“What is Praise?”
The Rev. Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
What’s so important about praise? It is necessary to define praise; to identify the object of praise; and to enable deep and critical thought of praise and worship. Look around our great city. We are blessed with an extraordinary number of churches. I suggest that the reason is that we are built for praise and worship. As written previously, “God made us for worship.” Worship includes the act of praising the object of worship.
Webster’s Dictionary defines praise as expressing approval or admiration. It continues the definition by including the idea of giving glory with God as the object. The essential ingredient in praise is that it requires an object.
Since the Garden, men have had the desire to praise. All too often praise was given to other men or places. The desire to praise has been built into us by our Creator. We will praise someone or something that we consider worthy. Praise and worth are intimately connected.
You might take a little test. Think about that which consumes your time and money. Then, consider whether the consumers you identify are worthy of your praise. In other words, would you choose to praise the one(s) to whom you give so much of your time and finances?
You may not agree with me at this point, but I am seeking to get you to think about worth. As you examine the definition it is clear that praise and worth are connected. The psalmist identified the greatest object of worth. Psalm 146, written by a man carried along by the Spirit of God, described a singular commitment to praise God! He said that he would declare praise to God throughout his entire life which he acknowledged was given by God.
Why would he make such a commitment? The answer is God alone is worthy of man’s praise! God alone saves man. Every instance of deliverance from oppression is by the sovereign hand of God. Only God is eternal. Opposed to this all men die. There are no exceptions. The only hope for man is God. Only God gives eternal life, a life that will never end. God raises the dead. He gives those whom He chooses eyes to see the truth, Jesus. Jesus defined eternal life as knowing the one true God and the One whom He sent, Jesus Christ, John 17:3.
In addition, we see injustice all around us robbing us of hope unless we look to God who is perfectly just. The Bible declares that He will execute perfect justice. And, the Bible, God’s word written, is always true and altogether reliable. The psalmist affirmed the holy justice of God and wrote: God “executes justice for the oppressed, (God) gives food to the hungry.” Jesus said that God the Father will provide everything that is needed for His children.
If this isn’t enough to convince you of God’s worthiness to be praised, then know that God is King. He rules all of His Creation. God’s absolute and sovereign rule of all Creation is not relative. That is, you may be thinking that I write such things because I’m a Christian Pastor. Indeed I am. And, not only do I write these things, but I actually believe them! But, to paraphrase a great philosopher, if something is not true for all it’s not true at all. God is the Creator and Ruler of His Universe. Jesus said that “all authority in heaven and on earth” was given to Him. God who made us for worship is the only worthy object. Praise, which is part of worship, is to declare the character and deeds of the object. As we understand praise in this way, we likewise know that God is its only worthy object.
I’ve come to the end. I’ve defined praise to be declaring the character and deeds of its object. I’ve hopefully made a case to demonstrate that God alone is worthy of our praise. And, finally, I hope that I’ve been successful in guiding your thoughts about this very important aspect of life, namely praise.
“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do His will, working in you that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21