Made to Praise
By Stephanie Nicole
It’s a simple song I learned when I was a child. I’ve sung it countless times as a lullaby to all my babies, and they each know it by heart.
Even my just-barely-two year old. He was singing it to himself in his sweet toddler-speak this morning as he played:
“I love you Lord, and I lift my voice
To worship you, oh my soul rejoice!
Take joy my King in what you hear
May it be a sweet sweet sound in your ear.”
He moved on to another familiar song:
“Jesus, Jesus how I trust Him
How I proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus
O, for grace to trust Him more.”
It does this mama heart so good to hear the sweet voices of her children lifting up the One who created them.
As that thought occurred to me, another followed closely behind: If I love to hear my children praise the Lord, how much more does our worship bring joy to God the Father’s heart?
Worship is not just song; it’s an entire life centred around Jesus Christ, loving as He loved and serving as He served. And praising Him, out loud and in our hearts, is an essential part of that well-spent life.
When things are going well, it’s easy to give Him praise. But when things are going poorly, it can feel nearly impossible to lift our voices, let alone our hands, to the Maker of heaven and earth.
God is sovereign. And He is all good. When we go through difficulties, it feels like He has forgotten us. But Isaiah talks about how God does not forget His people (Isaiah 49:15-16 NIV):
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
your walls are ever before me."
Holding God’s sovereignty and His goodness in tension is crucial, especially when our circumstances are beyond our control. And somehow, an audible declaration of praise serves as the reminder we desperately need!
We're called to praise the Lord as long as we live! Psalm 146 (NIV) begins like this:
Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord, my soul.
I will praise the Lord all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Put it on the mirror in the morning. Write it on a sticky note and snap a photo of it so it's in your camera roll. “I WILL praise the Lord ALL my life; I WILL sing praise to my God as long as I live.” Choose it, no matter what happens in the day.
Why? Because of what it says in the rest of Psalm 146. The plain-as-day warning that follows always makes me sit up and take notice. No beating around the bush here, just a straightforward message to take to heart.
Do not put your trust in princes,
in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
on that very day their plans come to nothing.
What a stark image of the reality of human limitations. It pierces my heart! Where am I placing my trust, right now, today, in this moment? Is it in human beings? Am I hanging my hopes on likes and follows, or even opportunities for ministry? What about my job or side projects? Maybe it’s my husband or children. How about my church or my friends?
It’s enough to make me realize where I’ve begun to turn for validation and, essentially, salvation of some kind. And it’s enough to make me return to my first love, the One who loved me first (1 John 4:19 NIV - "We love because He first loved us").
He is worthy, there is no question. Look at this beautiful picture of God that unfolds before us throughout the remainder of this Psalm.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their God.
He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
he remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the foreigner
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
The Lord reigns forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord.
God is the Maker of all. And because He is the Maker of all, He is the one who sustains all life! In Him, we find the justice, satisfaction, freedom, vision, encouragement, love, protection and provision that we will never find anywhere else.
We were - all of us - made to praise the Lord. We were made to bring Him glory. When we put our trust in Him, we can be confident that He is who He says He is, and He will do what He has promised to do.
So I’m choosing it today. I’m writing it on my heart.
I WILL praise the Lord ALL my life. I WILL sing praise to God as long as I live. Only He is worthy!