What does it mean to praise? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
My wife and I read a passage of Scripture together every night and lately we’ve been going through the Psalms. Last night, we read a Psalm where praise was highly emphasized and I try to think about what we read at night as I go to sleep and I wondered what praise was. It’s one of those questions that we would think is so easy to answer, but maybe it isn’t.
Praise is a matter of giving honor where honor is due. It is saying that God deserves all that we give Him. In the ancient society, everyone was clamoring for honor, and in fact, this was not condemned, but what was needed was to point out that God deserves honor. God is the one who has the most honor by virtue of His being, but we can give Him even more honor by giving Him more to show His reputation and worth in our eyes.
Could it be that sometimes one of our problems with worship services with music is that it has all become about entertainment and application. We leave a worship service wanting to feel better about ourselves often by hearing how the music has benefited us. We want to hear a sermon about how we can be good people in the world. How often are we allowed to enter into the grandeur of God by worship?
For us to have a worship service and we look at only the benefit we get is to picture a wife making love to her husband and at the end only saying “Well that felt good” and not giving her husband and thanks or praise for his great love for her. True worship could leave us feeling good, but it could be it could leave us feeling miserable. It could leave us feeling convicted. A true sermon will have application for our lives, but it will be more than just self-help. It will draw us into the grandeur and glory of God and knowing who He is.
Praise will also result in dying to ourselves. It will mean that we realize we are not the center of the universe and that God is greater than we are. This is something that believe it or not, we have to realize. Many times it can be hard for us to think about God, and this includes myself. It’s mind-blowing to think that everything in this world is usually more interesting to us than God.
When we come to realize who God is and what He has done for us and live lives of gratitude and honor to God, we will find ourselves more focused on His Name than on ours. We will be looking at what we can do for the glory of God instead of what God can do for the glory of us. True praise will result not necessarily in good emotions, though it can do that, and good behavior, though it can do that, but go beyond that and result in holiness and Christlikeness on our lives. If we are not growing in those areas, perhaps we should ask if we are truly praising God.