Mar. 10, 2021 - Praiser

"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, whatever is excellent and praiseworthy, think on these things." (Philippians 4:8)

Alas, we have come to the last word in our list of things to think about. There is plenty to praise the Lord for in this life and for what is to come, so this ought to be the easiest one in the list.

Just a note of clarification: The word denotes "something" that is praiseworthy. God, in himself, is enough to offer praise but it is asking us to focus on what He does. Notice the next set of scriptures.

First Chronicles 16:25 and Psalm 96:4 say, "Great is the Lord and worthy of praise, he is to be feared above all gods."

Second Samuel 22:4 and Psalm 18:3 say "I called to the Lord because he is worthy of praise, he saves me from my enemies."

The first is who God is, "one to be feared." The second is why we praise him, "he saves."

This might be easy but its the hardest for me to think upon. Why? Because I can come up with numerable things to praise the Lord for in my life...but I don't. In my doctoral work they used to call it "paralysis by analysis." Instead of writing on something, you write about nothing. You're stuck. It's the opposite of not having enough research. It's having way too much and trying to synthesize it down.

Psalm 78 is an amazing psalm for this discussion because it speaks to exactly what I am saying. It is a very long psalm so I'll spare you the verse by verse analysis and simply synthesize so we can get to the point. It is actually a psalm that the Apostle Matthew connected to Jesus.

It talks about revealing all of the hidden things that the Lord had been doing among his people...revealing them to the next generation so that they would know those praiseworthy deeds and...that which keeps you from praising Him.

One that we wouldn't necessarily put on our list was the giving of the Law. He gave them the spiritual boundaries for a blessed life. But the Law was more than a set of moral precepts, it actually spoke to the person of God himself. A law reflects the moral character of a society. The Law reflected the character of God. It says just as much about who He is as it does about who were are in violation of it.

Second, the psalmist recalls all of the miracles of Egypt - the destruction of the plagues, the opening of the sea, the provision in the wilderness, the water from the rocks, the manna from heaven, the quail from the east, etc... We serve a God who does the supernatural in our lives, a God who cosmically intervenes to help us and bless us.

But in verse 32 it says, "In spite of this, they kept on sinning." And God brought hardship. And thy repented and remembered that God was their Rock, the Most High God, their Redeemer. But then they would flatter Him with their mouths, lying to Him with their tongues, their hearts were not loyal nor were they faithful to the covenant.

Such were the people of Israel. So is a worm such as me.

It is so easy to come up with things that provoke praise to the Lord. Life, health, provision, family, love, grace, mercy, wealth, joy, salvation, eternal life... It is so hard to make sure we think on those things on a daily basis. They are so available to us that we treat them as common place. We forget how miraculous those are in our lives.

The old hymn, "Count Your Many Blessings" is coming to mind and "Worthy of Worship." But I'm pretty sure Paul doesn't want me to just be another hymn singer.

He wants me to be a "praiser."

Think on these things...