It’s been the topic of many a conversation, tweet, post, blog, and news article this week and will probably prompt many a sermon still to come. It’s a very good question! A question that should challenge us to know why we praise God. If we are not careful, this act of praise can become something we participate in with minds and hearts that are far from Him. We can sing the words and go through the motions mechanically as we are planning what to have for dinner. Don’t get me wrong, I love to sing worship songs as I go through my daily routines. Those are acceptable praises to Him, but certainly not all He deserves. So as I cringed over the statements that started this flurry of discussion, and cringed even more over the vicious responses it provoked, I began to meditate on the question and examine my answer. Why do I praise God?
Several posts back (Showing me) I related my experience in discovering that I was created to praise Him. This revelation came before I was aware of the scripture that states
The beasts of the field honor Me, the jackals and the ostriches, because I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My people, My chosen, The people I formed for Myself, that they may set forth My praise [and they shall do it]. Isaiah 43:20-21
This discovery simply answered a question I had pondered since childhood. I have a deep need and motivation to praise Him for creation, for His mighty works, for Who He is.
As I began to seek Him more in this personal relationship He offered, He showed me a trio of verses that fit together so perfectly:
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and a thank offering and into His courts with praise! Be thankful and say so to Him, bless and affectionately praise His name! Psalm 100:4
The gates and courts are references to the layout of the old testament temple. Beyond the gates and the courts, in the heart of the temple, was the Holy of Holies, the place where God’s presence dwelt. The veil that kept the average person from entering the presence of God was torn when Jesus died – removing the barrier so that all who would believe in Him would be given access to the presence of Almighty God. Thanksgiving and praise take our minds off ourselves and usher us into His presence.
You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11
Once in His presence we find the fullness of joy, the depth of something that is so much more than mere happiness. There is no other joy or happy emotional experience that can compare with being in His presence. He invites us to enter into His joy, a part of His character to be experienced.
…the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold. Nehemiah 8:10
This joy He offers me is my strength and stronghold. He intended for my praise of Him and to Him to take me into His presence where I would find His joy, and this joy of His would be my strength. This praise I give is ALL ABOUT HIM, but this joy of His does something to me. It strengthens me. It is His joy in me – it’s still all about Him, but it has an effect on me. It changes me. It makes me all about Him.
So why do I praise God?
I praise Him because He is God.
I praise Him because I am nothing without Him.
I praise Him because it reminds me of His mercy and kindness and goodness and love and longsuffering and power and might and beauty and…the list goes on and on.
I praise Him because I will burst if I don’t.
Why do you praise Him? Please share your comments, just be careful: no stone-throwing allowed 🙂