Psalm 95: Reasons to Praise God

Psalm 95

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.
Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
when your fathers put me to the test
and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
10 For forty years I loathed that generation
and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart,
and they have not known my ways.”
11 Therefore I swore in my wrath,
“They shall not enter my rest.”

South Padre Island Sunset – III | September 2022

Sometimes I’ve made a joke about quoting others. First time: “As Billy Graham said,…” Second time: “As I’ve said before…” Third and every time afterwards: “As I’ve always said…” In the case of the reasons and benefits of praising God, I don’t have a famous person to quote, other than this psalmist and others who have made the point throughout the Scriptures urging us to praise God. But I do have reason to say, “As I’ve often said…”

The Common Preface to the Lutheran communion liturgy says, “It is truly good, right, and salutary, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto You O Lord, Holy Father, Almighty, Everlasting God.” To that I would add the word “praise.” It’s always right to praise God. It’s always good. It’s always salutary.

It’s always good to praise God. Praising God focuses our attention on God’s goodness, power, glory, grace, love, majesty, holiness, mercy, and providence. It lifts our eyes from the doldrums of daily dilemmas. It helps us see beyond our limited horizons and perceptions of what is good, beneficial, holy, and true. Praising God forces us to consider things from a different perspective than earthbound solutions, easy-way answers, and quick-fix options. Rather than drowning ourselves in a puddle of self-pity, we elevate ourselves in glorious joy in the majesty of God who is worthy of all our praise.

That’s also why it’s right to praise God. He deserves our praise. The Bible is clear, “For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory (praise) of God (Romans 3:23). The actual word in that verse is δόξης (doxās), which is often translated, “praise.” Whether praise or glory, no one other than God deserves praise or glory. He is the creator of all things. His are depths of the earth and the highest mountains. We are his.

But that’s not all. It is also salutary for us to praise him. For when we praise God, we express truths that bind the soul in grace and love. It aligns our souls with the reality of God’s greatness and our unworthiness in the face of his majesty. Praising God is good for the soul, not just the thing we ought to do. Furthermore, when we sing our praises, something Martin Luther commended, we don’t just express joy, we find it.

As I’ve often said, praising God is good, right and salutary!

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