Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Praising God

Today I'm wrapping up with the book of Psalms. Chapter 150 isn't a long one, but it sure is powerful!

"Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre; praise him with the tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with the resounding cymbals. Let EVERYTHING that has breath praise the Lord".

Now I grew up a Southern Baptist, and back in the 50s - 70s, of course we read this chapter, but you sure didn't see much of this kind of praise practiced.
It seems that Israel's music was loud and rhythmic, with a lot of percussion and stringed instruments. We had a piano and organ, and would sing hymns, which are beautiful, but always had to show "reverence" by NOT getting loud or to even THINK about clapping hands or dancing!

It wasn't until I was an adult and went to a "non denominational" church that I saw this kind of praise practiced, and at first felt uncomfortable - UNTIL I felt the presence of the Lord fill the sanctuary.

Why was it that the church was seemingly afraid to show forth this kind of praise? Was it fear of what others might think? We shouldn't be worried about that one bit - when we worship, our focus should be on the LORD, and allowing the presence of his Holy Spirit to fill our hearts and exhibit that, so others can see the JOY that the Lord brings to one's life.

In 2 Samuel 6, Israel was bringing the ark of God back to be put in the temple. Starting at verse 5 it says, "King David and the whole house of Israel were celebrating with all their might before the Lord, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, sistrums and cymbals."

Jumping down to verse12 it says, "So David went down and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the city of David with rejoicing. David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the Lord with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets. As the ark of the Lord was entering the city, Michal, daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart."

Vs. 20 " When David returned home to bless his household, Michael daughter of Saul (David's wife), came out to meet him and said, ' How the king of Israel has distinguised himself today, disrobing in the sight of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!' David said to Michal, ' It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord's people Israel - I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor'.

And Michal, daughter of Saul had no children until the day of her death".

David was full of the joy of the Lord, and wanted to show it to everyone in Israel - to his wife, he was acting like a fool, but in the eyes of the Lord - he was practicing what it says for us all to practice in Psalm 150. TOTAL praise - letting go of "self" or what others might think, and offering praise to the ONE and ONLY ONE who is worthy of it.

Jesus is worthy of our praise - let us fix our eyes on him and take our eyes off of ourselves and give him the praise he's due.


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