The late R. J. Stevens and his son, Tim, have done more for lifting and improving the praise worship of God’s people than any two men I’ve ever known.
But their work has gone beyond teaching the fundamentals of music, how to beat time, or pitch a song. They have reminded us of the why and the Who behind our praise.
Tim once observed that praise is not just an outward act. Praise stems from who we are. The inner person. The heart. Like the ancient poet, we should exclaim, “Praise the Lord! I will praise the Lord with my whole heart! (PS 11:1).
Furthermore, Tim reminded us that praise can occur at any time, any where. Not just in a worship assembly. Praise may be in the form of singing. Praying Or verbal testimony to others.
Praise may occur in the family circle during devotions. Praise may be individual as we ride to work. Praise may be the center of youth devotions. Men’s prayer breakfasts. Or ladies luncheons.
The power and purpose of praise has been reinforced on my mind this morning in my daily Bible reading.
The Psalmist begins by exclaiming:
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
While I live I will praise the Lord;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being (Ps 146:1-2)
Praise even goes beyond prayer, thanksgiving and supplication. We may pray thanking God for what He gave us, or entreating Him for what we need. But praise honors Him for WHO HE IS. Gary Henry was right when he wrote, “While it is certain that we don’t praise God as we should, our problem is not simply a failure to praise Him; it is a failure to appreciate His WORTHINESS to be praised.”
Furthermore praise ought not to be limited to our prosperity during good times. But praise that arises from our inner being acknowledges and honors God even in times of difficulty. Trial. Hardship. And adversity.
Read Psalm 146 and reflect on these bullet points of praise.
♦The Lord is our Helper ( v.5)
I’m reminded of a little girl, Lois, age 9, who prayed, “Dear God: Please help me in school. I need help in spelling, adding, subtracting, science, reading, history, geography and writing. I don’t need help in anything else.”
That’s you. And I. We need the Divine Helper for everything.
♦The Lord is our Hope (v. 5).
He is the God all hope. A hope transcends this life. It’s not wishing thinking. But confidently and expectantly believing in Him who cannot lie. And trusting in His precious promises brought to life through Jesus Christ.
♦The Lord is our powerful Creator (v.6).
As the flowers bloom and the dogwood trees blossom, we’re visually reminded of God’s goodness in the beauty of this world. From the mountain tops to the oceans, we see and praise God.
♦The Lord is our Provider (v.7-8).
He provides for our both our physical and spiritual needs. In a land of plenty, it’s easy to forget that God is the giver of all good gifts. Furthermore, His power, protection and provision extend to the oppressed, the hungry, the hurting, the lonely, and the disenfranchised.
♦The Lord is Ever-Present (v. 8-9).
His omni-visual eyes see what is going on in this world. He’s sees the righteous. He knows who you are. He knows your heart. Feels your pain. And sees your need.
♦The Lord is Pre-Eminent (v. 10).
“The Lord shall reign forever.” Our trust is not in Presidents, Princes, and Kings, but the everlasting, eternal God who lives. Reigns. And exerts His providential care in our world today.
“Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the Lord his God,.”
Praise the Lord!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman