The Life of Praise, Sermon 05/19/2019

Ps. 148:1-14; Eph. 1:11-12

There is a Hassidic story about a tailor who comes to his rabbi and says, “I have a problem with my prayers. If someone comes to me and says, “Mendel, you are a wonderful tailor that makes me feel good. I feel appreciated. I go on feeling good for a whole week, even longer, on the strength of one compliment like that. But if people came to me every day, one after another, hour after hour and kept saying to me, “Mendel, you are a wonderful tailor, over and over again, it would drive me crazy. It would soon get to the point where I wouldn’t want to listen to them anymore. I would tell them to go away and let me do my work in peace. This is what bothers me about prayer. It seems to me that if we told God how wonderful he is once a week, even once every few weeks, and just one or two of us at a time, that’s all he would need. Is God so insecure that he needs us praising him every day, three times a day, morning, noon and night? It seems to me it would drive him crazy.”

The rabbi smiled and said, “Mendel, you are absolutely right. You have no idea how hard it is for God to listen to all of our praises, hour after hour, day after day. But God knows how important it is for us to utter that praise, so in his great love for us, he tolerates all of our prayers.”

Dear friends! God does not need our flattery, but we need to be thankful people and express our gratitude continually. The Scripture says, “Praise the Lord, O heavens! Praise him from the skies! Praise him, all his angels, all the armies of heaven. Praise him, sun and moon, and all you twinkling stars. Praise him, skies above. Praise him, vapors high above the clouds. Let everything he has made give praise to him. For he issued his command, and they came into being; he established them forever and forever. His orders will never be revoked” (Ps. 148:1-5).

All creation is like a majestic symphony or a great choir comprised of many harmonious parts which together offer up songs of praise. Although the Bible invites us to praise God, we often are not sure how to go about it. Here, several ways are suggested – with your voice, in music, in your actions. God enjoys his people. We should enjoy praising him as well.

The last five Psalms 146-150 overflow with praise. Each begins with “Hallelujah” or “Praise the Lord”. They show us where, why and how to praise God.

What does praise do?

1. Praise takes our minds off our problems and shortcomings, and focuses them on God.

2. Praise takes us from individual meditation to corporate worship.

3. Praise causes us to consider and appreciate God’s goodness.

4. Praise takes our perspective from the earthly to the heavenly.

In a way, the book of Psalms parallels our spiritual journey through life. It begins by presenting the reader with two roads; the way to life and the way to death. The godly person chooses the way to life, but still faces both; blessings and troubles, joy and grief, successes and obstacles. But through it all, God is at his side, guiding encouraging, comforting, caring. As the godly person’s life draws to an end, it becomes clear that he or she has chosen the right road. Knowing this will cause him or her to praise God for leading in the right direction and for the assurance of entering the perfect world God had in store for those who have faithfully followed him.

Sometimes our burdens seem more than we can bear and we wonder how we can go on. The psalmist stands at this bleak intersection of life’s road and points toward the Lord, the great burden-bearer. God is able to bear our unbearable burdens because he is great beyond discovery. He is kind, merciful, patient and loving and reaches out to us with compassion.

Jesus said, “Therefore, I say to you, don’t worry about your life, what you’ll eat or what you’ll drink, or about your body, what you’ll wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the sky. They don’t sow seed or harvest grain or gather crops into barns. Yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth much more than they are” Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life?” (Matt. 6:25-27).

It’s easy to complain to one another, when the situation is tough, instead of praising God’s power which controls everything. One of the Satan’s goals is to enforce complaints from the children of God and render useless our labor for the Lord. Satan tempts us to forget what God has done for us and demand more than what God has given us. He tries us to become dissatisfied with our lives and forces us to complain about everything. When our lives are filled with complaint, the Holy Spirit cannot inspire us with God’s grace and greatness. Unless our eyes are open to see God’s direction and guidance spiritually, our lives can never be satisfied. Our heart will be surrendered to Satan to take it. Satan tries to take us away from the Lord by our complaining and often our lives are ruined by it. He attacks a blaming heart. But praising the Lord helps us to be empowered to overcome our storms; difficulties and trials. In the Old Testament, Ps. 34, David said, “I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of his glories and grace.”

Dear friends! As Christians we have been given evidence enough of God’s power to bring good out of evil, hope out of despair, life out of death.

We have great power to praise God, no matter what the circumstances are. For Christ is with us and promises us that we are under his eternal care and his goodness.


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