Have you ever wondered why God commands everything that has breath to praise Him? And that command is not just for people, either. God commands everything to praise Him. I actually think I've seen my dog, Winston, praise the Lord. It happens on days when he races around the yard in wide circles, ears flapping madly, tongue hanging out in a great big doggie grin. He is joyful to be alive, and runs in a fur-covered testimony of God's goodness.
I've seen (or heard) my daughter’s pet Lovebird praise the Lord. It is the only explanation for the days when she is all alone in the room, sun streaming into her cage, chirping her little heart out. There are no other birds, or humans for that matter, to be her audience, but perhaps she sings for her Maker. He made her to chirp and do other birdie things, and she does them as a testimony of His creative genius.
The Pharisees, in Luke 40, were offended by the praise of Jesus' disciples at his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. They challenged Him to rebuke his followers for voicing their praise. Jesus' answer tells us what He thinks of enthusiastic, heartfelt appreciation of Himself. "I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out."
I believe that the command to praise is a discipline that God uses to help remind ourselves of Whom it is that we serve. If we call out God's attributes, not only does He hear, but we hear. Hearing how great, mighty, loving, merciful, just, wise, and good God is helps us put our circumstances in their proper perspective. Just because my circumstances are bad doesn't mean that God is bad. Praise reminds us of God's attributes regardless of our circumstances.
Ruth Myers, in her book Thirty-One Days of Praise, reminded me this morning to praise Him. Listen to her words: "I praise you for Your sovereignty over the broad events of my life and over the details. With You, nothing is accidental, nothing is incidental, and no experience is wasted. You hold in Your own power my breath of life and all my destiny. And every trial that You allow to happen is a platform on which You reveal Yourself, showing Your love and power both to me and to others looking on. Thank you that I can move into the future non-defensively, with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead, for You hold the future and You will always be with me, even to my old age. . . and through all eternity" (49).
Will you join me today in praising God?
Lori Hatcher lives in Columbia, SC, and is the wife of a youth pastor, homeschooling mother of two lovely young women, part-time dental hygienist, published writer, and author of the blog “Be Not Weary.”