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PRAISE HIS HOLY NAME

August 21, 2013

PRAISE
PRAISE HIS HOLY NAME: Psalm 113:1 
PRAISE the LORD! (Hallelujah!) PRAISE, O servants of the LORD. PRAISE the NAME of the LORD. 2 Let the NAME of the LORD be PRAISED from this time forth and forever. 3 From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, the NAME of the LORD is to be PRAISED.

Praise permeates this passage. Indeed in verse 1 the psalmist immediately issues a command in triplicate for a resounding chorus of PRAISE to the majestic Triune God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit! Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him! As Matthew Henry wisely observes the psalmist’s “invitation is very pressing!” Indeed, “Praise is becoming (befitting, suited, appropriate) to the upright (in heart).” (Ps 33:1note) We should always be ready to “Praise the LORD” doing so not out of drudgery but delight “because the LORD is good.” We should frequently “Sing praises to His NAME, for it is lovely.” (Ps 135:3note) “O may Your glorious NAME be blessed and exalted above all blessing and PRAISE! You Alone are the LORD.” (Neh 9:5-6) Let (all creation – Ps 148:7-12note) PRAISE the NAME of the LORD, for His NAME alone is exalted. His glory is above earth and heaven. (Ps 148:13note) And so “Te Deum Laudamus” – “We praise Thee, O God.”

Beloved, in the sphere of spiritual disciplines, one of our loftiest pursuits is to offer praise to the Most High God! In fact Paul says the supreme purpose of Christ’s gift of redemption is for the redeemed to “bring praise and glory to God.” (Eph 1:12NLTnote) Indeed, the delightful duty and precious privilege of praise is one of the chief lessons of the entire book of Psalms (Hebrew title = “the book of praises”). A W Pink wrote that “Praising and adoring God is the noblest part of the saint’s work on earth, as it will be his chief employ in heaven.” Remember that all men praise what they value highly! If Christ is our heart’s highest prize, His praise will be our greatest joy. This begs the question — Am I living a lifestyle of praise like David who declared “I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart.” (Ps 9:1note) Do my lips and life sing “PRAISE the LORD! (Hallelujah)” knowing that “it is good to sing PRAISE to our God, for it is pleasant and His PRAISE is fitting (appropriate)?” (Ps 147:1note) Recall that Paul commands us to continually (not rarely) “let our mind dwell (meditate, take inventory)” on “anything worthy of praise!” (Phil 4:8note) How fitting that David, a man after God’s own heart (which we all desire to be), meditated frequently on the supremacy of His God, Who Alone is “worthy of praise” and this stirred David to “call upon the LORD, Who is worthy to be praised.” (Ps 18:3note) And to declare “Because Thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips will praise Thee.” (Ps 63:3note) Spurgeon asks “Does not all nature around me praise God? (cf Ps 98:78note) If I were silent, I should be an exception to the universe. Does not the thunder praise Him as it rolls like drums in the march of the God of armies? (cp Ps 68:33NLTnote) Do not the mountains praise Him when the woods upon their summits wave in adoration? (cp Isa 55:12) Does not the lightning write His name in letters of fire? Has not the whole earth a voice? (cp Ps 96:11-12NLTnote) And shall I, can I, silent be?” (cp Lk 19:40) Pithy, convicting questions indeed!

Katherine Mansfield was a brilliant writer but she did not believe in a personal God. When she moved to Switzerland for health reasons, she found herself rejoicing in the beauty of God’s creation, the  refreshing mountain air and the majesty of the Alps filling her with a desire to praise, prompting her to write “If only one could make some small grasshoppery sound of praise to someone–thanks to someone. BUT WHO?” After finishing a new novel she wrote “Laid down the pen after writing ‘Thanks be to God.’ I wish there was a God. I am longing to (1) praise him (2) thank him.” Matthew Henry wrote “What a pity it is that this earth, which is so full of God’s goodness, should be so empty of His praises, and that of the multitudes that live upon His bounty there are so few that live to His glory!” How sad for someone created in the image of God to feel a need to offer praise for the beauty of creation and yet not know their Creator and not be able to “Praise His glorious Name forever…Amen, and Amen.” (Ps 72:19note) How privileged are those who know Him as Abba! How our love for Him as our dear Abba should stir in our soul a passion for praise to His Holy Name! A Puritan prayerfully expressed his soul’s desire this way “May my lips be well-tuned cymbals sounding Thy praise. Help me, defend me, until from praying ground I pass to the realm of unceasing praise.” (Valley of Vision) Charles Wesley cried “O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer’s praise!”

Spurgeon says that “PRAISE is an essential offering at all the solemn feasts of the people of God. Prayer is the myrrh, and praise is the frankincense, and both of these must be presented unto the Lord. How can we pray for mercy for the future if we do not bless God for His love in the past? The Lord hath wrought all good things for us, let us therefore adore Him. All other praise is to be excluded, the entire devotion of the soul must be poured out unto Jehovah only.” As an old Puritan wrote how blessed we are when “prayer turns wholly into praise (and our supplications are swallowed up in praise), and all we can do is to adore and love Thee.” (Valley of Vision)

Note that in Ps 113:1note the psalmist says it is God’s “servants” (believers) who praise Him. Indeed, “You who fear the LORD, praise Him!” (Ps 22:23note) As Spurgeon says “If God’s own servants do not PRAISE His Name, who will? We are the people near unto Him, and should be heartiest in our loving gratitude. Prayer is now a privilege, and PRAISE is a holiday. To obey (the command to praise Him) is heaven; to give to the cause of God (praise) is a banquet.” And so the psalmist asks us to ponder the question — “Who can ever praise Him enough?” (Ps 106:2NLTnote) Praise is promoted by pondering His majestic character, especially as revealed in His many glorious Names. If you are not regularly praising His Name, perhaps you are not enjoying His presence enough. C S Lewis said “I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because praise does not not merely express but completes the enjoyment. It is its appointed consummation. It is not simply to complement that lovers keep telling one another how beautiful they are. The delight itself is incomplete until it is expressed.” As Steven Cole says “If we delight in a beautiful sunset, we want to extol its beauty to others. Our enjoyment of it spontaneously overflows into praise. Our enjoyment of Who God is and what He has done for us will also erupt in heartfelt praise.” “Praise flows out of a heart that delights in God, a heart that knows God, a heart that is familiar with His goodness and character.” (Padrick)

Note also that each call to Praise the LORD in Ps 113:1note is in the form of an imperative (and in the Greek praise is present tense calling for a “lifestyle of praise!”). And so praise to Yahweh should not be an occasional afterthought, but our Spirit filled (enabled) ever present, pleasurable practice! Indeed it is fitting then that “Praise the LORD!” like “divine bookends” begins and ends Psalm 113 (Ps 113:1 and Ps 113:9), providing us a pattern for a daily practice of praising Him “from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same.” John Calvin said that “Praise is the best of all sacrifices and the true evidence of godliness.” However, Erwin Lutzer cautions us to be aware that “You don’t learn to praise in a day, especially since you may have been complaining for years! New habits take time to develop. But you can begin today, and practice tomorrow, and the next day, until it becomes part of your inmost being.” As the psalmist says “Seven times a day I praise Thee, because of Thy righteous ordinances.” (Ps 119:164note) What effect might such a Spirit enabled lifestyle (“filled with the Spirit” speaking forth psalms. Eph 5:18-19note), daily robed in “the garment of praise” (Isa 61:3KJV), have on the state of our soul? Surely a frequent heavenly uplook will radically impact our daily earthly outlook! J I Packer adds that “Praising energizes and renews praying.” Paul Bilheimer writes that “Praise decentralizes self.” Indeed, praise is looking up which fosters a life of worship (bowing down)! Praise deepens intimacy with God, for Ps 22:3KJVnote says He inhabits the praises of His people. Josh McDowell says “The more you praise God for being Who He is—a loving God Who judges righteously—the more you can act upon your belief of what He is—eternal love.” Finally, it is notable that the word PRAISE occurs over 300 times in the Bible, and the word PRAYER occurs about 135 times. While we can’t truly compare the value of praise versus prayer (or even say there is always a significant difference), it is impossible to overestimate the uplifting power of praise in our lives!

In light of the command to praise and the precious value of praise, could I challenge you (and myself) to “discipline yourself for godliness” (1Ti 4:7note) by (at the very least) beginning and ending each new day with a “Holy Hallel” in your heart and on your lips? Paul encourages us with the truth that godly disciplines such as this are profitable “since they hold promise for the present life and also for the life to come!” (1Ti 4:8note). Praise Him with your lips. Praise Him with your life. Praise Him with your substance. Praise Him with every faculty and capacity.

Lord give us a heart like David who declared “Every day I will bless Thee, and I will PRAISE Thy NAME forever and ever. I will extol the LORD at all times. His PRAISE will always be on my lips.” Amen (Ps 145:2notePs 34:1note) Commenting on Ps 145:2 John Phillips writes that “David determined never to let a day go by without discovering some way to freight it down with praise. What a noble ambition for us to emulate–and all because David was looking forward to praising God forever and ever in yonder bright regions of joy. He wanted to be in practice.” Warren Wiersbe concurs writing “We will spend all eternity praising the greatness of our God, greatness (which) is unsearchable.” And so it follows that our praise shall be unending! To be sure, praise in this brief passing life is simply preparation for perpetual praise in eternity future. As Puritan John Boys put it “The servants of the Lord are to sing His praises in this life to the world’s end; and in the next life world without end.” Hallelujah!

PRAISE HIS HOLY NAME – “Praise the LORD, O my soul, all my inmost being, praise His holy NAME. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and never forget the good things He does for me.” (Ps 103:1note) “I will give thanks to the LORD according to His righteousness and will sing praise to the NAME of the LORD Most High.” (Ps 7:17note) “I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to Your NAME, O Most High.” (Ps 9:2note) I will tell of Your NAME to my brethren; In the midst of the congregation I will praise You. (Ps 22:22note) Sing praise to the LORD, you His godly ones, and give thanks to His holy NAME. (Ps 30:4note) “Like your NAME, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth….” (Ps 48:10note) “I will sing praise to Your NAME forever” (Ps 61:8anote) “Sing the glory of His NAME; Make His praise glorious.” (Ps 66:2note) “I will praise the NAME of God with song and magnify Him with thanksgiving.” (Ps 69:30note) “Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace; may the poor and needy praise your NAME.” (Ps 74:21note) “Let them praise Your great and awesome NAME; Holy is He.” (Ps 99:3note) “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His NAME.” (Ps 100:4note) “Praise the LORD! Praise the NAME of the LORD; Praise Him, O servants of the LORD” (Ps 135:1note) “My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD, and all flesh will bless His holy NAME forever and ever.” (Ps 145:21note)  Let them praise His NAME with dancing; Let them sing praises to Him with timbrel and lyre. (Ps 149:3note) Let them praise the NAME of the LORD, for He commanded and they were created. (Ps 148:5note)

“Through Him (Jesus our Great High Priest) let us continually (as our lifestyle) offer up a SACRIFICE OF PRAISE to God (the essence of real worship), that is, the fruit of lips (real, heartfelt, verbal praise out of our mouth as the fruit and overflow of our heart) that give thanks to His NAME. (Heb 13:15note) Joni Eareckson Tada reminds us that “A SACRIFICE OF PRAISE will always cost you something. It will be a difficult thing to do. It requires trading in our pride, our anger, and most valued of all, our human logic. We will be compelled to voice our words of praise firmly and precisely, even as our logic screams that God has no idea what He’s doing. Most of the verses written about praise in God’s Word were penned by men and women who faced crushing heartaches, injustice, treachery, slander, and scores of other intolerable situations.” John Piper agrees calling us to “praise God continually through good times and bad times—wherever our pilgrim journey takes us. There are not praise-God times and criticize-God times. There are only praise-God times. That doesn’t mean there are no tears. And it doesn’t mean there are no perplexities about the way God works. But it does mean that through tears and unanswered questions we praise the Lord. We speak well of Him. We don’t call Him into question. We submit to Him as wise and powerful and good.”

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow, Praise Him, all creatures here below, Praise Him above, ye heavenly host, Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. AMEN.

P – Personal – Praise nurtures intimacy with Abba
R – Read – Praise Him as you read the songs of Psalms
A – Always – Praise Him at all times, in all ways
 I  – In the Spirit – Praise Him filled with His Spirit
S – Sing – Praise Him with hymns, psalms, spiritual songs
E – Everywhere – Praise the Creator for His creation

INDEED – “Let everything that has breath PRAISE THE LORD. PRAISE THE LORD!” (Ps 150:6note)

Play Paul Wilbur’s beautiful rendition of PRAISE ADONAI
From the rising of the sun to the going down of the same…

Exposition of Psalm 113

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