Third Sunday After Epiphany 2019: The Psalm Passage – The importance of praising the Lord in an authentic way

The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy, and like a strong man runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them; and nothing is hid from its heat.” (Psalms 19:1-7)

One of the reasons I like this psalm is . . . . . there is no exhortation to praise. It is praise of the Lord, but we are the reader can use it to praise God instead of being told to praise God. I have been thinking off and on about the commentary I wrote where I confessed that it would not be my idea of paradise to be continually offering up praise of the Lord. I should have emphasized that I do not think praise should be squeezed like toothpaste from a tube but should come from the heart, spirit, and soul as a response to God’s grace, mercy, and blessing when we are in need. In heaven there will be no need.

“The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the decrees of the LORD are sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is clear, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.” (Verses 8 – 9)

When presented with evidence of the Lord God’s grace, mercy, and blessing you can and will hear my praising with the best of them. But when I am told to praise the Lord in a way that I do not feel from within, it is hard. Maybe it is the writer in me that balks at having someone else’s praise words put in my mouth.

“More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. But who can detect their errors? Clear me from hidden faults. Keep back your servant also from the insolent; do not let them have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.” (Verses 10 – 13)

Or if I feel the same thing as the psalmist/praise speaker, I will willingly echo those words, taking them into my heart and spirit making them my own. And then I will say . . .

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” (Verse 14)

Selah!

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