Praising The Living God

By Wolfgang Schneider

Note of the author: This study was inspired by a teaching session conducted by Rev. Glenn Post during the Worship Seminar 1997, which we partly listened to on tape during our Wednesday night Bible Study sessions. Rev. Post serves in a Christian ministry close to New York City, USA, and we have had contacts and are conducting studies of biblical topics together for some time already.

A very vital and important aspect of our Christian walk is that we praise God, that we honour and praise the living God for what He is, for what He has done and continues to do.

Ephesians 1:3-5:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

That God did predestinate us to be His children and that He has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies, all that was God’s idea, that agreed with His will, it happened according to His good pleasure. And all that was for a great purpose:

Ephesians 1:6:
To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

God did all this that we now would be something to the praise of the glory of His grace! We now can praise God with our lives, he has “graced us (made us accepted)” in Christ so that we would be to His praise, to the praise of the glory of His grace which He extended to us.

Ephesians 1:11-14:
In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Two more times we are told that God’s purpose for His working and for showing forth His grace and mercy was that we now as redeemed people should be to His praise, to the praise of His glory, to the praise of His glorious grace which He extended to us.

1 Peter 2:5,9,10:
Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

We now are the elect, truly a royal priesthood which is to show forth to the world God’s gracious works. We are to speak of the grace which He has shown to us, and we are to praise Him and honour Him before all by speaking of His deeds and letting the praise for His mighty deeds be on our lips.

Praising God for all His goodness and for the great things which He has done and shown forth toward man is a matter which man should have been doing all the time. The Bible mentions in many places how God was praised. One remarkable section of scripture is the very first place where “praising God” is mentioned.

Genesis 29:35:
And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.

Leah gave birth to four sons of Jacob, and she gave them names in which is mirrored what was going on in her heart. With the first three, her care and anxiety for the favour of her husband is still in the forefront of her thinking, but with the fourth son she is concerned about praising the LORD as she names him “Judah” which means “praise”.

Truly remarkable is that our lord and saviour Jesus Christ then was of the line of Judah and that through his work, the greatest praise is given to the LORD our God.

Oh, let us praise God and let us glory in Him for all that He is and for that which He has done and continues to do in His great grace. In Christ all has been fulfilled and we have been given all. We have all the reason to praise God and declare His goodness and kindness to all people.

Isaiah 43:21
This people have I formed for myself; they shall show forth my praise.

Once again we can see that it behooves those who are God’s people, those who belong to Him, that they show forth God’s praise, that they praise Him and declare His greatness.

To praise God – “to show forth his praise” – means “to speak well of Him”, to declare His wonderful works and to make known that which brings glory to Him. We are to speak well of our God to others, we are to make known His wonderful works to others, to emphasize His greatness, to magnify Him in all things and to give glory and honour to Him with everything we have and are.

We can praise God with words in our prayers. We can praise God with words which we speak to others when we declare His wonderful works. We can praise God with words when we sing to Him and about Him.

Psalm 100:1-4: 
A Psalm of praise. Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

Make a joyful noise! Come with singing! Enter with thanksgiving! Bless his name! We can now come unto God and enter into His presence with joyful noise, with gladness and thanksgiving. We are to serve Him with gladness!

Psalm 105:1-5:
O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works. Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORDSeek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore. Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;

Give thanks! Call upon Him! Sing unto Him! Talk of Him! Glory in His holy name!

Psalm 113:1-3:
Praise ye the LORD. Praise, O ye servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORDBlessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and for evermore. From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord’s name is to be praised.  

Praise! Praise! Praise! Let us realize that all the time there is time to praise God!

“I don’t have anything to do right now …” – ever heard those words? Or perhaps spoken this way yourself? Verse 3 speaks of something we can and should do at least between sunrise and sunset!

Psalm 47:7: 
For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.

When we want to praise someone, when we want to sing praises of someone, then we need a certain understanding, an insight into that person. When we don’t know somebody, we can hardly praise him in an appropriate way. When we praise God and when we sing His praises, we do so with the understanding and the insight which we happen to have of Him regarding all that He is and what He does. It is not a matter of just babbling the words “Praise God!” and repeating them endlessly – no! When we want to praise God and when we want to speak well of Him to others, we do it with understanding and with insight into who and what God is. He gives us the understanding already in His Word which does declare His mighty works. The more we get to know from His Word and also in our own lives about how great and wonderful God really is, the more we can praise Him with understanding!

Psalm 138:1 and 2: 
A Psalm of David. I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee. I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

God’s Word does declare God unto us. And here again, this is mentioned. We praise God for His goodness and His faithfulness; we sing praises unto Him out of our whole heart with thanksgiving.

Praising and singing praises demands an action. We do not just sit motionless and quiet in a corner, no. We are involved from our hearts, we lift up our voices and we speak with our mouths of our God. To praise God may be far more than to just sit in awe and with reverence and to remain silent.

Psalm 47:1:
To the chief Musician, A Psalm for the sons of Korah. O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.

Clap your hands for joy! We clap our hands at many occasions – now let us also do so when it is a matter of celebrating what our God is and what He has done! We do not need to applaud ourselves, we should and we may clap our hands and shout unto God in triumph. When we “explode” for joy, when we “release” our joy about God’s miraculous and wonderful work, then we are to express it in an appropriate manner.

Psalm 47:6 and 7:
Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.

Sing praises — SING PRAISES! Have we noticed what is emphasized in these two verses?

Psalm 145:1–12:
David’s Psalm of praise. I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works. And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: and I will declare thy greatness. They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness. The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works. All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee. They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power; To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom.

Oh, that we would open our hearts in such a way toward our God and realize how great He is and much we should really praise Him and how much we can speak of His wonderful works to all people. How much do we really speak of His great majesty and glory? How often do we praise Him and talk about His glorious power? One generation shall praise God’s works to another – yes, they will do so, when we don’t forget to praise His works to our children!

What a privilege we have to know Him (even if it is only to a very small degree) and to have read of His mighty works in His Word and to have seen some of His works in our lives! It is our duty to speak to those people around us and to make known to them God’s great and mighty works.

Psalm 148:1–14:
Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights. Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts. Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light. Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created. He hath also stablished them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass. Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps: Fire, and hail; snow, and vapours; stormy wind fulfilling his word: Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars: Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl: Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth: Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children: Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven. He also exalteth the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise ye the LORD.

By the way, the word “Hallelujah” means “Praise the LORD“. It contains the name of God “Jah”; this name designates God as the “God is our strength (might)”, and therefore He is worthy of our ever continuing praise!

Psalm 147:1: 
Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.

Three tremendous truths are here set forth for us:

  1. Singing praises unto our God is GOOD. It is a good thing to praise our God, to sing praises unto Him.
  2. Singing praises unto our God is PLEASANT. It is a pleasant, a beautiful and nice, a pleasing thing when we praise God and sing praises unto Him.
  3. Singing praises unto our God is COMELY. It really is what behooves us, what is appropriate for us; when we do not sing praises to God, we are behaving in a manner which is not appropriate, which is not comely for us.

We remember perhaps Ephesians 1 where we read that God has made us what we are in Christ “to the praise of His glory”. To praise God and to sing praises unto Him is part of our nature as children of God.

In times of peace and prosperity, just as in times of war and need, God was praised for that which He is and for that which He did for His people. We read about how God is to be praised in all things, how glory and honour are to be given to Him at all times. Especially in those times when we are perhaps not doing all that well and when we are facing need and lack, we must be careful not to turn our eyes to us and our needs but to God and His deliverance. A great example for this were Paul and Silas when they were in prison at Philippi, where they despite such awful circumstances, began to pray and sing praises unto God at midnight and in that way were proclaiming God’s wonderful works to all others in the prison and the prison keeper as well.

May the truth revealed in 1 Timothy 1:17 fill our hearts always:

1 Timothy 1:17: 
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.