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What the Bible says about Praise
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Praise can be offered in several different forms: singing, playing musical instruments, dancing, speaking, or praying (Psalm 146-150). God enjoys them all, provided they are based upon spiritual truths and principles and are presented in humility. We have an opportunity to praise God in song each week in our worship service. It is designed to put us in a joyful, thankful, and humble frame of mind so that we will be more receptive to the instruction given that day.

As a spiritual sacrifice, praise is a specific duty that we as a royal priesthood in training are required to perform. "You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (I Peter 2:9). "Praises" is the Greek word aretai which means "virtues" and "excellencies." When we praise God, we proclaim His virtues, showing the excellencies of all that He does.

Offering up the spiritual sacrifice of praise to God is not something to be taken lightly. It is the duty of God's spiritual priests to offer praise continually and with a sincere and dedicated attitude. There are innumerable attributes and characteristics for which we may praise the Almighty God of heaven. For example, the Eternal's purity and righteousness, which are "the beauty of holiness" (II Chronicles 20:21).

The number of things for which we can praise the Eternal God is unlimited. The more time we spend communicating with God, the more our eyes are opened to His attributes. If we allow ourselves to be separated from God because of sin, as a result of neglecting our spiritual lives, we will find it hard to recognize and appreciate the attributes and characteristics of God. Our mental attitude is critically important in properly praising the Eternal. Without the right attitude our praises are unacceptable to the Almighty, but acceptable sacrifices of praise are pleasing to God.

The spiritual sacrifice of praise is an act of offering to God acknowledgement of His attributes! It is an act of spiritual worship that helps us to stay focused on Him. Our duty as a royal priesthood is to continually offer the spiritual sacrifice of praise to God.

Martin G. Collins
The Sacrifice of Praise

Related Topics: Praise | Priesthood, New Testament | Sacrifice


 

Psalm 23:6

This psalm began with the sheep, as it were, bragging across the fence to his neighbor. Through the course of the psalm, we went through the cycle of a year, and in this last verse, we find ourselves back again at the home ranch. The sheep is speaking about his shepherd's house, which is not up on the high tableland but down where the home ranch is.

The psalm began with a buoyant, "The LORD is my shepherd!" and it closes with an equally buoyant, positive note. The sheep is utterly satisfied. He is saying, "Boy, I love it here! Nothing will get me out of this outfit! You see, I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever."

We have come full circle with the sheep giving a statement of composure and contentment. In Ephesians 2:19, the house is defined as the family of God, of which Jesus is the Head.

Do our neighbors see us as being contented, happy, at peace? Do they see the effects of our intimate relationships with God in our lives? Are we good witnesses for His way? That is the question we are to ask ourselves as the psalm ends.

The sheep proclaims, "I will dwell in the presence of the LORD forever," concluding this poem of praise and thanksgiving of the sheep for his shepherd. The sheep had experienced life in the shepherd's care, and he wanted more of it! That thought should be a guiding beacon for us the remainder of our lives, as long as they might be—that it is our fervent desire to dwell in the presence of the Lord always.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Psalm 23 (Part 3)

Psalm 107:21-22

Thankfulness is offered as a spiritual sacrifice. It is given in combination with other spiritual sacrifices. As a spiritual sacrifice, thanksgiving can be offered in the form of a prayer and/or praise. Prayer, praise, and thanksgiving are almost inseparable, and they are most often offered together. Thankfulness is a peace offering (Leviticus 7:11-13). It produces peace (I Timothy 2:1-2).

Martin G. Collins
Thankfulness

Proverbs 31:29

Proverbs 31:29 illustrates how a husband praises his wonderful wife. Husbands need to ask themselves, "When was the last time I told my wife she's the best?" If we desire an excellent wife, we must treat her as if she already is one. Then watch the miracle happen!

Men are often experts at finding fault, at discovering what was not done just right. We think we are helping our mate to be a better wife by constantly pointing out these things. Yet just the opposite happens! Instead, we must try to find ways to praise, honor, encourage, and promote growth and joy in the hearts of our wives. We need to pray for God to help us love our wives as Jesus loves the church, giving Himself for her, and presenting her to Himself as being without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5:25-30). Are we without spot or wrinkle? The lesson here is obvious!

Staff
A Matter of Honor

Related Topics: Honor | Praise


 

Amos 5:21-24

It appears that Israel kept God's holy days, or thought they did. These verses contain three essential elements of worship: festivals, sacrifice, and praise. And God in disgust cries, "I don't want any of them!" Their worship, though it was done in His honor and in His name, repulsed Him. It was repugnant to Him.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The World, the Church, and Laodiceanism

Luke 2:11-14

The title "Christ the Lord" would probably have been said as "Messiah Adonai" in the Aramaic that these shepherds spoke. This is a not-so-subtle intimation that this newborn child was not only the promised Messiah, but also the One known as "the Lord" in the Old Testament. The angel is not merely announcing the birth of a special baby in Bethlehem but that God had been born as a human being (Matthew 1:23; John 1:14)!

In verses 13-14, Luke writes: "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!'" Here appears another BOOM! in the evangelist's narrative. Suddenly, there was not just one angel in the glory of the Lord, but a whole host of them all around the quivering shepherds. Not only were they visible, they were singing as only angels can, praising God. Their presence heightens the importance of the announcement.

The angels are obviously overjoyed that this greatly anticipated event in God's plan had finally taken place. Another huge step in God's purpose had been accomplished. Note, too, that this was not just a small, heavenly choir but the heavenly host that appeared in full force. God's vast army came to add their voices to the announcement that their great Captain had just been born!

The hymn they sang, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" requires some explanation. Glory is the Greek word dóxa, which means "praise, recognition, honor, worship"—the height of reverence and adulation that we could give or say to God. "In the highest" is a somewhat controversial phrase in that, as a superlative, it could modify either "glory" or "God." Thus, it could refer to the highest glory or the highest God (or even God in the highest heaven). There is a possibility that in the Aramaic, the words the angels sang may have been "Glory to the Most High God," since that is a common title of God in the Old Testament.

They also sing of peace on earth. One of Christ's titles is "The Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6), and He who had just been born would eventually bring peace on earth. He would do it first through His sacrifice, making peace between God and sinful man (Romans 5:1), and later He would return in glory, bringing peace to the earth with the sword (Revelation 19:11-21). He will have to impose peace at His second coming, but once He does, the earth will have real peace. Only through the birth of God's Son in Bethlehem could the process of bringing true peace to the earth begin.

The final words in the angels' song are "goodwill toward men," a long-disputed phrase. However, most modern experts in Greek agree that the whole clause should be translated, "Peace on earth among men of His good pleasure." This implies that God was bringing peace and joy especially and specifically to those to whom He had granted favor or extended grace.

During the Passover sermon Jesus gave His disciples, He says, "Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you" (John 14:27). His disciples, numbering a mere 120 (Acts 1:15), were the only ones who could really experience peace because they comprised the extent of those with whom God had found favor. Yet, within days, thousands more had been converted, and God's peace began to expand. Real peace, a fruit of God's Spirit (Galatians 5:22), can only be produced in those in whom God's Spirit dwells (Romans 8:14). Right now, members of God's church are the only people on earth who can really have godly peace on earth because "unto us a Child is born. Unto us a Son is given" (Isaiah 9:6).

We are the "men of His good pleasure." Jesus tells His disciples in Luke 12:32: "Do not fear little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." We are the ones who have this favor from God. The angels' song is a declaration to us that God is with us, just as He was with Mary when He overshadowed her (Luke 1:35). As spiritual Israel and spiritual Zion, we are the apple of His eye (Deuteronomy 32:9-10; Zechariah 2:7-8), and He will do all He can to bring us to salvation and into His Kingdom.

These passages mean so much more than what we usually see in a Christmas pageant, a nativity scene out on the town common, or hear in a catchy jingle. What we see in these announcements are elements of the way God works, and they should strengthen our faith in Him and what He is doing. They should solidify our hope in the resurrection because, not only did the Father bring His Son into the world just as prophesied, but He also guided Jesus through a perfect human lifetime to His sacrificial death for us all, resurrecting Him from the grave exactly three days and three nights later, as Jesus had said was the only sign of His Messiahship (John 2:18-22).

That glorious Holy One ascended to heaven and now sits at the right hand of God as our High Priest. He is the Head of the church and our soon-coming King. He promises us, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5), as well as, "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also" (John 14:3). He now awaits the word from His Father to return to this earth to set up His Kingdom. What great confidence we can have that all this will happen as planned, and we will be part of it!

As the angels sang to the shepherds in the field, "Glory to the Most High God and peace on earth among those He favors!"

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Birth of Jesus Christ (Part Two): Nativity

Philippians 4:6

Our prayers should reflect our gratitude toward God for what He has done in our lives and what He gives to us. Our everyday words and thoughts should reflect a positive mindset of hope and joy in thankfulness towards God our Father for His great plan of salvation and our parts in it.

Thankfulness is a form of contentment, or we could view it as peace of mind or tranquility. A truly thankful person is usually not an individual who worries a lot. Being thankful puts our thoughts on God, rather than on our problems. In Colossians 3:15, Paul writes encouragingly, "Let the peace of God rule in your hearts to which also you were called in one body and be thankful." The more we allow God's peace to be in control, the more settled and more thankful we will become. On the flip side, the more thankful we are, the more God's peace will rule our hearts and minds.

In our society, many problems like discouragement, depression, anger, and other mental and emotional troubles are treated with chemicals and drugs. These medicines are designed to offer some form of relief. Some work and some do not. Many have side effects that, in some cases, are worse than the original problem. Some are addictive. For us, though, thankfulness and praising God are effective and beneficial antidotes for discouragement, depression, and anger.

Supplication with thanksgiving will enliven our prayer life. It will lift us up and give us a more positive perspective. A thankful attitude will help to erase any doubts we may have as we pray, and it will also decrease uncertainty in our lives in general because we know where our help comes from (see Psalm 121:1-8). Proper thankfulness will help us increase our faith in God because we will constantly be relating to and reflecting on Him.

God is always deserving of our praise or thanks—indeed, we cannot thank Him enough. How does our heavenly Father feel when we express only a qualified "thank you" occasionally or not at all? How does He feel, knowing that He has done what is the absolute and perfect best for us, and we just shrug it off? How do we feel when this type of unthankful behavior happens to us? Our thanksgiving to God should be so effusive that He will never feel that way!

Ingratitude, whether passive or active, is a tool that Satan can use to turn us away from God and His Family. By succumbing to thanklessness, we can allow him to plant us as tares within the church and spread our ingratitude to others. A steady outflow of gratitude to God will knock this weapon from the Devil's hand.

Such a constant attitude of thankfulness and earnest thanksgiving, no matter the circumstances, is a gift from God to us. Gratitude spreads a healing balm among those with whom we fellowship, and it will help to speed us along the path to God's Kingdom.

Staff
Daily Thanksgiving

Hebrews 13:15

Praising God is a spiritual sacrifice. Sincerely offering praise to God is an acceptable sacrifice that pleases Him. Praise is a form of spiritual worship that helps us stay focused on God.

It was the continual responsibility of the Levitical priesthood "to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord, and likewise at evening" (I Chronicles 23:30). Also, David organized the Levites in "their duties (to praise and serve before the priests) as the duty of each day required" (II Chronicles 8:14). Whole families of the tribe of Levi were set apart to praise God in the Temple through vocal and instrumental music (I Chronicles 25).

King David set us an example. He praised God seven times each day (Psalm 119:164). The principle here is that we should be praising God continually or be prepared to do so at any time, not a specific number of times a day. Oftentimes, if we do something by rote, its meaning and sincerity suffer greatly.

Martin G. Collins
The Sacrifice of Praise

Hebrews 13:15

The Bible links thanks and praise so closely that they almost seem to be the same thing. They are not, but they are closely related. The reason they often appear together is that praise grows out of thanksgiving. The process goes from being grateful to God to extolling, lauding, commending, and acclaiming Him for His works, purpose, and nature.

Notice that Paul describes them as a sacrifice, giving up some cherished thing for the sake of another. We must give up time, energy, and effort to think about, thank, and praise God for the good He has done. We could have used this time, energy, and effort on ourselves or taken it for granted as owed to us as our right or privilege. Perhaps this magnifies what is wrong with Thanksgiving in America. Though not pagan, Americans still do not keep it in honor of God, as their conduct shows. It is thus a hollow shell of what it could be and should be to us.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Thanksgiving or Self-Indulgence?

Hebrews 13:15-16

For many of us, the ability, opportunity, desire, and obligation to follow the first half of this admonition occurs without question in our lives. After all, praising and giving thanks to God is a Christian's duty. For some, the harder part is taking Christianity one step further, sacrificing ourselves in service, fellowship, and communication with others, especially those outside our "community," be it a group designated by age, experience, likes or dislikes, location, or any other boundary that applies to us personally.

This willingness to give of ourselves must be a key piece in linking one generation to another. It is and must be a dual obligation: the older teaching the younger, as well as sharing experiences widely, not just with those we are most comfortable with.

Staff
Precious Human Treasures

Revelation 4:8-11

In Revelation we see that a main theme in the Kingdom at the throne of God is thankfulness. This song of the angels, elders, and the four living creatures shows the reverence that all have in God's presence. There are seven aspects of praise listed here in this spiritual worship of God. Seven signifies totality and completeness. Thankfulness comprises part of this list. In great contrast to this present evil world's gross ingratitude, God has revealed to those who will listen and act that thankfulness is a duty to which the elect of God are bound. Praise and thank God for all His works and for providing brethren by whom we can be encouraged. By developing a thankful attitude now, we prepare ourselves for the soon-coming Kingdom of God.

Martin G. Collins
Thankfulness


Find more Bible verses about Praise:
Praise {Nave's}
Praise {Torrey's}
 




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