A Primer on Praising God
by Jacob Hudgins
“Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens!”(Psalm 150:1).
The book of Psalms closes with this call to praise. As Israel gathers to worship, many thoughts are worthy of focus, but praise cannot be neglected. What can we learn here about praising God?
Praising God is a deliberate choice. “Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens!”(Psalm 150:1). The psalmist calls on us to praise God because this is something we must actively do. This will mean interrupting our focus on ourselves and attending to God and his things in a spirit of humility. Things important to me will remain undone because God deserves to be praised.
Praising God requires attention to his works. “Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness!”(Psalm 150:2). When we praise a person, we describe them—he is funny, he is kind. But these descriptions usually involve specific instances that demonstrate these attributes. So it is with God. What has he done to deserve this praise? What shows his greatness? How has he been faithful? How has he touched my life?
Praising God is part of our reason for being. “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!”(Psalm 150:6). Even our breath is a gift from God (see Gen 2:7, Dan 5:23), a reminder of our mortality and the fact that we did not create ourselves. Our mere existence gives praise to God, and when we voluntarily praise him with our mouths and hearts, we fulfill our purpose.
Praising God involves all that we have. “Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!”(Psalm 150:3-5). This is not the space to discuss musical instruments in the era of the New Testament. These descriptions refer to the instruments used at the time. However, the point is clearly in the wide variety of instruments. The psalmist urges us to put all that we have—all that our gifts, time, energy, and possessions—into praising God. These verses describe a mind determined to praise with whatever is found at hand.
Have you praised God today?