“Come,” invites the Psalmist of old, “let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song” (95:1-2).
C. S. Lewis writes, “I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.”
Some years ago my wife and I were in New Orleans where she was attending a training conference. I went along to provide pastoral care. When she went to training sessions in search of knowledge, I went in search of seafood.
At one point, we ran into a fellow reading a book in an outdoor courtyard and struck up a conversation. He waxed rhapsodic about a little hole in the wall, Coop’s Place, down toward the river, describing the delectable crawfish étouffée he’d found there. Not only was he enjoying the memory of that fine food, he was enjoying it yet again as he described it to us.
I soon found out for myself that it was remarkably fine stuff. I enjoyed telling my wife about it, taking her there later, and now I’m telling you about it and resisting the impulse to describe it in a great deal more detail. Part of the joy of the whole experience is in telling about it.
Lewis goes on to say that “to praise God fully we must suppose ourselves to be in perfect love with God, drowned in, dissolved by that delight which, far from remaining pent up within ourselves as incommunicable bliss, flows out from us incessantly again in effortless and perfect expression.” He says you can no more separate your joy from the praise it frees and releases from your soul than you can separate the “brightness a mirror receives . . . from the brightness it sheds.”
When we praise God, not only is our joy made more complete, our praise itself issues in deeper praise and worship.
So the Psalmist invites us to praise God, to worship him, to thank him as the praise in our hearts builds and overflows the banks of our hearts in rivers of joy, the most wonderful sort of chain reaction. Once started, thank God, it’s almost impossible to stop unless something becomes wrong with our hearts.
God’s people can no more refuse to praise God than living people can will themselves to cease breathing. We praise God because we have breath to live and to praise and God is the One who gives it.
We praise God because God made us.
We praise God because God is worthy and deserving of all praise.
We praise God because there are songs to sing and God is the music.
We praise God because there are colors to see and God is the Painter.
We praise God because we are deeply loved and he is the Lover.
We praise God! How can we not? Why would we not?
We praise God because it is our joy to praise Him, and praising Him completes and magnifies our joy.
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Copyright 2019 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.