This month we’re going to look at Praise as we consider what it means to be a follower of Jesus and a member in his church.
There are several words in the Bible to describe praise; One word is yadah, meaning ‘praise, give thanks, or confess’ (Ps 92. 1). A second word is zamar, meaning ‘sing praise’ (Ps 18. 50) A third word is halal (the root of hallelujah), meaning ‘to praise, honour, or commend’ (Ps 113.1; Rev 19. 1, 3, 4, 6)). All three terms contain the idea of giving thanks and honour to one who is worthy of praise.
It is a real blessing to praise the Lord. Ps 147. 1 says ‘How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise Him’. Spurgeon said, ‘it is good ethically for it is the Lord’s right; it is good emotionally for it is pleasant to the heart; it is good practically, for it leads others to render the same homage’. In other words it is good to praise because Jesus is worthy, it makes us well, and it is winsome! So it really is a good, pleasant and fitting thing to praise the Lord.
C S Lewis said ‘I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment: it is its appointed consummation’. In Revelation 19, as the book draws to a close, as the consummation of time is laid before us it is not surprising that ‘hallelujah’ (praise the Lord) is a consistent theme of the scene in heaven in that passage. At the end of all things, praise to the Lord shall be the anthem sung in heaven. This world and our lives here are like the trailer to a movie. We see and know just a little; the complete movie, the whole picture, the full version is yet to be. In the meantime we praise the Lord in anticipation of what is to come.
When we meet on a Sunday or Wednesday as the church, or meet alone or with family at home for worship, or with friends during the week to pray/study the Bible, may praise be the foundation and framework of our time together; praise to the Lord who loves us and gave himself for us, praise to the Lord who is worthy and wonderful. May we praise him from the heart and with all our heart, and I hope that as we sing praises in church together that that enthusiasm and love for the Lord will be expressed and experienced as we join our voices together.
The next time we’ll look at Prayer.
Your friend and pastor
Rev Colin MacLeod