You actually praise God when you memorize portions of His Word! And — as you’ll see in this article — when the people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem began to praise God in their time of desperate need, their praise actually activated His Divine help!
You cannot be fearful or angry — but at the same time filled with praise to God! One of the keys to living in harmony with God is to keep on praising Him.
A quick review of the truth and validity of Scripture.
REMEMBER: EVERY WORD in these verses originated as thoughts from God.
Each verse expresses a life-principle that God wants us to know and to live by:
Every Word of God proves true (Proverbs 30:5)
MEANING: Down to the smallest grammatical mark, every word in the Bible is truth from the Mind of God.
And here’s what Jesus said about those small grammatical marks:
For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. (Matthew 5:18)
And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail. (Luke 16:17)
a dot or other small mark in writing or printing, used as a diacritic, punctuation, etc.
MEANING: Every word in the Bible is Truth from God. Every thought and every concept originated in the Mind of God.
Because we believe that the above things are true, we know we can depend on every Word in the Bible.
Now, combine that thought with the fact that God’s intention — His heart’s desire — is for us to discover and learn principles from the Bible, and to live by them:
For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction (Romans 15:4)
These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us. (1 Corinthians 10:11)
APPLICATION: God has given us the Bible as a source of wisdom for everyday life.
So, to quote the prophet Ezekiel: “How then shall we live?” (Ezekiel 33:10)
Truly, the whole Bible is an answer to that question. I nominate the following verse as a good starting point:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2)
We renew our minds when we take God’s Word into our minds and hearts by memorizing it and then by choosing to live by it. In effect, we praise God when we do that.
I’ve said all that in order to lend credibility to this thought:
Our Creator is telling us, by way of His Word, that He wants to hear us praise God.
For us to praise God is about the only thing we can do for Him that He cannot do Himself.
Here’s what God is saying to us in the verse from Psalm 22 at the top of the page: that He takes great delight in hearing His people praise God as they go about the affairs of daily life.
I recently did a keyword search on Bible Gateway on the word “praise”. The result was 325 verses (RSV). Keeping in mind that the Bible is the inspired word of God, it would seem God is urging us to praise Him.
But in a way, that may be where our hangup is!
Perhaps we tend to think of God as though He were one of those people who just can’t help turning almost anything into a “look-at-me” moment.
One more anecdote:
God is so not like that! He created everything, from NOTHING!
Do you realize that God is, right now, maintaining the integrity of every atom in the universe — including the atoms of our bodies — all the way down to the sub-atomic particles? And let me tell you, the amount of effort required to do that is beyond our comprehension.
And yet, even as He’s doing all that, He is still able to have a close full-time relationship with each one of us!
With Jesus, it’s all about RELATIONSHIP. But not everyone believes that.
I grew up in a church that teaches that you get to heaven by a combination of faith and works. And yet, when I would ask people there, “Have you ever taken on a challenge for God that was so big that you KNEW it could not possibly succeed without His divine help?”, not one person ever had! NOT ONE! It was as though the word “faith” was nothing more than a synonym for the word “religion”, and had nothing to do with trusting God when the situation seemed impossible.
They rely on their works and “being a good person” as the means to get to heaven. (I can’t begin to count the number of people who have actually said that.)
But look at what Jesus will say to people who have no relationship with Him:
And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you.. Depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:23)
So the all-important question is: do you have a personal relationship with Jesus?
Look at what He’s done for us already:
He paid in full the penalty for our sins against Holy God.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
He owns everything; He gives us power:
17 And beware lest you say in your [mind and] heart, My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.
18 But you shall [earnestly] remember the Lord your God, for it is He Who gives you power to get wealth (Deuteronomy 8:17~18 AMP)
He created and sustains everything:
16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:16,17)
Any being who can do all that deserves to be praised!
What Does God Want, Anyway??
He wants us to acknowledge Him for who He is and what He has done for us.
He wants each of us to invite Him into our lives, and thus have a personal relationship with Him.
He would very much like to use your hands, your arms, your legs and feet, sometimes your mouth, to help continue the work Jesus began when He was here in the flesh over 2000 years ago:
19 in Christ God [is] entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. (2 Corinthians 5:19~20)
A Biblical Example Of The Practical Practice of Praise
From the book of 2 Chronicles, God demonstrates how it was the praise of the people that activated His divine intervention.
6 [King Jehoshaphat prayed:] “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you.
15 And he said, “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s.
17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.”
(2 Chronicles 20:6, 15, 17)
As you read the story, remember that God caused these stories to be in the Bible for our benefit:
These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us.” (1 Corinthians 10:11)
King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah were following after God during this period in their history. A godly nation; a godly king. But suddenly a report came that would cause anyone to tremble: three armies were bearing down upon them, intending to slaughter every person!
What did they do? Well, what the didn’t do was to freak out and try to fight the battle on their own. To their credit, they did the only thing that could have saved them: they turned to God in fasting and prayer.
Verse 6 shows us an excerpt from their prayer:
Notice that the prayer in verse 6 is all about God, and not about them. Over and over they proclaim truths that they had been taught and were living by:
- TRUTH: They knew who He was: “O Lord, God of our fathers”.
- TRUTH: They praise God by asking, “are you not the God who is in heaven?” (A rhetorical question for which the answer is obvious.)
- TRUTH: “You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations.”
- TRUTH: “Power and might are in Your hand.”
- TRUTH: “No one can withstand you.”
Verses 15 and 17 reveal how God responded, as He spoke through the prophet Jahaziel:
The key phrase there is in verse 15: “For the battle is not yours, but God’s”. We all need to remember that.
Now, look at the outcome. I have underlined a phrase that is the key to their victory — and ours:
20 And they rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. And when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed.” 21 And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise God in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say,
Give thanks to the Lord,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
22 And when they began to sing and praise God, the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed. 23 For the men of Ammon and Moab rose against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, devoting them to destruction, and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they all helped to destroy one another. (2 Chronicles 20:20-23)
Let me quote it again:
These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us. (1 Corinthians 10:11)
If your “faith” is just an intellectual assent to a set of facts, you’ll never step out in faith as they did. God’s purpose for you is to transform you — through adversity if necessary — so that He can use you for His purposes.
How do we actually praise God in our lives today?
I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips. (Psalm 34:1)
It is impossible for your heart to be filled with praise to God outwardly — while on the inside your heart is filled with malice and bitterness toward someone or some situation.
It is equally impossible to hold onto that bitterness in your heart, when your heart is filled with praise to God.
This is one of those things that, the more you do it, the easier and more natural it becomes!
I got the idea of giving praise to God from a Bible sermon. I decided, “I’ll do it! What have I got to lose?” Honestly, that was one of the best decisions I ever made.
Praise God in advance for what you KNOW He is going to do, even though you cannot see the results yet.
Here are two Scriptures that command us to thank God in advance for what we believe He is doing:
Here is the entire Scripture passage:
22 And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11:22~25)
To read this passage in context in the Gospel of Mark, Click Here
God is moved by our praise, especially when we are bold enough to thank Him in advance for things we cannot see yet.
Here is the entire Scripture passage:
14 And this is the confidence which we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests that we have asked of him. (1 John 5:14~15)
God says we can ask with confidence. But notice: we must ask ACCORDING TO HIS WILL.
Here is something to remember as you read those verses above. The Apostle John stated an important principle earlier in the same letter:
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world — the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and the pride in possessions — is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15~17)
Both quotes from 1 John refer to the will of God. The will of God is obviously against worldliness. A true follower of Jesus will ask for things within the will of God, not for “stuff”. We’re not looking for expensive new cars and lake homes. We’re asking for more ministry!
Here are some of the ways I praise God each day:
By the way, I do these things when I’m alone, so as not to be misunderstood by others. God knows my heart; He knows whether I’m being sincere or not.
- Nearly every time I open our refrigerator, I praise God for it; He created all the principles of refrigeration. I praise God for the food that is in it. Ultimately, He supplied it. (Try making your own tomatoes, cheese, or steak!)
- I praise God for our stove; for the fuel (natural gas in our case) that is piped in; for the electricity that makes the spark that ignites the burner. All I have to do is turn the knob, and: POOF! Instant heat!
- I praise God for my health. Having said that, I know that my part is to maintain my body by exercising and eating properly.
- I praise God for my car, even though our cars were built in the 1990’s. There are many people in other parts of the world that would love to have the vehicles we have.
- When I go to the gas station and the price has gone up — again, instead of complaining I praise God because gasoline is available. I praise God because I have a car, and because there’s money in my account. I praise God because I am healthy enough to drive, and because I have a license. I praise God because there are roads and bridges to drive on, etc. Ultimately, He provided it all.
- Whenever I drive under a railroad bridge or cross a bridge spanning a river, I praise God that His mighty hand in sustaining the integrity of every atom in those massive iron beams. His immutable will holds every atom in the universe together! Without that sustaining effort, all atoms (including those in our bodies) would burst apart in a gigantic explosion!
- I praise God for the beauty of the flowers in our garden, and for the grandeur of the clouds overhead.
- I praise God for His Word, without which I could no longer live any kind of a meaningful life.
- Whenever I do photography (which you’re seeing all over this blog), I praise God for the beauty of creation: for color, for design, for variety. What if there were only one kind of flower or one kind of bird, which sang only one kind of song? No, I praise God for the diversity of His creation!
- When I’m alone as I drive somewhere, my car becomes a rolling prayer sanctuary. I praise God for everything I see as I drive along. And why not? Ultimately, God is the originator of everything I see or can think of.
I have formed such a habit of doing these things, I don’t even have to consciously prompt myself to praise God any more. I just do it automatically. I’m in a conversation with God all day long, every day.
I could go on, but if you don’t see my point yet, it’s not because you can’t.
It’s because you won’t!
The principle of being thankful even effects your health:
This was in the news recently. Even secular psychologists know that being thankful enhances your health:
Two psychologists, Michael McCollough of Southern Methodist University in Dallas and Robert Emmons of the University of California at Davis, conducted an experiment on gratitude and its impact on well-being. Participants were divided into three groups and asked to keep diaries.
The first group wrote what happened during the day without being told specifically to write about either the good or bad things.
The second group was told to record unpleasant experiences.
And the last group was instructed to make a daily list of things for which they were grateful.
The results indicated that daily gratitude exercises resulted in higher reported levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism and energy.
The gratitude group experienced less depression and stress, while helping others more and achieving personal goals.
This is just one of the studies that gratitude expert Lisa Ryan writes about.
But here’s something that may cause you to hesitate to praise God.
When you begin to praise God as I’m describing, you may “Feel” Awkward At First!
That was true for me.
Remember these three things:
- Satan and his demons have the ability to influence your feelings.This shouldn’t be hard to believe: THEY DON’T WANT YOU TO PRAISE GOD!
- They will stop at nothing to keep you fretting over your problems instead of turning to God.
- That “awkward feeling” will quickly disappear and you’ll feel reassured as you praise God.
If this is all new to you, as it once was for me, this will probably be one of those times where you have to ignore your feelings and instead choose to step out boldly in faith. Believe that what God has said is true, and believe that He deserves to be praised.
Now, I invite you to read and savor these Words from God!
Psalm 100 has been called “The Praise Psalm”. I’ve heard that the people would sing these words as the ascended the hill coming up to the temple:
His Steadfast Love Endures Forever
A Psalm for giving thanks.
1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
3 Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
5 For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
This next Scripture passage is part of an ever-expanding list of Scriptures that I have determined to know as well as I know my own name, address, and phone number. In other words, I’ve decided that I can no longer live without having this and many other Scriptures in my conscious memory at all times. If you’ve done this too, you know what I mean. And if you haven’t — all I can say is: “You wouldn’t believe the joy!”
Here is the entire Scripture passage:
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4~7)
- by prayer,
- by supplication (that’s us praying for others)
- with thanksgiving (that’s us praising God).
Look at what He gives us: peace that’s beyond our understanding!
Notice that in verse 6 it says, “…but in everything by prayer and supplication WITH THANKSGIVING, let your requests be made known to God”.
Thanksgiving is another way to say: “praise God”.
Here’s my personal declaration of how I intend to respond:
My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord (Psalm 145:21)
Will you join me?
Glorify the Lord with me; Let us exalt His Name together. (Psalm 34:3)
It thrills my heart to think that these things I have written would make a difference in the eternal destiny of even one person.
Once you’ve become “infected” with the “germs” of true Bible Christianity, you will never look back. You’ll realize, as many of us have, that there is no “cure” for what we have, and if there were, we wouldn’t want it!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1)
It All Comes Down To This:
There are two spiritual kingdom: heaven and hell. Our every thought and our every action (or sometimes inaction) serves one of those kingdoms.
Doing nothing is a choice. But why would you choose that when the benefits of praising God are so awesome?
But beyond all that, here is a very compelling reason to praise God:
Our praise is the one thing that we can give to God that He cannot get for Himself!
Start Today To PRAISE GOD!
That “Great Cloud Of Witnesses” In Heaven Are Encouraging You!