March 12, 2020. Day 72: Praise the LORD!

Psalm 146:1-2. Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD, O my soul!
I will praise the LORD as long as I live;
    I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

Do you remember as a kid hearing that in Heaven we will praise God for eternity and thinking that that sounds so boring?

In Psalm 146, the psalmist says that he will praise the LORD as long as he lives. The Book of Psalms ends with five psalms of praise because that is exactly how our earthly life will end and our heavenly life will begin. Then we will live in never ending praise to God.

But praising God isn’t just the final thing we will do. It’s the ultimate thing we will do. Why do the last five psalms invite all creation into praise? Because to invite into praise is to invite into the fullness of life. All glory, joy, and happiness in life ultimately become praise. Praise is the ultimate expression of being alive.

Praise expressed and shared with others shares life. It shares glory. It shares joy. Praise is synergistic. Like singing in church, or doing the wave at the ball park, or dancing at a music festival. Praise is alive.

Contagious praise: The lone dancer turns into a dance party. (warning: language)

Because praise is the fullness of being alive, we are all constantly looking for something to praise. Praise isn’t just something we need, it’s something we need to do. And so we spend our days praising a lot of things and trying to share that praise with others (think about sharing posts on social media).

But there’s only one thing that can sustain our need to praise.

When God tells us to praise him, it’s not because he’s some kind of narcissistic egomaniac. It’s because he knows that we all need to praise something that is eternally worthy of praise. If our praise falls short of the eternal, infinitely glorious God then our joy will fade, and our lives will lack fulfillment. But if God’s glory and our happiness are the same thing, then our praise is where those two things will meet.

But maybe it’s hard for you to praise God today. To see him as your ultimate and infinite good. Has suffering prevented your praise? Have lesser glories stolen your praise but then quickly faded away?

Hebrews 2:10-11. 10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 For [God] who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why [Jesus] is not ashamed to call them brothers, 12 saying,

“I will tell of your name to my brothers;
    in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”

Here is the glorious truth: Jesus, our suffering savior, is also our praising savior. If you are struggling to praise God today keep these two things in mind:

First, you have a Savior-God who suffered for you. His death in your place is worthy of all your praise. Better than any game winning grand slam, epic concert, or change in status is the glory of Jesus Christ in conquering your sin and giving you his abundant life. Let this stir up in you a heart of praise.

And second, we have a Savior who is praising God for us. If you can’t muster any joy today, if you’re barely keeping your head above water, if the darkness is your only friend, if you are simply failing to praise God today, have no fear, Jesus is praising God in the midst of the congregation in your place.

“To live is Christ” gives us the greatest reason ever to praise God and it gives us the grace we need when we can’t praise God. Now in Christ our praise is complete even when our praise falls short, for Christ is praising in our place. Jesus will sing praises as long as he lives. In him may we find the fullness of joy needed to join in his life giving praise.

You

What do you praise? What makes it hard for you to praise God?

You in Christ

How does knowing that you are in Christ free your heart to praise God?

Christ in you

What is one specific way you join Jesus in praising God today?

Still possibly the best Christian music video ever made.

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