September 22, 1992
People who easily praise other people or who easily praise God sometimes make me feel uncomfortable. Are they real? Or am I to proud to give anyone else any glory for what they do, God or human beings?
I notice how much easier it is to be picky and critical. I can easily complain and wish other people (and God) did things more to my liking, even while hiding behind a pious self-evaluation that my “standards are higher” and everyone else is sloughing off. (Dare I admit that I might think that of God?) Why should praise be so important anyway?
After being hard on myself (another way to focus on me instead of God), I checked out some biblical reasons why God should be praised. They fall into three categories: His character is worthy of praise; His deeds are worthy of praise; and praise itself is good for the person who offers it.
The psalmist says: “Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You” (Psalms 63:3). Lovingkindness is only one attribute of God. His holiness, power, creativity, goodness, faithfulness, righteousness, sovereignty, wisdom, and mercy are more reasons we should praise Him.
The psalmist also says: “I will praise You, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works” (Psalms 9:1). God has created all things. He has met the needs of those who seek Him, cared for the humble of heart and protected His people. He has performed miracles, disclosed Himself through His written Word and through the incarnation of His Son. He keeps His promises and is faithful even when we are not. These are more reasons for praise.
Praise is sometimes difficult to offer because we don’t feel like it and circumstances don’t seem to warrant it. In these cases, the Bible rightly calls praise a “sacrifice.” Yet even in the sacrifice, praise benefits us. The Bible says praise brings a sense of His presence and beautifies those who offer it. (The fact that God asks us to do something that will bring Him honor yet uses that obedience to our profit is another reason to praise Him!) God encourages praise because it is so right. Think of it, what could God allow praise for other than Himself? That would be suggesting He could deny His own character and even the fact that He alone is worthy of praise. His nature and deeds are far above anything we are and do. Furthermore, praise takes our eyes off ourselves and our often miserable circumstances and puts them on the Lord. He raises our sights, purifies our goals, and gives us His own incomparable beauty to behold.
The Psalmist says: “Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful” and “Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful” (Psalms 33:1, Psalms 147:1). Praise gives us pleasure because we are creating something God calls beautiful; no wonder we experience His joy when we “create” it.
Praise is not only an antidote to human pride but conquers depression and grumbling. When we turn our eyes on God and thoughtfully consider His character as He has revealed Himself, we marvel. While we cannot fully comprehend all that He is, we do know He is majestic and utterly awesome.
When we study what He has done, not the deeds people sometimes credit to Him but the deeds He Himself affirms in His Word as His, we also marvel. Only God could form the heavens and speak the worlds into existence. Only God could give sight to the blind and raise the dead. Only God could deliver us from the sins that so easily entangle us and promise us an eternal home.
When we exercise faith and obediently offer praise, we discover praise is indeed beautiful, simply because it has to be — the One to whom it is directed is the epitome of beauty. So today, let’s just praise the Lord!