“Stand up and bless the Lord your God for ever and ever…” (Neh. 9:5) Our praise of God should know no end, there is nothing that should deter us from that, nothing from outside of us or from within ourselves. Even if we were to spend every minute of every day for the remainder of our lives, we could not come anywhere close to the praise that our Lord is due, for not only did He see fit to make us in the first place, but He has called you, sanctified you and sent His son for you, how can we repay Him. We can’t, but with our praise, we show our Lord that we honor and glorify His name.
There are many influences from outside of us, the world as it were, that vie for our attention, promising the temporal instead of the eternal. God has seen fit to place us here for His glory, but the world can be so tempting at times that we can, and often do, make bad decisions that can affect the praise that we give Him. Many time’s we can make the mistake of thinking that something external has been given to us by God, when in fact Satan has put in front of us an object or event that is subtly so close to the truth that it can be difficult to tell the difference. A job opportunity that seems so much like what we have always wanted, but would put us in a compromising position in our walk with Christ, a gift from someone that seems so nice, but comes with a stipulation that sounds simple enough, yet could ruin our reputation as a Christian.
Remember James 4:13, where they were going to go into a city, but did not ask for guidance or pray about it first. This is an excellent opportunity for us to make a mistake when it comes to the praise we would offer to our Lord, for if we do this, it is probably not going to work out as we had hoped, and then our praise, because of the situation we have put our self into, will seem more like a forced thing. ‘Why did God let this happen to me’ will be our response instead of, ‘Sorry, Lord, for trying to go ahead without you’. There is nothing more that will hinder our glorifying of God than leaving Him out of our affairs, short or long term.
In the book “The Cloud of Unknowing” there is an exceptionally good statement; “For I tell thee truly, that ofttimes patience in sickness and in other diverse tribulations pleases God much more than any liking devotion thou mayest have in thy health.” Can you praise Him when the diagnosis is cancer, when there is not enough money to pay that month’s rent, when the child you were hoping and praying for to come back, as the prodigal son did, does not. “Rejoice always, and again, I say rejoice.” (Phil.4:4) is very easy to say on Sunday morning at church, or when that promotion comes that you were hoping for, but it can be so very difficult, as some of those of you who are reading this may well know, to quote Job 2:10 when we know all praise is due His glorious name, but we just don’t want to right now. It is at these times when we truly should focus on our praise life, for it is then that we wonder why the most, why is this happening to me.
The answer of course is quite simple, because He loves you, because nothing grows on the mountain top but down in the valley, because our Lord loves us so much that He will not leave us where we are. It is in these times of ‘trouble’ that He is closest to us, but though we may forget the promise of His word, He does not. “He will never leave us or forsake us…” (Deut. 31:6) and it is then that our cries seem to be the loudest for help, but not in praise. Those who do not know the extreme honor of praising God in all things tend to, for the most part, seem to be the ones who call for help the most frequently, and as time goes on the praise stops because the blessings of trials stop, so there is no reason to praise. It can be a very sad thing to witness, a Christian who has forgotten how to praise the name of God, and it does not even require the assistance of our adversary, for if everything is going well, why should these individuals continue to further seek His face, much less offer the sacrifice of praise.
Perhaps you have seen in the Resources area of the Borrowed Truths website an organization called Voice of the Martyrs. If you have not yet done the research for yourself into this ministry, please do so, for here you will see praise as perhaps you have never seen it before. Amidst extreme suffering many of these brothers and sisters in Christ exhibit a praise that should put in all of us a desire to do the same, to lift up the name of Jesus in the most extreme, life threatening conditions that few in recent memory have experienced. It is sad to think that we here in the United States and in many other countries experience the ability to give praise for so much, yet many have a tendency to forget, forget that without the great mercy of our Lord we would not even have breath, sustenance or life itself. I am afraid that when we start to take our life of ease for granted, we start on a path that forgets where our blessings stem from, and our praise begins to wane.
There is so much to be thankful for, there are also many who not only understand that God is due all our praise, but do praise Him, and praise Him with all their heart, strength and soul. These wonderful Christians understand the difference between the words ‘happiness’ and ‘joy’. No matter the circumstances, they are always filled with the joy of the Lord, expressing gratitude not only for all that He has chosen to send their way, but just because He is. Because they do not need to see the Red Sea part, nor do they need manna each day, for these loving brothers and sisters in Christ have seen already that He is worthy of all their praise, He has proven Himself in love again and again. They themselves are the miracle.
Strive to be a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ that doesn’t need for Him to prove himself each and every day, that accepts and believes that what He has chosen for you is the best, no matter what we think. Be a child of God that others will want to emulate when it comes to giving the glory to God, that is always prepared with an open and loving heart to give Him the praise that He rightly deserves, the one that can truly say with confidence that everything that He has allowed to come into your life is because He loves you.
“By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name.” (Heb. 13:15)