Wednesday, December 05, 2007

THE DUTY OF PRAISE



There are many duties incumbent upon the Christian as a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) that prompt the flesh to war against the indwelling Holy Spirit. Chief among them is the believer’s duty of rendering praise to God, who has called us out of darkness and into the kingdom of the Son of His love (Colossians 1:13). J.C. Lambert reminds us that “Praise is everywhere represented in the Bible as a duty no less than a natural impulse and a delight. To fail in this duty is to withhold from God the glory that belongs to Him (Psalm 50:23; Romans 1:20-21); it is to shut one's eyes to the signs of His presence (Isaiah 40:26), to be forgetful of His mercies (Deuteronomy 6:12) and unthankful for His kindness (Luke 6:35).”[1] Since Satan’s desire has always been to covet the glory which belongs exclusively to God, we should not be surprised that he is not slack in his efforts to rob God of the Christian’s sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15). Jesus said, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal” (John 10:10). Jesus also taught us: “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you “(John 16:13-14). Here we see that it is the desire of the Holy Spirit to boast in Christ, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7).


As the child of God yields to the will of the Holy Spirit, the fruit of praise will become increasingly evident in his life. This is the most natural thing for those who are debtors to grace. How can we neglect to praise our heavenly Father when we have so often praised our earthly fathers for the good things they have given us? The early church enjoyed rich fellowship in the name of Jesus and shared many times together praising God (Acts 2:42-47). When Paul and Silas were imprisoned for their testimony of Christ, we see a remarkable response to the dark circumstances they found themselves in. The Philippian jailor “thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks” (Acts 16:24). This was no time for a prayer and praise meeting; but that is precisely what occurred: “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them” (verse 25). At this same hour the Lord intervened in a dramatic way by opening the doors of the prison, and everyone confined there had their chains loosed (verse 26). How many Christians are still bound by depression, fear, self-pity, etc., not realizing that the power of praise can set them free? Shall we continue to allow the arch-enemy of God to shut our hearts to the presence of God by forgetting that it is our duty to praise Him continually? “I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together” (Psalm 34:1-3). When we exalt the name of our Lord and Savior and boast in Him, our eyes are no longer focused on self and earthly things, and the reward is inner peace and joy. The Christian’s duty becomes the Christian’s deliverance. “Pliny, in writing to Trajan around 100 A. D., says, ‘The church assembled before daybreak to sing alternate hymns to Christ and to God.’ And does any one profess to believe there was no connection between this fact and the fullness of the Spirit's influence and power that they enjoyed?”[2] I, for one, do believe that there is a correlation between the dynamic faith exhibited by the persecuted church and their heartfelt praise and adoration of God. They lived as though they truly believed that with God nothing was impossible (Luke 1:37). He was their strong tower from the enemy (Psalm 61:3). He was their refuge and strength, and a very present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1). If the church today had the same vision of a mighty God, we would have faith to fight every spiritual battle and hope in every trial of life. As we learn to rejoice in the Lord, the joy of the Lord becomes our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). Therefore, let us praise God daily with the new song He has put in our mouths (Psalm 40:3). May our duty to praise Him become not only our deliverance, but also our delight. This is the mark of a spiritual man whose refuge is in the rock of His salvation.

When unceasing praise becomes our portion, our gatherings on the Lord’s Day will take on a different countenance. No longer will it be difficult to solicit a testimony of God’s faithfulness from His people. Prayer and praise will flow freely from those whose sins have been forgiven by the once-for-all offering of Jesus on Calvary. Just think what it would be like to experience the power and glory of God’s presence of in our midst. Oh Lord, grant that the fires of a revival of praise would begin in each and every heart of thy children, so that we may join our voices to the heavenly choir and proclaim: “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11).

Praise, my soul, the King of heaven,

To his feet thy tribute bring;

Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,

Who like me his praise should sing?

Alleluia! Alleluia! Praise the everlasting King.[3]


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.


For His glory,

Pastor Tom


[1] International Standard Bible Encyclopedia article on praise.

[2] Sermon by W.B. Smiley: “The Singing of Praise a Duty”.

[3] Words by H.F. Lyte (1793-1847)

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