My daughter is a nurse and she’s on the night shift. Like every good daddy I worry a bit because the graveyard shift wears you out and complicates your lifestyle.
Actually, night shift isn’t something new. I found the graveyard crew at work when I read Psalm 134. These praisers stayed up all night in the house of God to worship the King of kings. Praises rose up from that place 24 hours out of 24 when the night crew did its job.
I admire them because I must admit: after midnight I’m toast. God commands the night shift to praise Him.
“Come, bless God, all you servants of God!
You priests of God, posted to the nightwatch in God’s shrine, Lift your praising hands to the Holy Place, and bless God.
(Psalm 134: 1, 2 The Message)
If I say, “Praise Me!” ?
Once I swept my wife into my romantic arms and asked, “Do you love me because I’m so handsome, or because I’m so intelligent, or because I’m so rich?”
She paused as if waiting for another choice, then said, “I just love you.” Kind of deflates your ego when you’re fishing for a compliment, huh?
One day, some time after that I sat at my desk and the thought came to me, “God commands me to praise Him. Is He egotistical?” It’s one of those thoughts that cause you to say, “Get behind me devil!”
But, it wasn’t the devil posing the question. God wanted to teach me something.
Does God prance in the reflection of our praises? Someone who doesn’t know the Lord might think that, but it a million miles from the truth. How can my pipsqueak praises add an atom to God’s greatness?
Praise Connects Us With Him
We’re coming back to the States in June to visit churches and will no longer be involved in the church in Creteil where we’ve been part of the pastoral team. Recently, the lead pastor, Ivan, asked the team to express to Phyllis and I why they appreciated us.
I felt a bit like someone attending his own funeral because people usually wait until the person is dead to say kind things like that.
Many years ago and old fellow in Luxembourg told me that we shouldn’t praise people while they are living because it might fill them with pride.
You know, I don’t think those “praises” that evening swelled my head with pride. I know myself too well, and I’ve got enough interior battles against my faults to keep me from getting too carried away by the good parts in me.
No, what my friends were saying brought me even closer to the one expressing his love and appreciation. I knew I could say the same and more about them because it’s a wonderful team of men and women.
Our praises do the same thing when we’re in God’s presence. My words of worship don’t puff God up with pride. He knows Who and what He is and He doesn’t need my words to boost his standing.
No, but my praise brings me closer to this great God. My transparence in expressing my love, my worship, and my admiration for Him breaks down any wall that I’ve constructed and opens the way for a heart-to-heart exchange with this God I love with all my heart.
Praise lets me enter into a special time of intimacy with the Lord Jesus.
Some of us husbands and wives might want to think about that. Sincere praise for another draws us closer to that person. Are your words drawing your spouse closer or pushing him/her away?
Maybe I’m reading too much into the text but it seems to me that this praise, this intimacy releases a blessing into my life. The One who made heaven and earth pours it on.
“In turn, may God of Zion bless you,
God who made heaven and earth!”
( Ps.134:3, Message)
So He’s going to pour out luxury cars, mountains of money and I won’t have any more problems? If you believe that I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.
The greatest blessing of all is His continued presence in my life. You couldn’t match that with a red Corvette.
Make sure it’s praise, though. If we “praise” God because it feels good, it’s not praise. It’s egotism on our part. If we flatter God because we want something from Him, it’s not praise; it’s manipulation.
If we praise God only because we’re scared of Him, it’s not praise. We’re just trying to protect ourselves from the results of disobedience.
But, if we praise Him because we love Him, we enter into a place of intimacy with Him and that’s powerful. We see Him for all He is. It unleashes His presence in our life and the result of that is power for living.
For the Lord takes delight in his people;
he crowns the humble with victory.
Let his faithful people rejoice in this honor
and sing for joy on their beds.
May the praise of God be in their mouths
and a double-edged sword in their hands…
Praise the Lord. (Ps. 149 :4-6, 9 NIV)
Like Our “God”
Psalm 135 reveals something incredible—we become like the God that we worship and praise.
“The gods of the godless nations are mere trinkets, made for quick sale in the markets … Those who make and trust them become like them.” (The Message)
There are a lot more idols in America than the American Idol. The thing or person that you give the holy of holies of your heart to—that’s your idol. We often see this idol when we look in the mirror.
We try everything to placate this god and make him happy. His appetites are insatiable, though, and our efforts end up shallow and vain because the worship of this god is shallow and vain.
And if we worship, praise, glorify and adore the Lord Jesus? We become like Him. Our hearts touch His in sincere praise. We feel Him express His love and that changes us.
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