Why should we praise God?
In the Hebrew bible, the book we know as “Psalms” was called SEFER TEHILLIM, which means “the book of praises.” Anyone who has read the book of Psalms knows how appropriate that name is. The 150 individual psalms abound with praise and adoration to Jehovah. The idea of praise directed to God is of course not limited to the book of Psalms. Throughout the Bible we read of praise being ascribed to Him.
Suppose someone should ask you, “Why Should I Praise God?” What would you tell them?
We praise God because it's commanded?
Some might say, “Because God has commanded it.” While that is true, is this the only incentive for praising God -- because He requires it of us, and to do otherwise would be to disobey Him?
A better answer to the question is: “Because it is the right thing to do.” While it is true that God desires man to worship and praise Him and has instructed us to do so, if we only see praising God as the fulfillment of a duty, we have sadly robbed ourselves of one of the greatest blessings of our existence.
Praise is Natural
If we are able to understand and appreciate the nature of God (as fully as our finite minds can), we will realize that praising Him is right in the sense that it is the only appropriate response. Psalm 33:1 says, “Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.” Praising God is fitting; it is altogether proper.
When we say about some inanimate object, “That thing is admirable”, don’t we mean that something about it makes admiration the correct and appropriate response? Appreciation would not be wasted on that thing. To fail to recognize that would show us to be insensitive to beauty, and we would actually miss something ourselves as a result.
Consider a musical masterpiece, exquisitely beautiful and skillfully performed. It evokes such a response in us, that we cannot help expressing our appreciation. But what if we took a recording of it to the pigpen and played it to the hogs? They would have no appreciation for it and would likely display less interest than they would for a bucket of slop.
Praise is a natural, spontaneous response. The world literally rings with praise: lovers praising each another; readers praising an author; spectators praising sports heroes; fans praising musicians or singers. We delight to praise that which we enjoy, because such expression serves to complete the enjoyment. We also urge others to join us in our praise. “Wasn’t that great!” Sharing praise with others enhances the experience.
It is just a part of our emotional makeup, this capacity to be caught up in the excitement of appreciation, where we feel compelled to express our sentiments toward the thing which has touched us so. We scream at a football game until we go home hoarse. Concert crowds routinely reach a frenzy, as they cheer and applaud the performers. Much of the exhilarating joy of the occasion comes from being able to express our feelings.
We praise God because He is worthy.
Now consider God. In the book of Revelation we are permitted a glimpse into His throne room. Twenty-four elders fall down before the throne and declare, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” (4:11)
Later the Lamb (Jesus) appears, and the elders and four living creatures are joined by myriads of angels as they praise: “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, honour, and glory, and blessing.” (5:12)
God is WORTHY! We must realize that it is God who, above everything else, most calls forth for admiration and appreciation.
Now, consider what happens when appreciation grows into love. Love demands expression. When one is overwhelmed with love, there is an irrepressible urge to proclaim that love – the feeling that you will “just explode” if you can’t “let it out,” first to the one loved, and then to others.
If we are truly in love with God, overwhelmed by our adoration of Him, we cannot suppress the desire to tell Him and others how we feel.
What would you call it if you could combine the following?
- The noblest, most praise-worthy object in all the universe
- A fully cultivated and developed appreciation for that object
- The opportunity to express this appreciation in a flood of unending praise
Do you realize what this describes? That is HEAVEN!
John Donne once wrote that, “we are here and now just tuning our instruments.” What a thrilling prospect to eagerly anticipate the time, when we can join the heavenly host in pouring out the praise which our Creator deserves and which our hearts long to give Him. It is true that man’s chief goal is to glorify God and enjoy Him.