Praising the Lord when things are going well is not difficult. But sometimes it’s not so easy. I used to wonder why the phrase “sacrifice of praise” was used several times in Psalms and Jeremiah. Here it is in Hebrews 13:15: “Let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.”
The words “sacrifice” and “praise” don’t seem to go together. Sacrifice involves pain and cost and self-denial. I have come to realize that sometimes in order to praise God we have to give up our self-pity, our focus on pain, our tendency to rattle off meaningless phrases. True praise puts aside our selfish desires and focuses on God. Just God.
I wish I could sing praises to the Lord in a beautiful voice. I’ve had to give that up. But I can still praise Him with a beautiful heart. If I could sing a song of praise today, it would be Ken Medema’s song, “Words of Praise.” He sang it last week in one of his concerts from home on facebook. It was so meaningful! It’s about praising God at all times. Some of the lines are: “When I hear the children laughing When a baby cries…When my disappointment turns to understanding….. When the life I wanted gives way to one much better…When a bad beginning becomes a joyful end.” The conclusion is that praising God is the bottom line in all of these situations.
Is your heart full of praise today? Not just thankfulness for all that the Lord has given us. And that’s a lot! But praise for who He is and that He, in His infinite holiness has chosen to give us eternal life. That’s enough to make us want to sing, isn’t it?
Click here to listen to Ken’s song as I used to sing it.