The Church of Divine Guidance Sunday Morning Adult Bible Study Group is going through the book Praise God and Thank Him: Biblical Keys for a Joyful Life by Jeff Cavins. The Bible holds many keys for living a joyful life, and praise and thanksgiving are two of the most powerful. Biblical praise can transform any difficulty and lead to a deeper trust in God.Thanksgiving—the attitude of gratitude—is a natural expression of praising God we should incorporate it into our lives. You can also hear the audio of each session of the study by clicking on the YouTube Thumbnail
Psalm 150:1-6 (NKJV)1 Praise the LORD! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty firmament!2 Praise Him for His mighty acts; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!3 Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp!4 Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!5 Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with clashing cymbals!6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!
God commands us to praise Him, and we do that by saying praiseworthy things about Him.
What is praise?
Webster defines the word praise as to say good things about and it is synonymous to words such as admire, commend, extol, honor, and worship. A definition of Christian praise is the joyful thanking and adoring of God, the celebration of His goodness and grace.1 This simply implies that the act of praising is rightfully due to God alone.
From the Holman Bible Dictionary
Praise comes from a Latin word meaning “value” or “price.” Thus, to give praise to God is to proclaim His merit or worth. Many terms are used to express this in the Bible, including “glory,” “blessing,” “thanksgiving,” and “hallelujah,” the last named being a transliteration of the Hebrew for “Praise the Lord.” The Hebrew title of the book of Psalms (“Praises”) comes from the same root as “hallelujah” and Psalm 113-118 have been specially designated the “Hallel” (“praise”) psalms.
While the Bible contains frequent injunctions for people to praise God, there are also occasional warnings about the quality of this praise. Praise is to originate in the heart and not become mere outward show
Matthew 15:8 (NKJV)8 'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.
Praise is also firmly linked to an individual's everyday life
Amos 5:21-24 (NKJV)21 "I hate, I despise your feast days, And I do not savor your sacred assemblies.22 Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them, Nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings.23 Take away from Me the noise of your songs, For I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments.24 But let justice run down like water, And righteousness like a mighty stream.
One Hebrew word for “praise” is yadah, meaning “praise, give thanks, or confess.” A second word often translated “praise” in the Old Testament is zamar, “sing praise.” A third word translated “praise” is halal (the root of hallelujah), meaning “to praise, honor, or commend.” All three terms contain the idea of giving thanks and honor to one who is worthy of praise.
God is the Object of our Praise
In the Bible God who is the object of praise. The entire creation is to praise Him from the angels;
Psalm 103:20 (NKJV)20 Bless the LORD, you His angels, Who excel in strength, who do His word, Heeding the voice of His word.
Revelation 5:11-12 (NKJV)11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands,12 saying with a loud voice: "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!"
All creatures and inanimate things praise Him;
Psalm 19:1-4 (NKJV)1 The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.2 Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge.3 There is no speech nor language Where their voice is not heard.4 Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun,
Psalm 148:10-13 (NKJV)10 Beasts and all cattle; Creeping things and flying fowl;11 Kings of the earth and all peoples; Princes and all judges of the earth;12 Both young men and maidens; Old men and children.13 Let them praise the name of the LORD, For His name alone is exalted; His glory is above the earth and heaven.
Revelation 5:13 (NKJV)13 And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: "Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!"
Isaiah 55:12 (NKJV)12 "For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills Shall break forth into singing before you, And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Luke 19:40 (NKJV)40 But He answered and said to them, "I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out."
Man the crowning jewel of creation is to praise Him;
While the Bible tell us about the angels, the creatures, the rocks, it is primarily concerned with the praises offered to God by man.
Psalm 117:1-2 (NKJV)1 Praise the LORD, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples!2 For His merciful kindness is great toward us, And the truth of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD!
Isaiah 25:1 (NKJV)1 O LORD, You are my God. I will exalt You, I will praise Your name, For You have done wonderful things; Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.
Jeremiah 20:13 (NKJV)13 Sing to the LORD! Praise the LORD! For He has delivered the life of the poor From the hand of evildoers.
Luke 18:43 (NKJV) And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.
Praising God is not a feeling. Praise is conscious admiration and thanks for who God is and what He does. It is an act of the will to praise Him by thoughtfully celebrating His goodness, His greatness, His majesty, His love, His grace, His mighty deeds on our behalf.
Why Should We Praise God ?
Praise gets the focus off yourself and puts it on God. We praise Him because;
● He’s worthy
Psalm 96:4 (NKJV)4 For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.
Psalm 145:3 (NKJV)3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable.
2 Samuel 22:4 (NKJV) I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies.
Revelation 4:11 (NKJV)11 "You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created."
● He’s full of glory
Psalm 138:5 (NKJV)5 Yes, they shall sing of the ways of the LORD, For great is the glory of the LORD.
● He’s great
Psalm 145:3 (NKJV)3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable.
● He’s wise and powerful
Daniel 2:20 (NKJV) Daniel answered and said: "Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His.
● He’s good
Psalm 107:8 (NKJV)8 Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
● He’s merciful and faithful
Psalm 89:1 (NKJV)1 I will sing of the mercies of the LORD forever; With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations.
● He saves
Psalm 18:46 (NKJV)46 The LORD lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted.
● He keeps His promises
1 Kings 8:56 (NKJV)56 "Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. There has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised through His servant Moses.
● He pardons sin
Psalm 103:1-3 (NKJV)1 Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:3 Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,
To try to list all reasons to praise God is impossible, let’s just say we should praise God because of who He is and what He’s done. Making a list is an excellent idea because it puts our focus on Him and takes it off us. It reminds us of how much we owe to Him.
Ways to Praise God
The list of ways to praise God is also endless...singing songs and hymns, clapping our hands, even jumping for joy etc. We can praise God with the use of our physical limbs, our hearts and minds, and our deeds. Although there are many way to praise God, they should all result in acknowledgement of His power, love and grace.
● Praise Him with Sacrifice
Before Jesus became the last sacrifice required for the forgiveness of sin the offering of sacrifices was a way to praise God.
Leviticus 7:13 (NKJV)13 Besides the cakes, as his offering he shall offer leavened bread with the sacrifice of thanksgiving of his peace offering.
Romans 12:1 (NKJV) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
● Praise Him with movement (dance)
2 Samuel 6:14 (NKJV) Then David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod.
● Praise Him with silence and meditation
Psalm 77:11-12 (NKJV)11 I will remember the works of the LORD; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.12 I will also meditate on all Your work, And talk of Your deeds.
● Praise Him with testimony
Psalm 66:16 (NKJV)16 Come and hear, all you who fear God, And I will declare what He has done for my soul.
● Praise Him with prayer
Philippians 4:6 (NKJV) Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
● Praise Him with your life
1 Peter 1:3-9 (NKJV)3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,9 receiving the end of your faith--the salvation of your souls.
● Praise Him with music
Often praise is associated to music, whether structured Praise and Worship, personal quiet time, or spontaneous outbursts of thanksgiving.
2 Chronicles 29:30 (NKJV) Moreover King Hezekiah and the leaders commanded the Levites to sing praise to the LORD with the words of David and of Asaph the seer. So they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshiped.
Colossians 3:16 (NKJV) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Exodus 15:1 (NKJV)1 Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the LORD, and spoke, saying: "I will sing to the LORD, For He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea!
Judges 5:1-3 (NKJV)1 Then Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam sang on that day, saying:2 "When leaders lead in Israel, When the people willingly offer themselves, Bless the LORD!3 "Hear, O kings! Give ear, O princes! I, even I, will sing to the LORD; I will sing praise to the LORD God of Israel.
A Life of Praise
Everyone, well almost everyone, agrees that praise is good. When we’re happy we praise God but, when we’re not happy we don’t praise….. we pray. I say we should do both. We don’t feel any responsibility to praise God when things aren’t going good. We think that praise is just a response to what happens. Not true.
Philippians 4:4 (NKJV) Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
Praise is not what happens afterwards it’s what goes on before. Praise is the engine that causes everything else to move.
Remember Paul and Silas?
Acts 16:22-26 (NKJV)22 Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods.23 And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely.24 Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were loosed.
Your faith in God is enhanced with praise. Praise affects you, and it affects God.
Psalm 22:3 (KJV)3 But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.
Praise touches everything and every part of your life. A lack of praise affects you in a negative way because remember praise takes the focus off you and places it on God. Lives that are not constant with praise and thanksgiving are not spiritually healthy.
Praise is not the thing that comes when everything's going right in our lives; it is the driving force. When we start praising God in the middle of our problems, our problems become so small that we hardly remember them at all, they become an afterthought in the wake of our praise.
When you live a life of praise it’s who you are and what you do.
We are going to start our studies in 2018 with the book. Praise God and Thank Him: Biblical Keys To A Joyous Life. by Jeff Cavins.
The Bible holds many keys for living a joyful life, and praise and thanksgiving are two of the most powerful. In this book Jeff Cavins explains what biblical praise is and how it can transform any difficulty and lead to a deeper trust in God. He shows how thanksgiving—the attitude of gratitude—is a natural expression of praising God, and he provides practical tips for incorporating it into your life.
The pattern in Scripture is consistent. When faced with difficulty, people responded in a specific way for success. To be victorious, they responded with praise.
Hebrews 13:8 tells us that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Back in the 1970s, Merlin Carothers wrote a book called Power in Praise. He used the example of driving a car without power steering. Without power steering, the steering wheel is hard to turn, but with it, it’s a breeze.
Carothers compared this to praising vs. complaining. He said praise is like power steering—once you begin to praise, things get easier. If you just sit and complain, everything is harder.
By Actively praising God and giving him thanks, our hearts will find rest. St. Teresa of Avila said this:
Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing away:
God never changes
There Will Always Be Problems
One thing is certain: Life will never be problem free. Look at what happens in the world on any given week—wars, terrorist attacks, government shutdowns, natural disasters, horrific accidents, violent crime. Individuals are faced with job loss, serious illness, and family tragedies. Problems are a fact of life.
When people are faced with obstacles or problems, they might respond positively, or they might respond negatively, or they might choose to do nothing. But they will respond. Some deny that the problem exists. Others run away from their problems. Still others look for someone else to blame.
In the Bible there are those who choose to respond positively to devastating situations: Job is just one example.
Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face. Job 13:15 NIV
I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. Job 19:25 NIV
There are also examples of those who responded negatively to their situations: King Saul
Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in his own town of Ramah. Saul had expelled the mediums and spiritists from the land. The Philistines assembled and came and set up camp at Shunem, while Saul gathered all Israel and set up camp at Gilboa. When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart. He inquired of the Lord , but the Lord did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets. Saul then said to his attendants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her.” “There is one in Endor,” they said. So Saul disguised himself, putting on other clothes, and at night he and two men went to the woman. “Consult a spirit for me,” he said, “and bring up for me the one I name.” 1 Samuel 28:3-8 NIV
Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over. Matthew 26:14-16 NIV
It’s not a question of if we are going to respond, but how we respond to our problems and obstacles that will determine whether we are successful in our walk with God or whether we will become even more frustrated with the difficulties that we face.
The Best Response
There are plenty of inferior ways to respond to problems and handle the stress in your life.
You can respond by yelling or by throwing something. You might turn to alcohol or become addicted to social media and the Internet. But we want to learn God’s prescribed way of dealing with difficulties which is praise and thanksgiving. Our study will teach us how to respond to difficulties in a way that changes both you and your circumstances. in order for him to act in your life, some things are required of you. First and foremost is your cooperation.
The prophet Hosea said; Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain salvation upon you. (Hosea 10:12)
If You Feel Hopeless…
No matter what the difficulty is, know this: God is with you and wants to be active in the details of your life. He knows your situation and wants to go through it with you. He doesn't want you to go through it alone.
God has something greater than the answers you hear in the world. Today, on television, radio, print media, and the Internet, we are faced with a plethora of life coaches, mentors, pop psychologists, all purporting to solve our challenges and bring us peace and prosperity. Too often, though, all of these various experts lack the power to follow through on their own advice. In the end, they offer simplistic solutions to complex problems.
Praise is creating space in your life for God to do what you are hoping and dreaming he will do. Always remember: With God, nothing is impossible. All things are possible!