July 23, 2018: This Analysis of Praise!
July 23, 2018
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Today’s Bible Reading: 2 Chronicles 28-29, Psalm 148, Luke 12:22-34, 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5 Psalm 148: When we think of “praise,” we typically think of “praise songs” or music sung in Christian meetings, particularly on a Sunday. We don’t tend to think of some of the categories that are introduced by this psalm. According to this psalm, the sky, sun, moon, stars, the sea, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, storms, mountains and hills, trees, animals and birds are all to “praise the Lord.” And towards the end of this lengthy list of the universe called to praise God, comes people! Kings, young men and women, old men and children, all are called to praise God. It is understandable at one level to list all of creation, including in a fairly minor proportion, the people in the universe, to praise God. After all, by comparison of pure size, the people in the universe are a very small proportion of the total mass of all that there is. And so in this list they appear last and as a fairly small section of everything that is called to praise God (148:13). But, that is not the end of the story! “And he has raised up for his people a horn, the praise of all his faithful servants, of Israel, the people close to his heart” (148:14). God—in the midst of this massive, almost inconceivably big universe, of which people are (in one sense) a fairly small proportion—has set aside a special group which are close to his heart. His people are given special strength, a “horn” symbolizing strength, and they are especially close to his heart. The people of God are the apple of God’s eye, have his affection and attention, and therefore are particularly called to “praise the Lord” (148:14). There are two logical conclusions to this analysis of praise. The first is to realize that everything that is can be tuned to give praise to God. It is not only religious things but all things that are called to praise God. Therefore, you are called to praise God at work, at home, doing yard work and housework, in beauty of paintings and art. All that we do, we can turn towards a work of art to please God and praise God! The second is to realize that as God’s people are especially the focus of God’s love (are “close to his heart”) that we are therefore by faith in Christ to become a part of his people, and if we are already a part of his people, to realize the extraordinary privilege we have through being a part of his people. And therefore to “praise the Lord”!]]>
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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