Monday, August 1, 2016

Four Reasons to Praise God

I am often drawn to the book of Psalms when I am in need of encouragement or inspiration. It is a mine rich with gemstones. Beautiful nuggets of praise, worship, and truth come out of this book no matter where I am in life. 

This week, I would like to walk through chapter 111 of the book of Psalms with you.

Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.

The psalmist begins by declaring to those listening and reading that he is thankful – with his whole heart. 

Our praise to God cannot be a half-hearted action. It must be intentional. When you come to praise God, whether in your room or the sanctuary, give your all. Forget your to-do list, the cell phone, which song is playing on the radio, and praise Him with your whole heart. Hold nothing back for later. Give Him all praise and thanks.


Great are the works of the Lord,
studied by all who delight in them.
Full of splendor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.
He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered;
the Lord is gracious and merciful.

The first reason is that God has done great works.

Look at the creation around you. When I sit in my “corner” I can look out a window and see gorgeous pine trees, beautiful green grass, adorable squirrels, birds of every shape and size, a sky as blue as cotton candy, a sun so bright it hurts my eyes to look at it, clouds so shapely that they look like cotton balls, and soon that sky will be midnight blue, the sun shining behind a full and pale moon while stars dance around. As I type this I breathe in a deep breath, exhaling carbon dioxide and inhaling the invisible substance of oxygen that my body would die without. All of this happens and exists on a sphere that is perfectly balanced in a solar system in constant motion.

Who is worthy of praise if not God who created all of this from nothing? And, not only has He created it, but has sustained it so that thousands of generations could enjoy this life surrounded by beauty.

The psalmist recognized this as a reason to praise.

He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.

The second reason to praise God is this: He provides our essential needs on daily basis.

If you do not know me personally than you have yet to discover how much I enjoy food. I love it! Breakfast, lunch, dinner… I’m not picky. I love it all. Sweet, salty, good or bad for me – it doesn’t matter. I’ll gladly pick up a fork and dig in. Too often I take for granted that every morsel of food that tantalizes my tongue is a miracle from God. It is a reason to give Him praise. Do not be mistaken. You may have paid the grocer for those items but without God where would they come from and how would you even exist to work for the money in order to purchase those items? I’ll give you the answer: the food wouldn’t exist (because He created it) and neither would you (because He created you) therefore, there would be no breakfast, lunch, or dinner without God.

The fact that we have food to eat and water to drink is a miracle from God. It testifies that He is worthy of praise.

He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the inheritance of the nations.
The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy;
they are established forever and ever,
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.

The third reason is that God keeps His promises. He will never go back on His Word. The psalmist tells the people that God showed His power by making the way possible for them to enter and enjoy the land of Israel and keep it. He declares that the Words of the Lord are trustworthy. His words are true, they last forever, and He is faithful to keep them.

The fact that God keeps His promises to those He has created is amazing. This, quite honestly, blows my mind. It is definitely a reason to praise Him.

He sent redemption to his people;
he has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name!

The fourth reason is my personal favorite. God is worthy of praise because HE HAS REDEEMED US. Jesus came and died on a cross so that we might live free from sin and death. He purchased our forgiveness with His blood. He offers us His righteousness in exchange for our filthy hearts. He makes us pure. He makes us new. He restores us. Jesus offers us a second chance at life. We are free because of Him!

My heart leaps within me and joins with the psalmist saying, “Holy and awesome is his name!”

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever!

The psalmist concludes saying “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…” By fearing the Lord, we reverence Him. We recognize His greatness. We have a “fear” – a sense of awe – at His power. God is so powerful that He created all we know by simply uttering words. Everything is subject to Him. We are to tremble at such an omnipotent being. Doing so is the beginning of wisdom. Why? Who would stand in defiance of such a God other than one who… shall we say, “lacks wisdom.”

I felt it was important to share this Psalm because I have witnessed too many Christians indifferent about the way they praise and worship God. I am not talking about a physical response, but a heart response. Do not become indifferent. Do not let praise become routine. There are so many reasons to praise God. Did you drink a cup of coffee today? Eat? Drive to work? Arrive at work? Earn a pay check? Sleep under a roof? Talk to a friend? Read the Bible? Hug your spouse? Talk to your children? Play with your dog? See a tree? Watch the sunset? All of these experiences are because of God – they are reasons to praise.

If you cannot think of any other reason to praise Him – praise Him for saving your life. No matter how many times you have thanked God for forgiving you, it is never too often. If someone saved your life from death, would you ever stop thanking that person? I don’t think so. You would say it over and over until they got sick and tired of the praise. The good news is God will never become sick and tired of your praise. So praise Him with your whole heart because He deserves it.

What a fantastic Psalm! I hope reading Psalm 111 caused praise to bubble up inside of you and that this blog will help add fuel to your praise this week. All I can say is, "Praise to the God that has done great works, provided all of our needs, keeps His promises, and forgiven us of our sins! "Holy and awesome is His name!”

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