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Transforming praise

Yesterday, I wrote about the problem in the world today.  Well, this week I have been meditating on Psalm 150 and it seems to me that praise offers us a perspective changing solution to the the problems we face.  It does not solve our problems or the world problems but it helps us to see the bigger picture.  To be honest, when I first started reading the Psalm early in the week, I didn’t get much out of it but with multiple readings and a little help from the Holy Spirit and Derek Kidner, I discovered some refreshing things in the words.

Not surprisingly, the hebrew word, hallal (praise) dominates the Psalm, being used 13 times in the 6 verses, 12 of these are in the imperative mood.  It starts and finishes with Praise be to Yahweh (Hallelujah transliterated).  The focus is on praise to Yahweh, the covenant making and covenant keeping God of Israel (and now of the church)!  Then it says to Praise Elohim in verse 1 followed by nine commands to “Praise him.”

Kidner suggests an easy to remember breakdown of the Psalm, Where of praise v1, Why of praise vv2-3, How of praise vv4-5, Who of praise v 6

Where–likely, the reference is to the holy place of God in the heavenlies.  We are to remember that this one we praise is not like us, yes, we have earthly tabernacles and churches but they are merely representations of his transcendent reality.   As Kidner says, “His glory fills the universe; his praise must do no less.”  As I wrote in my journal, “There is something transforming about praise. It keeps my focus on where it should be and not on my problems, my self-preoccupation is moved to reflect on our majestic, worthy, awesome, redemption-gathering, compassion-giving God, who is LORD of all!!

Why of praise v2–we are to praise God because he is strong and he has abundant greatness.  We remember the amazing things he does for us every day and we remember his character which is so unlike our own.   He is good, kind, loving, full of grace, merciful, knows all, has unlimited power, is present everywhere, is unchanging in his holy and just character.  All we have comes from his hand, including each breath we take–how could we not want to praise him?

How of praise vv3-5 What a variety of sources for praise, worship instruments, secular instruments, tools for communication (today’s internet and email).  Each word we speak, breath we breathe–are they offering him praise.  Do we see the dogs barking, the cocks crowing as giving him praise–animals, cattle, small creatures and birds are commanded to give him praise in Ps 18:10.  All of creation longs to give him praise (Rom 8), had the people of Jersualem not given him praise upon his entry, even the rocks would have cried out with praise.   If praise is to come from every imaginable source, why do we fight so much about it???  Sigh. . .

Who v6 Let every nephesh give him praise says the Psalmist.  Yes, all of creation is to give him praise.

How can we not be lifted up when we give our hearts to praise?  I need to go back and re-read, reflect on  31 days to praise, a small journal type book focusing on praising God.  But, praise is something that I need to carry throughout the day, seeing the beauty and goodness of God in each moment of each day!! 

  1. Charlie
    June 11, 2009 at 11:46 am

    “There is something transforming about praise…” I agree. I would say the same thing about confession. The practice of confession seems fairly foreign to many believers, and yet IMO it keeps us humble, thankful, and ever mindful of who we are are who God is.

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