Read: Psalm 119:169-176
Consider: What struck me in this last section of Psalm 119 is the psalmist’s words ‘May my lips overflow with praise‘. It is interesting that in this part of the psalm the word ‘praise’ is used twice (verses 171 and 175). That in itself might not be worthy of note, but did you know that the word ‘praise’ is mentioned 314 times in the whole Bible, 276 times in the OT and 38 times in the NT. Delving further reveals that the word ‘praise’ is mentioned 178 times in the Psalms. So if you want to read about praise, it is worth reading the book of Psalms.
Praise should be a very natural thing for us to do in light of what God has done. Isaiah puts this very well: Lord, you are my God; I will exalt and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago (Isaiah 25:1).
For us as Christians we have much to praise God for. In 1 Peter 1:3-4 we read: Praise be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians says: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). Praising God in good times is very natural.
Not only is praise a natural consequence of us understanding the extent of our salvation and God’s blessings, it is part of the reason God called us. As Peter puts it in 1 Peter 2:9 – But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
While praising God in the good times can be very easy, praising him when things are tough can be much harder. Despite this, we are still called to praise God even in these times. Paul says: Praise be to … God … the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). Peter extends this to suffering for our faith and he puts it this way: However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name (1 Peter 4:16).
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that openly confess his name (Hebrews 13:15).
Pray: Father, may our lives overflow with praise. Forgive us for thinking that we should only praise you when things are going well for us. May we also be willing to offer you praise when it might seem unnatural to do so, particularly in difficult times. Amen