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FAITH: It is the season for a lesson in Thanksgiving
As the harvest season, with its attendant Thanksgiving celebration, has begun, it is a good time to be reminded of the priority of praising God for all His bountiful goodness.
King David’s 145th Psalm of praise gives a good handle to do the above. It’s the only psalm with the specific title in the collection of 150 psalms in the Bible.
One of the most common ways to praise God is through our prayers. It’s interesting that Jesus left us only one prayer as an example of how we are to pray (Matthew 6:9-13).
Commonly called the Lord’s Prayer, its more accurate title would be the disciples’ prayer. “Hallowed” is a New Testament expression used only in reference to the name of God, meaning to revere.
Praise is vocal adoration of God. Adoration is the act of rendering divine honour, esteem and love. Praise is also an essential part of life because only praise puts God in His rightful position.
In praising God, we declare His sovereignty and recognize His nature and power.
There’s also another key benefit of praise — it enables us to focus properly.
Praise, by its very nature, is unselfish.
We can say praise decentralizes self.
The worship and praise of God demands a shift in centre from self to God.
One cannot praise God without relinquishing preoccupation with self.
Praise, then, produces forgetfulness of one’s self and forgetfulness of self is a very healthy, biblical practice.
The phrase “Praise the Lord” has been so overused that now it means absolutely nothing in our language.
It has fast become a Christian slang, a catch-phrase.
Technically, to praise someone is the act of one’s esteem of a person for his virtue or accomplishments.
It’s to pronounce that that person is worthy of honour.
As the Hebrew people attempted to offer meaningful praise to God, both in their prayers and in worship services, far too often they found themselves in mindless repetition.
Because God is so awesome, they would simply say the same things over and over again even though they understood that vain repetition is a bad thing and not a biblical concept.
So, they came up with a system to stimulate praise — the acrostic system we see in Psalm 145. It has all the letters of the Hebrew alphabets to start the verses off sans one.
A simple outline of this 21-verse psalm can be recorded as:
• Who can praise God? (v. 1a): Only disciplined people, called disciples, who are His children.
• When should we praise God? (v. 1b): Forever.
• Why should we praise God? (vs.3-20): Because He is great.
Verses three to 20 are loaded with characteristics and the works of God.
• Perfectly unconditional
• Consistent/available/the only way/in charge.
In spite of His above attributes, when God seems far away, let us remember we are the ones who move.
We can go nowhere out of His presence, He would always be with us.
We don’t invite Him into our churches. He is there already.
Where we are, He is there, period!
Nevertheless, the principle remains that God responds to those who love Him.
What source of comfort that is. How can we not praise Him for that?
With these, David concludes the psalm in verse 21 in the only way he can.
It’s as if he says, “Look, after all I have said about God, I have no other choice but to praise God.”
By the way, let’s don’t forget the mouth speaks only those things that come from the heart.
So, David’s heart must have been full of praise for God.
Notice also his prayer is that all flesh will praise God forever and ever.
Every psalm that David wrote encourages us to praise God in some ways.
David was able to think that way because his focus was on God and not on self.
We are a long way from being like David.
Sometimes we picture these Old Testament characters as guys who were sitting out in the wilderness with nothing better to do.
David was the leader of a vast empire and his days were full.
But, he always understood the priority of praising his heavenly Father.
This Thanksgiving, let us recognize the graciousness of God in our lives to the degree that we are in a constant state of praise — praising Him for who He is and what He has done.
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