“Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty firmament! Praise Him for His mighty acts; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness! . . . Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!” Psalm 150:1-2 and 6 (NKJV)
The Psalmist David is one of my many favorite Bible characters. I love to study his life and times; learning all I can, and hopefully taking to heart some of the lessons that his life teaches. David was known as a “man after God’s own heart” and his relationship with God is something to admire and seek to imitate. While his life was far from perfect (that’s why I can relate to him!) and his relationship with God wasn’t perfect either (so glad that God doesn’t require that of us!), David set his heart on this one thing, and that to seek after His God with all of his heart. I love that. That’s the kind of life example that I desire to follow. There is something though that really impresses me about David. It stands out to me every time I read about David or hear a sermon about him. Throughout his lifetime, David had a heart that wasn’t afraid to burst forth in bold praise to his great God. David chose to praise God!
It didn’t matter whether David was tending his father’s sheep in the field, relaxing at home with his family, facing the giant that no one else wanted to fight, singing before King Saul, running for his life from someone who wanted to kill him, fighting the enemy on the battlefield, encouraging his soldiers as they returned tired from war, feasting at the fully loaded banqueting table, or pursing his kingly duties from the regal palace. One would often find David offering up his praise to God. David chose to praise God!
The Book of Psalms is full of David’s songs of praise to His mighty God. Psalm 150 is just one example; one reminder of a heart full of praise to a worthy and holy God. There are so many ways to praise God – quietly in our hearts, loudly with our voice lifted high, upon any instrument of choice, in a solitary place or in a crowd. We can praise God. There are many reasons to praise God – for who He is, for what He has done, for victories won, for good news received, for answers to prayer, for His creation round about us, for any reason at all. We can praise God. There are different places where we can burst forth in praise – in the sanctuary, in our homes, in our workplace, out in the middle of God’s creation, from a hospital bed, in a jail cell, from any place we go. We can praise God.
But, this is the part of David’s example of praise that gets me; David chose to praise God! Praise for David was an intentional choice! It didn’t matter where he was, he chose to praise God. It didn’t matter what he was doing, he chose to praise God. It didn’t matter who he was with, he chose to praise God. Good time, bad time, joyful or sad time, in time of peace or war, David chose to praise God.
I must choose to praise God too!
Praise comes easy when things are going great, right? Well, for me it does. Praise is good when God blesses me with abundant things. Praise is an outstanding way to thank God for His answers to prayer. Praise is great when I gather with fellow believers and together in one spirit we lift up our praise to God in worship of Him. But what about when things aren’t so good?
I must choose to praise God! In every situation of life, I choose whether to praise or not.
But, do you see what I’m saying? Praising God is our daily choice. It is a moment by moment, all throughout the day kind of choice. Praise should never be influenced by those around us, but it should be instrumentally instructed by the contents of our heart. Praise should never be dependent upon our current circumstances being good, or right, or even fair. Praise is not based on our feelings at the moment. We can feel perfectly lousy, and still choose to open our heart, lift up our voice and burst forth with praise to the God who loves and cares about us.
Praising God is a choice! It is our privilege! It is our way to acknowledge that our great God is present with us (never to leave us nor forsake us!) in the midst of our circumstances. Praising God is a means of giving thanks for all the great things God has done for us, has given to us, and has answered on our behalf. Praising God is boldly declaring His faithfulness, His greatness, His power, His majesty to the world around us. It is an honor to lift up our heart, our voice, our hands, our very being in praise and worship to a God whose heart we seek after.
“Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord!”
I choose to praise God today!