, is not what do WE think of praise, but what does God think of praise? 

Human Praise

  • We like to be praised.
  • We like to give praise when it is deserved.
  • We are prone to make celebrities out of people.
  • We build monuments, have celebrations, give trophies, name buildings, etc. after heroes.

Praising God in the Scriptures.

First mention of praise is Genesis 29:31-35

 31  And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren. 32  And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me. 33  And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the LORD hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon. 34  And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi. 35  And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.

Praise is the acknowledgement of the blessings of God. (Gen. 29:35)

Praise according to Jacob.

Genesis 49:8-12 Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee. 9  Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? 10  The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. 11  Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: 12  His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.

Praise is Royal.  The name Judah and the Hebrew word for “praise” are very similar (29:35), and Judah did live up to his name. He founded the royal tribe that gave Israel their kings that ultimately brought Jesus Christ into the world (Heb. 7:14). Judah was a conquering tribe and a ruling tribe, and it stayed faithful to the Davidic line when the nation divided.

Praise is like a Lion.  Since God appointed Judah to be the royal tribe, it is likened to a lion, the king of the beasts. (See also Num. 24:9; Ezek. 19:1-7; Micah 5:8; Rev. 5:5.) Jacob compared Judah to a lion’s cub, a lion, and a lioness (Gen. 49:9). Who would dare rouse a lion when he’s resting after feeding on the kill, or a lioness while she’s guarding her cubs?  Praise is more powerful than we think.

Praise has a Promise.  The name “Shiloh” in verse 10 refers to the Messiah (Num. 24:17). The phrase could be translated “until he comes whose right it is [the scepter, i.e, the rule],” because the word Shiloh means “whose it is.” The ancient rabbinical scholars took Shiloh to be a name of the promised Messiah, who alone had the right to claim rule over God’s people Israel. 

Praise is Lavish.  The description in verses 11-12 certainly goes beyond Judah’s time and speaks of the blessings of the Kingdom Age when the Messiah shall reign over Israel. Nobody in Old Testament times would use a choice vine for a hitching post for his donkey, because such an act would certainly ruin the vine and probably cause the loss of the animal. Nor would the man’s wife waste their precious wine by washing clothes in it! This is the language of hyperbole. It describes a land so wealthy and a people so prosperous that they can do these outrageous things and not have to worry about the consequences. During the Kingdom Age, when the Messiah reigns, people will enjoy health and beauty (v. 12), because the devastating enemies of human life will have been removed.  Bible Exposition Commentary (BE Series) - Old Testament - The Bible Exposition Commentary – Pentateuch.

God is worthy to be praised. 

Psalm 18:1-6 (KJV)
1  I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. 2  The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. 3  I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. 4  The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. 5  The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me. 6  In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.

Revelation 4:8-11 (KJV)
8  And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
9  And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, 10  The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11  Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

How are we to praise God?

Psalm 150:1-6  Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. 2 Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. 3 Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. 4 Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. 5 Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. 6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.

Psalm 42:1-5   As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.  2  My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?  3  My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?  4  When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.  5  Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

Should praise be spontaneous or deliberate?

Spontaneous.  Acts 3:6-9  Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. 7  And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. 8  And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. 9  And all the people saw him walking and praising God:

Deliberate.  Psalm 100:1-5 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. 2  Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. 3  Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4  Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. 5  For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Does the architecture of Scripture describe the desire of God for praise?

Architecture refers to the way something is designed and built.  A church building is designed for assembly, preaching, prayer, baptisms, fellowship, teaching and worship.  But architecture applies to more than buildings.  The scriptures are designed for many things, one of them is praise.

1 Chronicles 16:1-6  So they brought the ark of God, and set it in the midst of the tent that David had pitched for it: and they offered burnt sacrifices and peace offerings before God. 2  And when David had made an end of offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD. 3  And he dealt to every one of Israel, both man and woman, to every one a loaf of bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine. 4  And he appointed certain of the Levites to minister before the ark of the LORD, and to record, and to thank and praise the LORD God of Israel: 5  Asaph the chief, and next to him Zechariah, Jeiel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Mattithiah, and Eliab, and Benaiah, and Obededom: and Jeiel with psalteries and with harps; but Asaph made a sound with cymbals; 6  Benaiah also and Jahaziel the priests with trumpets continually before the ark of the covenant of God.

Isaiah 6:1-4  In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. 2  Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. 3  And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. 4  And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

When you inspect the architecture of the scriptures, you must conclude that praise and worship is an integral part of our relationship with God.

Does God expect us, as saved and redeemed people, to offer praise to Him?

Psalm 107:1-16 O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. 2  Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy; 3  And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south. 4  They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in. 5  Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. 6  Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses. 7  And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation. 8  Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! 9  For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. 10  Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron; 11  Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High: 12  Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help. 13  Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses. 14  He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder. 15  Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! 16  For he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder.

We must not withhold praise from God.

Psalm 30:10-12  Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me: LORD, be thou my helper. 11  Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; 12  To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

Luke 17:11-19 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12  And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: 13  And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. 14  And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. 15  And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16  And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. 17  And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? 18  There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. 19  And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Hebrews 13:13-16  Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. 14  For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. 15  By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. 16  But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Praising God is never a waste of time.  The structure of a church service must be designed to give praise a prominent place.  It is not just a preliminary to the main event; it is vital to the mission of the church.  If you come late so that you hear the preaching, you have missed half the service.  Preaching is not ministry to God; preaching is edification for your soul.  Praise and worship is what you do for God in the church service. 

Because praise is scriptural, significant and powerful, we should then perform it with conviction, sincerity, enthusiasm and excellence.  Actually, praise is a dynamic interaction with the presence of God. 

Isaiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2  To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; 3  To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.


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