Today is a Praisey Day! Yes, in much of the world it’s a crazy day. But I, along with so many throughout the generations, have found that the best way to handle the craze is with praise! Praise is our response to who God is – and especially who He is to us, whom He counts as the apple of His eye. Praise exults the Lord; and when He is exalted, our problems are seen in another light.
When I was a little boy, there were a few big scary dogs in my neighborhood. Knowing where they lived would cause me to take an alternate route to where I wanted to go. When my dad was with me however, I didn’t have to avoid that section of the street. Suddenly that same dog – same size, same loud bark, same big teeth – was no longer looked upon with fear. That dog, even in my young brain, was now seen in comparison to my dad’s strength, my dad’s ability, my dad’s love for me, and his commitment to care for me.
It can be disheartening as we listen to the news and try to process all this information about the virus, about the stress on the health care system, and about its effect on the economy. Already some are personally experiencing employment changes and financial pressures. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the enormity of it all. Just like a little boy facing a hundred pound German Shepherd who doesn’t want to be friends.
Yes, this whole thing IS too big for us. But it’s not too big for our God who asks, “Is my arm too short?” (Numbers 11:23). Isaiah the prophet answers, “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. (Isaiah 59:1). It’s time to refocus. To get our eyes on the One to whom nothing – absolutely nothing – is impossible. Praise helps us do that.
Praise is more than simply understanding, however. Praise is expressive. Psalm 150 exhorts “everything that has breath” to praise the Lord, with voices, instruments, and even dance. There are actually 7 words in the Old Testament Hebrew that translate as “praise”. For a great and fun explanation of these, check out the following short video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvgY3tukrfA.
Now . . . I’m not advocating dancing around the room just to do it, or in an attempt to get God to notice (been there, done that). Again, praise must be a genuine response to the revelation of who God is. Sometimes the expression of praise will be silent awe, even falling to our knees or prostrating ourselves before Him. But surely if joy wells up within you, and you feel like shouting or clapping, don’t simply turn it off because “I just don’t do those things”. I know a man who experienced a profound deliverance from fear as he, a normally quiet person, shouted praises to God.
All that to say this. First, get a good look at the Lord we belong to. Read Psalm 145 and 146. Read Matthew 6:25-34. Remember the one who demonstrated His love for you in that while you were yet a sinner, He died for you. Prayerfully contemplate these things in God’s presence. Let Him speak to your heart through them. And open your mouth to praise and thank Him for who He is. Let your own ears hear you express your trust and confidence in our awesome God. Put on some worship music and sing along. Get a fresh perspective as you hold the hand of Him who walks with you.