Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Public Praise

Hallelujah! I will praise the Lord with all my heart in the assembly of the upright and in the congregation.
Psalm 111:1

It's just a little verse but it has a lot to say.

If we are to follow the psalmist's example, the first thing we find we must do is to praise the Lord. To praise God means to brag on Him, to tell how great and worthy of honor He is. In the first four verses of this psalm alone God is called unendingly righteous, gracious and compassionate. His works are called great, splendid, majestic, and wonderful. For me even the first word of the psalm rings forth as a call to praise. The Hebrew word 'hallelujah' is considered to be the highest form of praise in the Bible because it includes part of God's sacred name. It combines the Hebrew word for praise (halal) and the beginning of the name Yahweh ("I am who I am") by which God revealed Himself to Moses. It literally means "Praise the LORD!" Let's give heed to this admonition.

Second, we see how we are to praise Him. The psalmist commits himself to praise God with his whole heart. It would be insulting to offer up half-hearted praise to a God this deserving of worship. Praise ought to be the overflow of a grateful heart. It is the willing gift of one who has been awed by God's glory. When we glimpse God's true character we are driven to worship Him with all we have. Does this describe the praise you offer to God? Is your praise red-hot and pouring directly out of your heart or is it a half-hearted offering of lukewarm leftovers from your love affair with the world?  

Lastly we see that although we worship God with our hearts, it is not enough to merely worship Him in our hearts. The psalmist commits to worship God in the assembly and in the congregation. He will tell others of God's goodness! God is so wonderful, so amazing that those who are stricken with love for Him must tell others. This is what we do when we sing in worship. We are not only telling God about His greatness but we are singing it at the top of our lungs so that anyone in earshot can know how wonderful God is. Notice though that the psalmist is not talking about singing in this passage. Music is a wonderful way for us to praise God but it can't be the only way we praise Him. We must praise God with words too. We must declare His goodness publicly! When was the last time you bragged on God in front of other people? When did you last give Him the glory for answering a prayer or for providing for your family during a difficult time? 

Purpose in your heart today to openly declare how great God is! Don't be timid; do it wholeheartedly. Who knows, your worship just might give someone else the courage to publicly praise God too. 

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