Rev 5:11-14 ;
Praise, properly, cannot be forced. No one can praise simply because they are told to. Genuine praise comes from the heart. It is accompanied by feelings of joy, but it is focused on another, not on oneself. So, praising God is much more than singing songs, hymns or psalms. Music and singing have, from ancient times, been means whereby people have expressed their praise toward God, and they give us means whereby we can express our praise to God today, but praise is more than the music and the words of songs. It is an attitude that wells up from deep within our being, an attitude that honours and glorifies God. It recognizes the superiority of God’s power and authority, of God’s infinite love and distinctive holiness. This we can do in words, but also in actions, in the way we live. As the visionary in Revelation 5:13 says, every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them can praise God and his Christ. They do this in living true to God’s intended role for them. Only humans have the power to defy God’s intention and live lives addicted to self-praise. True praise arises out of a delight in the one who is being praised and implies a forgetting of self. It is inextricably bound up with the love toward God that is Christ’s principal commandment to us. In his vision, John the Seer presents the rejected, discarded and crucified Jesus under the guise of a sacrificial lamb but affirms that he is worthy of all the praise appropriately given to God the Creator. Jesus is worthy to be praised as divine. We praise people for their achievements and successes, for their character and benefactions, but beyond all human praiseworthiness there remains One who is worthy above all others, the One who ultimately is to be praised and worshipped by all creation, even that difficult and rebellious part of it called humanity. In Christ, we are privileged to participate in the universal chorus of praise even now before the end of the story is written.
- When do you praise another person? What prompts you to do it?
- Distinguish, if you can, between genuine praise and false praise.
- How can we express praise to God?
- Why praise God?