In Praise of Praise

In Praise of Praise

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I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. Psalms 34:1

For He is worthy

The scriptures tell us to “praise God.” We know that that is what Christians do. They praise God. They worship God. But do all of us understand WHY we praise God? I ask because I suspect that there are many individuals – especially new Christians - who assume that God demands praise simply because God wants to feel elevated. True, that ought to be enough to compel us. But leaving it at that – deciding that we praise God only because it is expected of us, purely for God’s own sake - can lead some to thinking less highly of God than they perhaps otherwise would.

I don’t recall ever hearing another believer try to explain to me why we praise God, other than by reminding that God commands us to do so. But I do believe that we are able to know the reasons why God would command it, if we simply apply ourselves to the matter.

In Psalms 35:28, we read, “And my tongue shall declare Your righteousness And Your praise all day long.”

Why would a Supreme Being want us to extol His virtues to ourselves and to our fellow man? Taken at the surface level, it sounds a bit like egotism or vanity. But if we truly credit the being as a Supreme Being, and if that Supreme Being is perfect in every way, then those perfect traits include humility, moderation, sensibility, groundedness. Can any Being that is humble and grounded really want us to sing His praises simply so that He Himself might feel elevated and uplifted and higher than all others? How could a Supreme Being be so empty or insecure as to need to be bucked up by our words and thoughts? So that cannot be His reasons for wanting it. A Supreme Being lacks for nothing. Realizing this, we begin to realize that everything that God does for His creation is beneficial for the creation. The same with praise. How could praise be beneficial to we who give praise? Is it possible that it could be more beneficial to the giver than to the Receiver? Well, think about it... How can we not be uplifted if we are declaring to the world something that is not only good and true, but also worthy of the world's notice? And if we believe in God, are we not morally obliged to be honest with ourselves and our fellow man and woman about Him? If we are declaring to the world the surpassing qualities of something higher than ourselves, we are benefiting ourselves in every way. We are making ourselves better people than we had been moments before. We are becoming stronger and better attuned to truth, and more appreciative of truth, and more vocal about truth, and more in touch with our own beliefs, and less ambivalent about them, and less “double-minded,” and more pure of heart, than we had been moments before we performed this act. The Bible holds that the truth is something to be “shouted from the rooftops.” And how can anyone argue with that? How can someone not be a better person for espousing one's heart's desires and deepest beliefs with courage and honesty and sincerity?

God is someone beyond improvement, beyond flattery, beyond egotism. If He enjoys praise at all, it is only because He wills Himself to be pleased by it. He wills himself a need where previously no need existed. And why do that? If He wills himself to be pleased by something like praise, it can only be for the benefit of His creation. We cannot consider Him to be needy and still think of Him as supreme.

COPYRIGHT 2011 JESSE MULLINS



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