Praise the Lord

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Praise the Lord! These three words form an exclamation you have likely uttered. They also constitute an activity that most reading these words have engaged in during appointed times of worship on the first day of the week. However, have you ever stopped to ponder what those words really mean and what we should understand when we seek to praise the Lord?

The word praise comes from the Hebrew word halal, and when you combine one of the words for God, Elohim, then you can make a compound word that when given English letters comes out as our word, Hallelujah. This all-encompassing word describes how we should worship God by acknowledging His greatness in contrast to our smallness. Many other aspects of worship can and should be studied carefully by all who wish to give their Creator the praise He is rightfully due, but I want to use this article to simply answer a question that the young ask incessantly and those more advanced in years also confront as the years roll by. What is the question, it is this—WHY?

Why should we praise or worship God? Have you given serious consideration to this query? I am not claiming to have new insights or a novel answer you have never considered, but I do trust from a brief study of this question you will be blessed and your desire to praise and worship God intensified.

Since this is a question dealing with our God, let’s allow His Word to provide us with an answer. To do this, I invite you to read Psalm 111. I will not include this text here, but I hope you will pause and read the 10 verses of this Psalm before proceeding to read the rest of this article. An interesting detail that cannot be seen in our English translations is how the writer begins with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet and makes an acrostic using all 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. We might say he covers the subject from A to Z.

Now that you have read the inspired words of the Psalm, notice a simple outline that answers our why question.

[1] Praise God for His wonders is the instruction in verses 1 through 4. This is a general statement covering all God has done. What has He done? Just look around.

[2] Praise God for His works is the teaching of verses 5 through 9, and the writer gets more specific. Verse 5 – praise God for food. When was the last time you thanked God for your food? You might pray before meals, but sometimes this is just a customary habit. How many times have you felt a heartfelt gratitude for the nourishment He abundantly provides? Those who raised all their food in previous years probably did this better than we do today when we can easily access food at any time. Praise God for food. Verse 6 – praise God for home. They had the heritage or the inheritance of the nations as His special people. God has no special people within certain physical geographical boundaries, but we ought to praise Him for blessing us in this land of liberty and freedom. Verses 7-8 – praise God for truth and justice which forms the foundation of order in our society. Whenever a nation or people drifts away from the bedrock of truth found in the Word of God then lawlessness and chaos will increase, and we are seeing the proliferation of such in America today. Verse 9 – praise God for the redemption and forgiveness of sins. We enjoy such completely in Christ, and no greater gift or blessing will ever be offered. God is holy and awesome and only through Jesus can sinners be restored to fellowship with such a One who possesses perfect righteousness and goodness.

[3] Praise God for His wisdom closes the admonition given in verse 10. Not only is He infinitely wiser than all, but He is willing to share His wisdom with finite creatures like us. How does He do this? He shares His wisdom when we obey and do His commandments. Some might argue such is not necessary, but they fall under the condemnation of those mentioned by Paul in Romans 1, who in rejecting God were “Professing to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22). The Psalm ends: “His praise endures forever.” May our praise for Him be unending in this life and eternal in the hereafter!