Last week we were encouraged to keep changing into the image of Jesus throughout all the changing seasons life brings. This changing process is initiated and applied by the Lord Jesus Himself… For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy (Hebrews 10:14). While this work is already completed in Christ, the working out of it in this life is an ongoing process through the power of His Spirit. This week our aim is to activate this transformative power in our lives by participating in the act of praise…
To dive in deeper to the perfecting truth of praising Jesus this week, let us briefly explore what the word praise means in the biblical sense. In our own language we know what it means to praise someone or something when it is deserved, but when it comes to praising God, the biblical language is far richer in terminology and meaning. We often use the words praise, worship and thanksgiving interchangeably, but I like the way that missionary and Bible teacher, Ruth Myers explains the similarities and differences in her book, 31 Days of Praise. She says this; “In the Bible, praise is closely linked with worship and thanksgiving. Through all three we honor and enjoy God. It helps me to think of worship as a beautiful crown adorned with two brilliant jewels. One jewel is praise and the other, thanksgiving.” She goes on to say; “In praise we admire God for who he is and what he does. Praise can be quiet and meditative. But it can also include celebrating and exulting in the Lord’s majesty and splendor, his sovereignty, his limitless power and his bountiful love…’ (pp. 22-24).
The Old Testament Scriptures were written in Hebrew and there are many different words used by the various authors, all with deep meaning, that we translate into English using the word praise. King David beautifully expressed one of these praise words in Psalm 34:1, “I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” The Hebrew word used in the original biblical text is baruk = to kneel down, to bless God as an act of adoration.
In Psalm 69 David used yet another Hebrew word for praise. Hal-al = to shine, to make a show or rave about, to glory in or boast upon, to be clamorously foolish about our adoration for God.
Then in the New Testament, which was written in the common Greek language of the day, the writer to the Hebrews says in chapter 13:15: “Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name.” The Greek word used here for praise is aineseo = a thank offering to the Lord. Again, this praise word is just one of several Greek words used to describe what it means to express praise to God. So we are already beginning to see that this one little word praise is brimming with meaning and brings many ramifications into our lives and into the world around us. This is where this week’s lesson in Heartbreakingly Beautiful comes into play as Bethany discovered through her illness. Do you remember the other ‘P’s of Praise’ we discovered through the trial? To remind you, we learned that through praise, God blesses us with His POWER, PRESENCE, PEACE, PATIENCE, PERSEVERANCE, PURPOSE, PERSPECTIVE and PLEASURE!
I have discovered yet another treasure as I have been praising the Lord this week. Friends, not only is our ‘Perfecting Process’ initiated by Jesus, so is the very praise we offer that is due to Him! If we are finding it difficult to praise in this season and the process we face to BE Made Perfect feels too hard to bare, let us remember afresh that Isaiah 61 tells us that God Himself clothes us with a garment of praise instead of despair. In the midst of so many precious promises listed in this chapter, I love the way Isaiah concludes as he chooses to believe. We see that praise just overflows like a bubbling spring from the core of Isaiah’s being as he is being made perfect… “I greatly delight in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with jewels. For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise (teh-hil-law = public song of adoration to God) spring up before all nations.”
No dear ones, we are not perfect yet. But by His enabling grace, one day we will indeed BE Made Perfect in Him. He will bring it all about to the praise of His glory forever and ever!
Songs to encourage you to keep praising:
How Can I Keep From Singing by Chris Tomlin
Crown Him With Many Crowns version by Chris Tomlin with Kari Jobe
Sing by Jordan Worner
A book to build you up:
A Treasury of Praise and 31 Days of Praise by Ruth Meyers