Praise—Short but Sweet!
Mighty God, You are not just my commander, You are my commander-in-chief. Help me to be obedient without reserve.
Read Psalm 117:1-2
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
Our praise of God can be long and exhilarating or “short and sweet.” The important thing is that it is sincere.
The shortest psalm summarizes the themes of the week: God’s mercy (hesed) and truth (emet)–better translated here “reliability”–despite the Israelites’ grumbling, their complaints and their testing of Moses’ leadership and God’s sovereignty. Despite our weaknesses and imperfections, God’s gracious love and enduring truth will overcome. No wonder the nations see how God treats Israel, and give glory to him!
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the life of Jesus. In him we see God’s compassion and condescension in entering our fallen world. In him we have forgiveness for our failings, light for our path, and hope for our future. Just as the Israelites in the wilderness learned through trials and tests to walk in humble faith and grateful obedience, and eventually received the promise of entering the Promised Land, so we are assured of eternal joy as we take up the cross and follow Jesus.
Praise, as Walter Brueggemann has noted, is not only life-changing; it changes our understanding of reality. He writes: “Praise is an unrestrained, glad act of ceding life over to YHWH in awe, amazement, and gratitude.” We move from pain, suffering, doubt and fear, to a world view that affirms the majesty, holiness and love of God. We put not just our minds but our hearts, voices and spiritual focus into acknowledging how great God is, how much he has done, and how worthy he is of our worship. Praise is not something we can offer in a half-hearted or questioning way; rather, it is an act of deliberate obedience to the command “Praise the Lord.” That all nations should praise the God who has made the world and redeemed his people is only fitting. In Christ all nations are now included in the cosmic chorus.
What part does praise play in your spiritual life? How does it affect your attitudes and emotions, especially in dark times? Reflect on God’s love and faithfulness; then praise God.
Father, You not only desire my praise, You rightly deserve it. I praise You for who You are and for all You have done.
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