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PRAISE, Part 1

The preacher may make us laugh and the songs may make us weep. The  fellowship-may warm our souls and the communion may give us chill bumps. But if we do not praise God in worship, then the service failed. The goal of worship is to make God "...high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and *in name, and in honour..." (Deut. 26:19). We are to praise the LORD "...for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely" (147: 1). A hymn likely composed in the Talmudic period expresses the true  worship spirit:

If my lips could sing as many songs as there are waves in the sea. If 'my  longue could sing as many hymns  as there are  ocean billows If my mouth filled the whole firmament  with  praise:  If my face  shone like  the sun and moon together ifmy hand; were to hover in the sky like  powerful  eagles And my feet  ran across mountains as swiftly  as the deer; All that would  not be enough to pay you fitting  tribute,  O Lord my God.

If every rock could speak, it would praise God. If the stars could sing, their song would be in His honor. If the animals could write, their words would form new praises for their Creator. "Let the heaven and earth praise him, the seas, and every thing that moveth therein" (Psa. 69:34).

WHAT IS WORSHIP?  PRAISE.

The word praise (in various forms) is used 268 times in Scripture. In Old Testament times, God's people took praising Him seriously. So much praise went up during this period that God was said to "inhabit the praises of Israel"  (Psa. 22:3).  Leah rejoiced at the birth of a son and cried, "This time, I will praise the Lord!' (Gen. 29:35). So she named the boy, "Praise"' ("Judah"). David organized a whole section of the Levites whose duty was "to thank and praise the  LORD God of Israel" (I Chron. 16:4). Later, Hezekiah appointed courses of priests and Levites "to praise in the gates of the tents of the LORIY' (2 Chron. 31:2). At times during  the Old Testament period God's people wore "the garment of praise" (Isa. 61:3)  and, "His  glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise' (Hab. 3:3).

In the early days of the New Testament period, this praise of God intensified. After nine silent months, when Zacharias' tongue was finally loosed, his first words were of praise to God (Luke 1:64). When Jesus was born, both exalted angels and lowly shepherds praised His  Father (Lk. 2:13,20). When He died, a centurion "glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man" (Lk. 23:47) and His  disciples "...were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God" (Lk. 24:53). Wherever Jesus went between these events, it seems that man were led to praise Jehovah (Mt. 21:15; Lk. 18:43; 19:37; 24:53; In. 9:24). It was no accident that Jesus came from Judah, the tribe whose very name means "praise' (Gen. 49: 10). Ever since Jesus ascended to the father, His  followers have been "...continually in the temple, praising and blessing God"  (Lk. 24:53; cf Eph. 3:21,22). The early church gained favor with the people by praising God (Acts 2:47). In a beautiful prophecy, the church is said to have walls called, "Salvation," and gates, "Praise' (Isa. 60:18).

Who praises God? The heavenly host praises God (Lk. 2:13). The sheep of His pasture praise God (Psa.  79:13).   Pagan kings praise God (Dan. 4:37), as do righteous ones (2 Chron. 7.6). Prophets praise God (Dan. 2:23); priests praise God (2 Chron. 8: 14). The rich praise God (I Kgs. 3:4); the poor and needy praise Him, too (Psa. 74:2 1). The upright praise God (Psa. 119-7); the meek praise God (Psa. 22:26); those whose hearts have been "fixed" praise God (Psa. 5:7). Fathers praise God (Isa. 38:19; 64:11); mothers praise God (I Sam. 1:19); "babes  and sucklings" praise God (Mt. 21:16). The older generation praises God so the younger generation can team how (Psa. 78:4; 145:4). Even the wrath of man praises God (Psa. 76:10). So, "...praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people" (Rm. 15:11). Yea, "let every thing that hath breath praise the LORIY' (Psa. 150:6a).

When should God be praised? In the fifth and sixth centuries there was an order of monks in Eastern Europe called "the sleepless ones." They sang the Divine Office in relays, thus assuring a continuous, nonstop service of praise to God. They were reflecting in a small way what happens in Heaven. The Book of Revelation pictures twenty-four elders and four heavenly creatures singing night and day without stopping, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty" (4:8). They don't do it in relays for they never have to rest. Their song never ceases. Someday "we'll join the everlasting song!"

This illustrates that God deserves to be praised all the time:  "From the rising of the sun unto, the going down of the same the Lord's name is to be praised" (Psa. 11 3:3). Charles Wesley, who wrote 6,000 hymns, said, "0 for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer's praise!" If we were born speaking praises and had breath to never cease, we could never, say enough to exalt His  name properly. The angels constantly praise Him (Isa. 6:3). If we could speak with angel tongues, we could not praise God as He deserves to be praise& -Praise should be given to God by every servant every day (Psa. 145:2). One praised him twice a day-in the morning and in the evening (I Chron. 23:30). An other praised him seven times a day (Psa. 119:  164). A third's ambition topped them all: I "will yet praise thee more and more'  (Psa. 71:14). Paul and Silas sang praises unto God "at midnight" (Acts 16:25). More to the point of this study, God deserves to be praised in public worship: "...in the midst of the church  will I sing praise unto thee..." (Heb. 2:12). "Praise' God in his sanctuary"" (Psa. 150: 1; cf. I 11: 1; 149: 1).

“ ... therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually..." (Heb. 13:15).

Allen Webster