Praise is a key part of worship
Psalm 146 starts: “Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul!”
Praise is an integral part of worship. Israel knew that. That is why we have the Book of Psalms in the Bible. One hundred fifty different psalms were used as part of the worship services for the Israelites. We find all sorts of psalms in the book.
There are psalms of assurance like Psalms 121, psalms of trust like the 23rd, psalms of anger and lament like 137, psalms of prayer, psalms of desperation, and psalms of wisdom. And there are so many psalms of praise which are sprinkled through the book, and it ends with psalms of praise.
Psalms 145 – 150 are all psalms of praise, and this psalm is one of those. Praise the Lord, oh my soul. All of us, all parts of us including the inmost parts, the spiritual parts, need to be part of that praise. The psalmist then promises I will praise the Lord all my life, I will sing praise to my God as long as I live, and we who sing this song should join in that promise. We will praise the Lord all our lives, as long as we shall live. The psalm goes on to tell us why.
We should praise Him because he is God. He is not man or mortal or fallible or weak or temporary. We cannot put our trust in princes or humans because they let us down, they are fallible, they are weak, they are temporary.
Think of all those things which let us down, our work, our financial advisor, our spouse, our parents, our children, our friends, our government, our church, at some point each has let us down in some way. We’re all human, we can’t entirely trust any of those. The only one thing we can trust is God, our Lord, Jesus Christ. Our Lord will not let us down.
The psalm goes on with some of the specifics that God does, and notice the emphasis is on justice and welfare, not on the haves, but on the have nots. God upholds the cause of the oppressed, gives food to the hungry, sets the prisoners free, gives sight to the blind, lifts up those who are bowed down. God watches over the alien, the orphan, the widow, tends to the ones who have fallen through the cracks. God deserves praise because he is a God of help, a God of compassion, who takes care of the downtrodden, the hungry, those in prison of whatever kind, maybe a prison of addiction, of despair.
And if these are God’s values and deserve our praise, they should be our values. If our help is in the Lord who does these things, we should do them as well. One good way to praise God is to live out our lives based on God’s values.
Part of our praise is to give offering and to give time and talents toward those values. Just one more dollar toward helping missions, one more can for FACES, one more hour of working for Habitat for Humanity or the Free Clinic, one more check in the offering, that one thing can make all the difference.
That is how you can praise the Lord, not only in worship but in your lives as you do your work and live your life. The Lord reigns forever, Your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the Lord.
REV. DALE BROWN is the pastor of Cumberland and Guinea Presbyterian churches. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.