Reflections on Praising God-A A +A
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
IN HAPPY times and in sad moments, it is not uncommon to hear a Christian say, “Praise the Lord.” In the University where I work, the institutional motto is “Laus Deo semper,” meaning “Praise be to God always.”
We may ask, “Why praise God? Isn’t he the all-sufficient God? Then why the need for human praise?” My reflection has led me to the following reasons.
First, we praise God to give back the credit due him. The book of Genesis tells us that he created the heavens and the earth, and everything in them, both living and non-living. He created man in his image and likeness, and since then, has never failed to supply all his needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19).
Truly, every good gift comes from Him (Js. 1:17); thus, instead of praising people or things who are mere stewards or vessels of God’s goodness, it is but right and proper that we praise the source of all blessings – the Lord himself.
Second, we praise God as a gesture of our worship of him. We very well know the first commandment: “I am the Lord your God… you shall have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:2). To praise him is to humble ourselves, that he may be exalted. That, in essence, is worship – creatures recognizing their Creator as the omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient Being who is above all and is in all.
Third, we praise God to show approval of what he stands for -- righteousness, holiness, justice, mercy and love. Conversely, we praise God as a testimony of our rejection of evil -- of sin, filth, injustice, self-conceitedness and the culture of hate. We praise God because we delight in him and in what he represents.
Fourth, we praise God to thank him for his unparalleled goodness. Even before we were conceived, he knew us. It was he who formed us, and right in our mother’s womb he cared for us. One heart beat after another, his love never fails. In fact, he offers us not only temporary life here on earth; by dying on the cross, he paid the price of our sins, that he may give us believers the inheritance of eternal life in heaven.
Lastly (for this article only, because in reality, the reasons for praising God are endless), we praise God to open the door of his grace. Indeed, God can never be outdone in his goodness, for as we praise him, he blesses us. Psalm 22:3 declares that God inhabits the praises of his people. Therefore, the more we praise him, the more we experience his presence. And obviously, the more we experience his presence, the nearer he is to forgive, to heal, to provide, to touch, to console, to mend, and to give more than we can ever ask for.
So next time, we say “Praise the Lord,” may our utterance be not an empty rhetoric but a means of giving back to God what he alone deserves, of worshiping him, of approving of his nature and of all the beautiful things he carries, of thanking him, and of receiving with gratitude the graces that flow from his hands.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on August 09, 2012.