How often do we praise the Lord, if we’re not in church that is? I started thinking of how often I praise Him and decided it’s not often enough. I probably thank God more than I praise Him, unless I’m in a church-like setting or worshipping Him at home. Is there a difference between thanking and praising God?
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name (Psalm 100:4 NIV). Twice this psalm tells us to thank God and to give praise to Him, so let’s look at it more closely. Being outside the city, the gates as a part of the wall, protected from enemies but also business occurred there. The courts of the temple provided places for God’s worship. So the Jewish model thanks Jehovah first, then praises Him, this being the more significant, meaningful and intimate time.
To express our gratitude, we thank a person, and that’s what we do with God. We thank Him for his many blessings to us, whether large or small. Remember how good a sunny day looks after several rainy days? Do we stop and thank God for it, or for a rainy day when we need it? Do we thank God daily for our family and even for small things like when we misplace our car keys? I think much more about being grateful to God and to people than I used to be but that doesn’t mean I can’t do better.
We praise God for Who He is: Maker of heaven and earth, Creator of all life, God above all gods, God the Father, believers’ heavenly Father. We praise Jesus Christ because He is Redeemer, Savior, the Anointed One, the bright and morning Star, the Lamb of God, the Lion of Judah. The Holy Spirit is the Comforter, our Guide, our Helper and Advocate. You get the idea.
I checked the NIV Bible for ‘Praise the Lord’, which occurs 404 times in 164 verses. A number of the psalms include this phrase as well as it being in many other books. Since we find this phrase in God’s Word more than once a day for the entire year, that gives me an idea how important our heavenly Father considers it.
I also wondered how often I could find Hallelujah, but only Revelation shows it four times. I thought that strange since Hallelujah is a Hebrew term used as a short doxology meaning “praise ye Jah,” our equivalent of Jehovah. It seems Christians started using Hallelujah more often after Christ ascended.
Whether we use Hallelujah or Praise the Lord, let’s remember to praise our Creator and our Father God every day. Why? Simply because He deserves it.
After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting: Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for true and just are his judgments (Revelation 19: 1-2a).
Revelation 5:12 says: In a loud voice they sang: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”