Summary: Just how, and why, do you praise the Lord?
“Soul Talk: I Will Praise Him”
An expressive woman wandered into a liturgical service. As the pastor preached, she became so caught up in his message that she exclaimed, “Praise the Lord!” A fellow worshipper leaned over and whispered, “Excuse me, but we don’t ‘praise the Lord’ in the Lutheran church.” A man down the pew corrected him: “Yes we do; it’s on page 19.”(1) Just how do you ‘praise the Lord?’ For that matter, why do you praise the Lord?
The Psalms are filled with songs of praise.David shares some of his reasons for making a vow to praise the Lord for ever and ever. First, David praises God for HIS MIGHTY ACTS. (3-7) In thinking of God’s multitude of mighty acts David decides to describe God rather than provide a litany of his acts. It reminds me of the old children’s prayer “God is great, God is good...” because he uses those two words in describing God’s mighyt acts. In verse 3 David says GOD IS GREAT. “Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.” God is so great WE CANNOT EVER GET TO THE BOTTOM OR FIND THE END OF HIS GREATNESS. This is a repeated theme of Scripture. (Is. 40:28 NLT) “Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding.” (Job 5:9 NLT) “He does great things too marvelous to understand. He performs countless miracles.” (Job 11:7-8 MSG) “Do you think you can explain the mystery of God? Do you think you can diagram God Almighty? God is far higher than you can imagine, far deeper than you can comprehend…” Even the Apostle Paul admitted God’s greatness is beyond words. (Rom. 11:33-36 MSG) “Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God, this deep, deep wisdom? It’s way over our heads. We’ll never figure it out. Is there anyone around who can explain God? Anyone smart enough to tell him what to do? Anyone who has done him such a huge favor that God has to ask his advice? Everything comes from him; Everything happens through him; Everything ends up in him. Always glory! Always praise! Yes. Yes. Yes.”
God is also so great that WE CANNOT KEEP FROM SHARING HIM. Verse 4-6: “One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They tell of the power of your awesome works— and I will proclaim your great deeds.” God’s mighty acts provide us with more material than we can ever use in a lifetime.(2) God is so great that He is THE LEGACY EACH GENERATION LEAVES FOR THE SUCCEEDING GENERATION. God’s greatness is the lifeblood for all generations.
In 1717, King Louis XIV of France died. Preferring to be called "Louis the Great," he was the monarch who declared, "I am the State!" His court was the most magnificent in Europe, and his funeral was the most spectacular. In the church where the ceremony was performed, his body lay in a golden coffin. To dramatize his greatness, orders had been given that the cathedral would be very dimly lit with only one special candle that was to be set above the coffin. The thousands of people in attendance waited in silence. Then Bishop Massillon began to speak. Slowly reaching down, he snuffed out the candle and said, "Only God is great."(3) Only He is the lifeblood of the generations.
God is great – and GOD IS GOOD. (7) “They celebrate your abundant goodness…” As we have seen frequently in the Psalms, What God does for us and gives to us is ALWAYS IN ABUNDANCE. One author paints a fitting picture of God’s goodness and abundance. He wrote, “One time, my dad wanted to congratulate me on something I had accomplished in the sixth grade. He took me to K-Mart and made a wide sweeping gesture with his hand toward the whole store from the entrance. He said, "To congratulate you, I'll buy you anything in this whole store tonight." My eyes widened as I thought of the possibilities.
At the time, I didn't have a full grasp on how money worked or how much money Dad had. So I sort of limited things in my mind. I didn't even look at the huge stereo systems, expensive bikes, or anything that cost more than one hundred dollars. Instead, I chose a cassette tape case that was less than fifty dollars. I was content with just that case. It was more than I could afford myself, for sure, so I chose that one. It was nice. Only many years later did I find out from Dad that he had one thousand dollars cash in his pocket that night. What's more, he brought his checkbook just in case that wasn't enough. In my selection, I limited his blessing in my life.” He concluded, “Imagine how much God has in his pocket for you. You don't ask God for all the spiritual power you could because you forget that you are his child. Like me and my earthly father, you don't realize all he could do for you, in you, and through you.” (4) God is great and God is good.