Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
1 I will praise the LORD at all times. I will constantly speak his praises.
2 I will boast only in the LORD; let all who are helpless take heart.
3 Come, let us tell of the LORD’s greatness; let us exalt his name together.
4 I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
6 In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened; he saved me from all my troubles.
7 For the angel of the LORD is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.
8 Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
In 1999, the album “Better Is One Day” was published. It included a delightful song that harks back to the hymns of old when the Father was the focus of our songs, not us: You alone are worthy of my praise.
The beginning is as follows:
And I will give You all my worship
I will give You all my praise
You alone I long to worship
You alone are worthy of my praise
(I will worship)
I will worship (I will worship)
With all of my heart (With all of my heart)
And I will praise You (I will praise You)
With all of my strength (With all my strength)
And I will seek You (I will seek You)
All of my days (All of my days)
Oh, and I will follow (I will follow)
Follow all of Your ways (All Your ways)
It could well be a modern update to the ancient Hebrew song of David where he praises and honors the Father for all He has done for him (Psalm 34).
Sometimes doing good things, can have bad consequences and collateral damage. David killed Goliath and became the hero of Israel. King Saul became jealous and envious of David’s fame and decided to kill him. He pursued him for years (1 Samuel 21). Many of David’s Psalms are written while he was on the run from Saul. Psalm 34 is one of them.
Psalm 34 is an invitation, a happy, joyful invitation. The Father rescued David. Now David wants you to praise the Father with him and trust the Father to rescue you too. He wants you to look, to taste, to see, to enjoy, to respect, to honor, to know the Father yourself.
In that the Holy Spirit inspired David to write this Psalm, this invitation comes from the Father Himself to all children of the King. He wants you to know Him, see Him, taste His goodness, respect Him, honor Him, and rejoice in Him. The Father is good. He blesses and protects everyone who trusts in Him (James A. Johnston)
As human beings, we tend to be self-focused. For instance, seeking the Father’s purpose for our lives is a good thing. But in acting to fulfill His plan, we could easily dwell on how good it makes us feel rather than on the honor it brings the Him. This is a temptation in almost everything we do for Him. And that includes praise.
Worshiping the Lord should be all about Him, not us. In fact, children of the King are made for praise. Peter wrote, You are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9).
Children of the King are to live a life of praise to our Father. Psalm 34 gives us some guidelines.
When? At all times, in every situation, whether good or bad, our hearts and words should be full of praise for the Father (Psalm 34:1). Worship is a continual, moment by moment attitude of the heart.
How? Worship and praise are all about boasting in and magnifying the Father (Psalm 34:2-3). As we focus on His excellencies, He grows bigger in our hearts, minds, and spirits.
Where? Praise should be a continual personal practice, the psalmist also proclaims, “Let us exalt His name together” (Psalm 34:3). Exalting the Father through praise is supersized when our voices blend together in honoring our Him. When children of the King worship and praise Him in concert, our efforts are more than additive, they are multiplied. The Father is well-pleased when His children praise Him together. It is a foretaste of heaven to come.
Is praise a regular part of your life? When you give the Lord a larger place in your thoughts and heart, He is magnified, and praise becomes your sincere, natural, and normal response (Stanley, Michael W. Wesley).
REFLECT & PRAY
“In prayer, we act like men [people], in praise we act like angels” (Puritan preacher Thomas Watson).
Father teach me to acknowledge and bless You continually. May the awareness of Your awesome greatness be the center of my life.
What does it mean to bless the Lord at all times? The idea behind “bless” is to speak a good word about someone.
“Blessing is the projection of good into the life of another. It isn’t just words. It’s the actual putting forth of your will for the good of another person. It always involves God, because when you will the good of another person, you realize only God is capable of bringing it to pass. So we naturally say, ‘God bless you.’”
“You can bless someone when you will their good under the invocation of God. You invoke God on their behalf to support the good that you will for them. This is the nature of blessing. It is what we are to receive from God and then give to another.”
This “Isn’t just a verbal performance. It isn’t ‘bless you’ said through gritted teeth. It’s a generous outpouring of our whole being into blessing the other person” (Dallas Willard).
When the Father blesses someone, He speaks a good word over that person for their well-being. It is not quite the same thing when people bless the Father. We cannot add anything to Him, nor can we improve Him in any way. Rather it is a matter of recognition. We say a good word about Him. For example His kindness, goodness, loveliness, or generosity. To magnify the Lord is to tell how great He is (ESV notes).
But there is more!
Children of the King are to experience His goodness. We are to taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8). This is one of those rare places in the Scriptures where the Father invites His children to put Him to the test. We are not to just believe it, but to come and find out.
The Hebrew word translated taste is taam. Taam has to do with determining or perceiving the quality of something. We are to discover by experience, to find out what indeed the psalmist already knew, the Lord is good. How can we possibly taste or sample the Father? We find out how delightful He is, by feasting upon His Word.
Psalms 119:103 How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey.
“Taste” doesn’t suggest a sip or a nibble; it implies feeding on the Lord through His Word and experiencing all He has for us. It means knowing Him better and enjoying Him more (Wiersbe).
“Too often we are too full of the stuff of the world to care about tasting from the Lord. May the Lord challenge us to put that stuff aside and simply taste and see that He alone is good (Stanley)!”
“You will know as much of God, and only as much of God, as you are willing to put into practice” (Liddell).
“If it’s not your practice, pick a day this week and praise God throughout the day. Praise Him when you wake up, praise Him when you eat, praise Him when you leave the house and when you return” (Stanley).