The Path of Praise
We must choose whether we will walk the path of praise or just continue to follow the avenue of the average. But consider carefully, for the path of praise leads to bigger and better things that tower high above those who are satisfied on the streets of the status quo.
How should we praise God?
1. We should praise God personally.
Nobody can praise God for you. Don’t leave this place today saying ‘we praised God in church today’ if YOU didn’t praise Him. [missions pledges/Merrill offering] God isn’t looking at US, He’s looking at YOU. You can be surrounded by people who are praising God, but if you aren’t joining in the exaltation, He will be robbed by you of the glory He deserves…from you!
This is because we all praise Him uniquely, with our own style and our own voice. Our praise is built on our own unique circumstances.
Ill.—I have several people in my life who love me deeply, and each one expresses their love in a different way. My mom and dad both love me, but both show it in very different ways. Mom is the nurturer, and the one I would go to when I had a ‘boo boo.’ Dad is the retired Marine who told me to rub some dirt on it and pointed out that he had had bigger scratches on his eyeballs. He expressed his love by letting me be his friend, by letting me in on secrets of life, and sometimes just by letting me live when I had really messed up! My wife expresses great love to me with kisses and hugs. Even my mother in law shows me love in her own way, and I’m happy to report it’s different than the way her daughter does it! Then there’s my precious children, and all 3 have their own particularly sweet flavor in how they love me.
All of these people are doing the same thing, they are showing me love, but if any of them stopped loving me there would be a hole in my heart! And so it is with praising God…He wants to hear from each of us regularly. Only YOU can praise Him in the way you do it!
v. 1 “I” will bless the Lord, His praise will be in “My” mouth. David is the king of Israel, who had a great choir and orchestra, but David didn’t leave the praising up to them. David chose to walk the path of praise himself, and praise God personally.
Notice also the word ‘bless’ in v. 1. Why is it that most go to church these days seeking to BE blessed, rather than to bless? Did you come today looking for a blessing, or looking to be a blessing? I think you can have both, and will have both, but only if you focus on blessing the Lord, and being a blessing to others.
We are a consumer oriented society. Every restaurant in town is competing for our business by offering us better service. “Have it YOUR way!” Every bank says they will be a bigger blessing to you if only they can have your business. But we shouldn’t come to church with that same mindset of a consumer mentality, but we should have a contributor mentality, realizing you never receive more than when you give.
Choose to walk the path of praise!
2. We should praise God verbally.
v. 1 says His praise shall be where? In my mouth!
Ever seen someone sit in church like a wooden Indian? They don’t sing, don’t clap even if asked to, and wouldn’t dream of saying Amen to a good point. Ask them why they don’t participate and they will say, “I praise God in my heart.” But the Bible teaches that if it’s truly in your heart, it will migrate to your mouth. The heart should affect the hand to do something!
By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
My wife knows that I love her, but here’s where she’s weird: she wants me to show it, even though she already knows I love her. When I proposed I told her I loved her, and then I said if I ever change my mind I’ll let you know. But that isn’t good enough for her, no…even though I love her in my heart, she wants me to say it w/ my mouth, and show it by my life. That’s how it is w/ our God! Let’s choose to walk the path of praise.
3. We should praise God continually.
This is a secret that will transform your life. In good times and bad. When you are up and when you are down. “But I can’t praise God when I’m down, it’s not natural.” That may be when we need to praise Him the most. And no, it’s not natural, it’s supernatural, and God can help us rise above!
There’s no faith found in praising God after the battle is won, only during the battle. It’s easy on the mountaintop, but it takes faith in the valley.
Why should we praise God?
We should praise, glorify, and extol the Lord not only because He deserves it, but because we need victory, and the path of praise leads us to bigger and better things than normal life can bring us. We need victory, and walking in victory occurs on the path of praise. Your marriage may need healing, and one of the keys to victory is found on the path of praise. [Your finances / your health / your work]
1. Your faith will be bolstered.
v. 3 To magnify means to make Him the big thing, the focus of our eyes. As you look at your problems they look like giants to you. Like a river you can’t cross, it’s so big. But when you magnify God it puts it all in perspective. It’s no longer ‘look how big this problem is compared to me’ but rather, ‘look how small this problem is compared to God!’
Joshua and Caleb were 2 of 12 spies sent to check out the Promised Land. The other 10 saw giants and said they are so big compared to us, but Joshua and Caleb said no, they are the grasshoppers, and God can easily squash them!
Praise will bolster and energize your faith. It’s not really a huge dose of faith that we need, we just need a little faith…a mustard seed Jesus said. It’s not great faith that we need, it’s faith in our great God who does the work for us!
And praise is just faith turned inside out…in other words, show me how much you praise God and I’ll tell you how much faith you have. And so prayer time should always begin and end with praise. Don’t allow your prayer life to just be a laundry list of needs and wants. Follow the Lord’s prayer which makes praise be the bookends.
“Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name.” That’s praise! And how does it end?
“Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever”. That’s praise!
And in between we make our requests and they will seem so small compared to our great big God we are praising--personally, verbally, and continually, on the path of praise.
Praise will bolster your faith…
2. Your fear will be banished.
v. 4 Ann Landers once said that most of the advice she has to give people is how to face their fears. Go to the bookstore and you’ll find hundreds of books on the subject of fear.
This age of inflation, terrorism, and crime has most of the world living in fear, and Christians are no better, more often cowering in the corner than walking the path of praise.
Where is all fear based? I’ll tell you where—the foundation of fear is self-centeredness. We live in an egocentric society where we’re all looking out for #1 and we are all the center of our own universe, and everyone just revolves around us.
Think about magazines thru the years:
60 years ago it was “Life Magazine”. Then it became “People”. Then the focus drew more narrow with “Us”. Then it became “Self”. Next thing you know they’ll come out with magazines and just call them “Me.” [slide] Oh, they already have!
Well, fear is the result of an over occupation with self. [selfies!]
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
Focus on self leads to self destruction, but put your eyes on the Lord and fears will falter.
Ill.—a little girl and her mother were staying overnight with some friends. On one wall was a mirror and on the other a picture of Jesus. Laying in bed the little girl could see in the mirror the reflection of Jesus. She wanted to see the picture of Jesus better but rather than move toward the picture, she moved toward the mirror, but as she did her body blocked the reflection and couldn’t see it. Her mother asked what she was doing. “I’m trying to see Jesus, but I keep getting in the way!”
Walk the path of praise, and your faith will be bolstered, your fear will be banished…
3. Your foes will be beaten.
v. 6-7 When God’s people praise Him the enemy is confused. Prayer ‘infuses’ the energy of God and ‘confuses’ the enemies of God!
Ill.--Jehoshaphat was a good king. But he heard that 3 nations were coming against God’s people. He prayed and sought the Lord and decided how to win the battle—it wasn’t w/ spears, swords, or even the catapult…it was with praise!
2 Chronicles 20:21-24
21 And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever. 22 And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten. 23 For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another. 24 And when Judah came toward the watch tower in the wilderness, they looked unto the multitude, and, behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped.
They got confused and killed each other. And I have to wonder how the last guy died…must’ve killed himself!
Now, if you feel like the devil is getting a foothold in your life, then you need to take out the moaning and groaning, whining and griping, and start walking down the path of praise. God will send confusion to your enemies, and their heads will spin wondering at the difference in your life.
So wipe out the “woe is me’s” and start some “hallelujah habits”. Look for what is right, and not what is wrong. Move from a victim’s mentality to a victory mentality.
But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.
Praise infuses God’s power and confuses the enemy.
4. God’s favor will be bestowed.
The rest of the chapter is all about additional blessings God pours out when we praise Him. The attitude of gratitude is a secret weapon in gaining the favor of God.
Ill.—my daughter long ago learned how to work her daddy. “You are so big and strong. Let me see your muscles. You are the smartest and best daddy in the whole world. Will you buy me jewelry and dresses?!” I was like putty in her hands, and it’s a good thing her momma saw thru it and would spank her when needed because if she didn’t, I’D have to! I’m so glad I’m free from her charms today!
I’m not suggesting that we try to manipulate God, but we are made in God’s image, and like any parent, He is moved by the appreciation, love, and praise of His children. But when we act spoiled, ungrateful, negative and nasty, it makes our Father not want to do us any favors.
5. Your future will be bright.
Sometimes when we walk the path of praise the circumstances will change, but sometimes something even better happens – WE change!
Think about it—why does God command us to praise Him? Is He an egotist that needs it? No! He doesn’t need our praise. He doesn’t need us to glorify Him in order to be glorious. He doesn’t need praise, rather, He knows that we need to praise Him, we need to trust Him more and rest in Him and lean on Him. We need to look to Him and He knows it.
You cannot praise the Lord until you are His child. If you are not saved, the first path you need to walk is this aisle, and come to Jesus…then proceed on the path of praise, which leads to bigger and better things in this life and the next!
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