6-Week Series: Against All Odds

Sermons

Summary: What does praise look like? We attach the word "praise" to types of music, styles of worship, and certain actions. But what does the Bible actually say about praise and how God's people praise him?

When you think of “praise,” what comes to mind? You might think of something that takes place in a church or in a worship service. Maybe you might think of certain actions. Maybe you’ve heard the joke about the woman who in the middle of the sermon stood up, lifted up her hands and said, “Praise the Lord!” The pastor looked at her and said, “Ma’am, please sit down. We don’t praise the Lord in this church.” Yes, some might connect praise with certain actions. Others might think of praise as a certain type of music that is uplifting and upbeat, that makes us feel a certain way. So which one is it? What is praise? This morning, the Bible reminds us that praise isn’t so much about us lifting up our hands or lifting up our emotions. Instead, praise is about lifting up our God, recalling who he is, what has done, and the promises he has made. That’s what Psalm 105 teaches us as it calls us today and everyday and everywhere to “Praise the Lord!”

Let’s look at the first seven verses of this Psalm together. Let’s read them responsively.

Psalm 105:1-7

P: Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name;

C: make known among the nations what he has done.

P: Sing to him, sing praise to him;

C: tell of all his wonderful acts.

P: Glory in his holy name;

C: let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.

P: Look to the LORD and his strength;

C: seek his face always.

P: Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced, you his servants, the descendants of Abraham, his chosen ones, the children of Jacob.

C: He is the LORD our God; his judgments are in all the earth.

These verses are a kind of introduction for the rest of the psalm, an invitation to “Give praise to the Lord” (105:1). But did you notice how the Lord is praised? Let me highlight a couple of phrases, “Proclaim his name” (vs 1); “make known…what he has done” (vs 1); “tell of all his wonderful acts” (vs 2); “look to the LORD and his strength” (vs 4); “remember the wonders he has done” (vs 5). How is the Lord praised? The Lord is praised by doing two things (1) remembering and (2) telling who he is, what he has done, and the promises he has made. And that’s exactly what this psalm of praise goes on to do.

Psalm 105:8,11 He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations… "To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit."

• Remember God’s promise

Around the year 2000 BC, the Lord came to Abraham and made him a promise. He promised three things. First, he promised that from Abraham’s family, the promised Savior would one day come. Second, he promised that Abraham’s family would turn into an entire nation. Third, he promised that the land in which Abraham lived would belong to those descendants. Those were pretty stunning promises considering that Abraham and his wife were old and had no children, and didn’t own even a single acre of the land they lived in. But remember what God did!

Psalm 105:12,14 When they were but few in number, few indeed, and strangers in it… He allowed no one to oppress them; for their sake he rebuked kings.

• Remember God’s protection

God protected Abraham’s family and the families of his son Isaac and grandson Jacob. They lived under the constant threat of danger as foreigners living in a foreign land. Yet the Lord continually protected them from powerful enemies and alliances. And remember how God protected their lives not just from their enemies but from natural disaster?

Psalm 105:16,17,20,21 He called down famine on the land and destroyed all their supplies of food; 17 and he sent a man before them-- Joseph, sold as a slave…The king sent and released him, the ruler of peoples set him free. 21 He made him master of his household, ruler over all he possessed

• Remember God’s plan

Jacob’s son Joseph was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. Joseph was taken to Egypt where he was imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. Once released, Joseph rose to be second in charge of all Egypt. He was put in charge of gathering food to prepare for a famine that would stretch throughout the Middle East affecting the family he had left behind. But the Lord had a plan. Do you remember?

Psalm 105:23-25 Then Israel entered Egypt; Jacob resided as a foreigner in the land of Ham. 24 The LORD made his people very fruitful; he made them too numerous for their foes, 25 whose hearts he turned to hate his people, to conspire against his servants.

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