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Praise the LORD! (Psalm 112:1)
This is not just a happy phrase tacked on to the front of the psalm as a way to start it. This is an exhortation, a command of God. First of all, we who know and obey Jesus Christ are the most blessed people on the face of the earth. We should constantly praise and thank our God for who He is and all He has done for us. We should praise Him for His greatness and glory and beauty and majesty. We should praise Him for His steadfast love and unceasing mercies and generosity to us. We should praise Him every day for saving us from sin and hell, and giving us eternal life in Him.
Why does God command us to praise him? FOR OUR JOY.
God gives us all His commands for our joy and gladness. God doesn’t need our praise and worship. He is completely and infinitely joyful, fulfilled, and satisfied in and of Himself. He’s not some egomaniac in the sky who needs our praise to feel fulfilled, affirmed and complete. All God’s commands are for OUR benefit, OUR good, and OUR joy. Do you want to increase your joy in Jesus? Then seek to praise Him and thank Him as much as you can.
I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. (Psalm 34:1)
Why? Why bless the Lord at all times, in good times and even in bad? Because He is causing all things – both good and bad – to work together for our good. Because He is in control and does nothing but good to us.
To praise the Lord at all times is an expression of faith – an act of obedience. We don’t always feel like praising God. Sometimes it’s really hard to praise the Lord. But if you begin to praise God at all times you are on the pathway to joy and being immovable.
I once heard a man say that as soon as he wakes up in the morning he begins to thank God. He says something like, “Thank you, Lord, for the gift of sleep. Thank you for your protection during the night. Thank you for your steadfast love and your mercies that are new every morning. Thank you for another day of life.” I began to put this tiny habit into practice and it has become a huge blessing in my life.
Another tiny habit that has become a huge blessing is keeping a “thankfulness” journal. Most mornings after spending a little time in God’s Word I take about 10 minutes to write in a moleskin journal one page to the Lord of things I am grateful for. It may be something as simple as thanking Him for getting to spend time with one of my grandchildren the day before or getting to have lunch with a friend. It may be thanking Jesus for saving me and forgiving my sins or thanking Him for the sunshine on the trees in our backyard. Whatever comes to my mind. Just one page. But this habit, combined with trying to give thanks when I wake up, sets the tone for my day and I can continue to praise and thank the Lord throughout the day.
Remember, God’s commands are for our joy and benefit. So I would encourage you, try to cultivate the habit of praising and thanking the Lord at all times and letting his praise be continually in your mouth and you will see His joy increase in your life.