We all know that self-praise is no praise at all – and seeking the praise of others is even worse. Nothing sounds so bad as someone describing or complaining about all their great efforts and actions simply so we can praise them for it!
So why then does God so eagerly and perhaps egotistically command us to praise Him? The pages of Scripture (which are in fact ‘God-breathed’ – 2Tim3:16) constantly direct and urge us to praise God. So basically he is asking for it. He created us for His pleasure and he does delight in our praise. Yet he doesn’t need our praise, surely? He is not insecure like us! On the other hand, yes he does deserve praise, so why shouldn’t we praise Him?
Perhaps the short answer to this dilemma is that praising God is good for us! God knows this, so directs us to praise Him. But let me direct you to some relevant discussion from C.S Lewis and John Piper to explain:
“Just as men spontaneously praise whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it: “Isn’t she lovely? Wasn’t it glorious? Don’t you think that magnificent?” . . . The Psalmists in telling everyone to praise God are doing what all men do when they speak of what they care about. . . I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed. . . If we were not allowed to speak of what we value and celebrate what we love and praise what we admire, our joy could not be full.”
(C.S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms)
“So if God loves us enough to make our joy full, he must not only give us himself; he must also win from us the praise of our hearts — not because he needs to shore up some weakness in himself or compensate for some deficiency, but because he loves us and seeks the fullness of our joy that can be found only in knowing and praising him, the most magnificent of all beings. . . . God is the one Being in all the universe for whom seeking his own praise is the ultimately loving act. For him, self-exaltation is the highest virtue. When he does all things “for the praise of his glory,” he preserves for us and offers to us the only thing in all the world that can satisfy our longings.”
(John Piper. Desiring God, pages 48–49)
So praising God completes our joyful experience of his good and gracious character. How important it is then to see our music ministry as providing an opportunity to do just that – to bring people to praise God, even when they don’t “feel” like it or sing with trepidation because they sing ‘out of tune’.
People need to praise God. Praising God not only completes our joyful experience of his love, it also takes our eyes from ourselves and our problems to the One who holds us together, who has moved towards us with compassion in Christ.
Let’s keep doing all we can to bring people to the place of praise!
(And this may be the topic for another blog post but I’ll mention it anyway: God sings over us!
“The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17 – almost a Three Sixteen!))
You may also like:
Why is it so Critical that we Sing Together (from the Blazing Center)