Why Should We Praise the Lord?Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; celebrate his lovely name with music.
Have you ever awakened on a Sunday morning and thought, “Why do I have to go to church today?” The coziness of one’s bed, the vision of a relaxed morning, the thought of lingering over the newspaper or a good book with a cup of coffee . . . all of these can induce one to forget about worship. Why bother? Why does it matter so much to praise the Lord, anyway?
Psalm 135 answers this question in the most basic way. It repeatedly summons us to praise the Lord. Verse 3 gives us a fundamental reason why such praise is right: “for the LORD is good.” The Hebrew of this verse refers not just to “God,” but to “the LORD,” using the shortened form of his special name. It is the last syllable of the Hebrew command that is so familiar to us: Hallelujah! Jah, or Yah, is short for Yahweh, the name of God (which is sometimes rendered as Jehovah in English). Yahweh is the name of God revealed to Moses, the name associated with God’s covenant with Israel, with his compassion and mercy (Exod. 34:6). The Lord is known to be good because he has revealed his character to Israel, both in words and in deeds.
The English word “good” represents the Hebrew word tob. Tob has a broad range of meanings, just like our English word “good.” Tob can mean “pleasing,” “beautiful,” “delightful,” “beneficial,” and “morally correct.” All of these senses fit the Lord. He is absolutely righteous in his nature, doing only that which is ethically right. His works benefit us, whether the blessings are of nature or the blessings of his special grace. The author of beauty is himself beautiful. The more we meditate upon him, the more we take delight in his presence.
So we should praise the Lord because his matchless goodness calls forth praise. It’s rather like when you read a great book or see a great movie. You just have to tell somebody! The more you know God, the more you experience him, the more you are moved to proclaim his goodness.
Why go to church when you’d rather enjoy a relaxed Sunday morning? Because God is good. Because he is worthy of all praise. And, because in the act of praising God, we experience him and his goodness in a fresh and transforming way.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What motivates you to go to church on a day when you’re tempted to do otherwise? How have you experienced the goodness of God? How are you tasting his goodness right now?
PRAYER: Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near;
Praise Him in glad adoration.
Praise to the Lord, who over all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen how thy desires ever have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?
Praise to the Lord, who hath fearfully, wondrously, made thee;
Health hath vouchsafed and, when heedlessly falling, hath stayed thee.
What need or grief ever hath failed of relief?
Wings of His mercy did shade thee.
Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
If with His love He befriend thee.
Praise to the Lord, who, when tempests their warfare are waging,
Who, when the elements madly around thee are raging,
Biddeth them cease, turneth their fury to peace,
Whirlwinds and waters assuaging.
Praise to the Lord, who, when darkness of sin is abounding,
Who, when the godless do triumph, all virtue confounding,
Sheddeth His light, chaseth the horrors of night,
Saints with His mercy surrounding.
Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him.
Let the Amen sound from His people again,
Gladly for aye we adore Him.
“Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” by Joachim Neander, 1860. English translation by Catherine Winkworth, 1863. Public domain.