The Book of Nehemiah records a beautiful moment in the history of the Israelites. The people who had returned from exile in Babylon were gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and dust on their heads. Then they were told: “Stand up and praise the Lord your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting.”
The praise begins in a unique way saying: “Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise.”
Praise is a proclamation of God’s goodness and an expression of awe, respect and wonder at who He is. Praise of God should come from the heart and not merely from the lips. For this was God’s complaint against His people: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”
Surprisingly, the first utterance of praise to God in the Bible comes from Abraham’s servant when he was led to Rebekah. It was a natural response of a child-like heart who rejoiced at God’s loving guidance and specific and quick answer to prayer and also God’s faithfulness and kindness to his master.
The Book of Psalms presents us a huge canvas of praise in the life of God’s children. It is observed that many Psalms that begin with mention of trouble ends in praise! So praise to God is not an option, but the life-blood of a Christian.
One of the calls of the Psalmist is to praise God in song with music and musical instruments, clap of hands and shouts of joy and victory. The term “Hallelu Yah” is found in the Psalms. It means “Praise the Lord.” As you look at the end of the Book of Revelation you will find the entire heaven resounding with shouts of “Hallelujah!”
Yes, the Psalms have already described God: “You are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel.” It is also rendered as, “You are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.”
The Bible talks about praise after victory and praise bringing victory. In the book of Exodus God brought about a great victory for the Israelites when the Red Sea was parted to let them cross over on dry ground. Then Moses sang a song to the Lord: “Who among the gods is like you, O Lord? Who is like you–majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?”
In the Book of Chronicles is recorded a mighty victory that came to God’s people during the time of King Jehoshaphat. A vast army had come to attack him. Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel and encouraged them with a prophetic message of deliverance. Next morning as they went to battle, the king appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness: “Give thanks to the Lord for his love endures forever.”
The Bible records, “As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes” against the enemies and they were defeated. Then they collected the plunder and named the valley, “Valley of Beracah.” Beracah means Praise.
A similar instance which is known to everyone occurs in the Book of Acts. Paul and Silas, after being stripped, beaten and severely flogged were put in prison. But nearing midnight, they were praying and singing hymns to the Lord. The other prisoners were listening. A violent earthquake came, the prison doors flew open. And this incident led to the salvation of the jailer and his whole family.
You can not only praise God but also be a useful instrument in the hands of God to bring Him praise. Jesus said: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
And Peter says: “You are a chosen people . . . that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
A Sacrifice of Praise
A Simple Lesson-Praise!
When You Find it Difficult to Praise God!
How to Approach God
How Does the Attitude of “Give Thanks in All Circumstances” Work?
Praise and Thanksgiving in Prayer