Active Boasting in the Acts of God
I define “Praise” as “active boasting in the acts of God.” But there are questions to ask in order to unpack the role of praise in worship ministry leadership.
1. One interesting question is Who should actually do this boasting about the acts of God? Scripture is clear that praise is expected of all servants of God, “small and great” (Revelation 19:5), and that eventually all creatures will praise him (Psalm 150:6; Revelation 5:13).
2. A second question is Why praise? And for motivation, Scripture suggests that praise is fitting for creatures, and befitting of the Creator. Psalm 147:1: “How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!” Praising fits us, as though we were designed for this very purpose. And it befits God, because He does such amazing things.
3. Where should God be praised? There is no restriction on where God should be praised. Psalm 113:3 asserts “From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the LORD is to be praised.” This is in keeping with Jesus’ teachings that, because God is Spirit, location is no longer relevant (John 4).
4. When is praise appropriate? has far-reaching implications for the Believer. Hebrews 13:15 tells us to “continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise,” and this is not meant to be burdensome. Instead, it’s a refreshing invitation to live above the fray. This continuous recognition of God’s goodness will transform a person into a free and joyful participant in the Kingdom of God.
I want to gently say that Praise is even appropriate when things are difficult. Scripture does not suggest that one should praise God because of bad things, but rather, in spite of them, and even in the midst of them. Further, God can be praised even in the midst of tragedy. Paul and Silas “were praying and singing hymns to God” while in prison, and at midnight, no less. And the early history of the Martyrs is packed with examples of Praise in the midst of suffering! Praise, in the context of suffering, is an audacious declaration that God is both sovereign and good.
5. Finally, do some of the lesser-used Hebrew/Greek words for Praise reveal How God should be praised? The words represent various types of actions. We are to confess His praise (romam; yadah; exomologeo), sing His praise (tehillah; humneo), dance His praise (machol) and play His praise (zamar: psallo) on all available instruments (Psalm 150). These actions can either erupt spontaneously from a grateful heart, or be the result of studied preparation and refinement. It can be a simple song of Praise, like Moses’ song of deliverance, or done in combination with other actions, as when Miriam played, danced and sang in praise of God’s deliverance.
Praise is always a focused boast of what God has done, and is never about us, or about our praise of God. What has God done in you that you could not do in yourself? Find some concrete ways to boast about His acts in your life, and you will know the meaning of praise!
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