Why We Praise the Lord – Inspiration from the High Calling

Praise him for his mighty works;
praise his unequaled greatness!

Each week, millions of Christians throughout the world gather together in order to offer praise to God. Moreover, we praise God in our private devotions and, in many cases, throughout the day as we celebrate God’s goodness to us. I figure that I have spent over five months of my waking life speaking or singing praise to God.

Why? Why is it so important to praise the Lord? Why should we do it?

Of course, the most obvious answer points to the beginning of Psalm 150: “Praise the Lord!” (150:1). The Hebrew of this verse is halelu yah, which we know as the word Hallelujah. This is a plural imperative that would be rendered in Texanese: “All y’all praise the Lord.” Scripture commands us to praise God, so we should do it.

Yet, Psalm 150 provides more than simply a command to praise the Lord. The second verse gives us a partial rationale for our praise: “Praise him for his mighty works; praise his unequaled greatness” (150:2). First of all, we praise God for what he has done, for his deeds of power. These would include both creation and salvation, in all of their dimensions. Second, we praise God, not for what he has done, but for who he is, for his extraordinary character, for his “unequaled greatness.” To be sure, God’s mighty works reveal his greatness, as does his self-revelation in Scripture.

As Christians, we believe that God’s mightiest work is centered in Jesus Christ. In Jesus, God became human, making himself known to us, teaching us about his kingdom, bearing our sin on the cross, and breaking the power of death through the resurrection. Moreover, in Jesus we glimpse God’s unequaled greatness. We see that God’s greatness includes his willingness to become human, to serve, to suffer, and to die.

The more we reflect on God, on this great works and his unparalleled greatness, the more we will be inspired to praise him, and the more our praise will be glorifying to God because it will be filled with the truth of what he has done and who he is.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: What helps you to praise the Lord? What hinders your praise? How might you praise the Lord today?

PRAYER:

Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven;
To His feet thy tribute bring.
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Evermore His praises sing:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Praise the everlasting King.

Praise Him for His grace and favor
To our fathers in distress.
Praise Him still the same as ever,
Slow to chide, and swift to bless.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Glorious in His faithfulness.

Fatherlike He tends and spares us;
Well our feeble frame He knows.
In His hands He gently bears us,
Rescues us from all our foes.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Widely yet His mercy flows.

Frail as summer’s flower we flourish,
Blows the wind and it is gone;
But while mortals rise and perish
Our God lives unchanging on,
Praise Him, Praise Him, Hallelujah
Praise the High Eternal One!

Angels, help us to adore Him;
Ye behold Him face to face;
Sun and moon, bow down before Him,
Dwellers all in time and space.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Praise with us the God of grace. Amen.

“Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven,” by Henry F. Lyte, 1834. Public domain.
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This devotional comes from The High Calling: Everyday Conversations about Work, Life, and God (www.thehighcalling.org). You can read my Daily Reflections there, or sign up to have them sent to your email inbox each day. This website contains lots of encouragement for people who are trying to live out their faith in the workplace. The High Calling is associated with Laity Lodge, where I work.


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