The Weekly Epistle 2/22/23

Hi Living Hope,

We likely have a distaste for people who want to be praised. C.S. Lewis before coming to Christ struggled with God commanding people to praise Him. It looked as if God was stuck up. I have had people share with me that same problem with God and that Scripture would speak of God commanding people to adore, glorify, and praise Him.

First of all, God wanting to be praised is based on a correct evaluation of Himself. What God says of Himself is not inflated; it is 100% accurate.

Secondly, God doesn’t need our praise for strokes, or to feel better about himself, or to receive any type of validation. God isn’t needy. God isn’t looking to be completed by anyone’s praise. He is complete in Himself.

Thirdly, God would have all the praise He could ever “need” from the angels for all of eternity. Did He then need us to praise Him? Why command us to praise? Certainly, He is worth our praise and glory. He does delight in people praising Him.

What if God commanding us to praise Him was for our benefit? Have we thought of it that way? I am not suggesting that is the only reason we ought to praise Him, but it is worth some serious consideration. Think about something other than God you might praise. It might be a delicious meal or a certain car or some singer or poet or writer or sports star or beautiful garden or view from some mountain or of the Grand Canyon or your children or grandchildren. The list is endless of the things we enjoy that we may praise.

All people praise. Have you noticed how speaking of what you enjoy gives it more joy? You just can’t wait to tell your friends about the movie you just saw or the concert you went to or the game you attended. Last Friday, I enjoyed a high school basketball game and even before I left the parking lot, I had called my daughter, Nicole, to tell her about the game. Expressing that enjoyment made it complete. Praise completes the enjoyable experience.

Our praise to God and to others about God completes the joy. C.S. Lewis after coming to Christ had a different perspective. He says, “But the most obvious fact about praise- whether of God or anything- strangely escaped me. I thought of it in terms of compliment, approval, or the giving of honor. I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise. I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.”

So, church, praise the Lord! Be people of praise. Practice it regularly so that it becomes more and more a spontaneous overflow of your enjoyment of God- who He is and what He has done in your life and in those around you!

Blessings, Pastor Brian