The Sacrifice of Praise
By DiAne Gates -
I flopped on the couch this morning, my mood as gray and heavy as the stormy sky. This week has been filled with problems—serious, heart wrenching family problems. I’ve been reading through the Book of Psalm and today was the 66th Psalm, which began:
“Shout joyfully to God, all the earth; sing the glory of His name; Make His praise glorious. Say to God, “How awesome are Thy works!”
Shouting joyfully to God was not on my agenda this morning. Rather murmuring and whining.
I read the psalm over again and remembered several other psalms. This wasn’t a suggestion. My brain screamed, All right, God. How? How can I be joyful about anything today? You know my heart is breaking.
But the words on the page didn’t change.
The silence was deafening. Why? Why is this imperative statement repeated over and over throughout the psalms?
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise. Be thankful unto Him and bless His name for the Lord is good” (Psalm 100:4 KJV).
“O sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done wonderful things” (Psalm 98:1KJV).
“I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1 KJV).
That still, small voice whispered to my heart, “To come any other way tells Me you don’t trust Me.” I sucked a deep breath and heard, “Oh ye of little faith. In all of your sixty-nine-years, have I provided for you? Protected you and proven that I am at work in all things in your life? In all of your trials, sorrows, or problems have I ever left you alone?”
I lowered my head. “I’m sorry, Lord. Yes. You are always faithful. Please forgive me and I will offer the sacrifice of praise to You.”
That was the answer!
When I’m on top of the world and everything’s going my way, it’s easy to praise. Singing joy-filled songs at that moment costs me nothing thing. Was it David or Abraham who said they wouldn’t offer anything to God that didn’t cost them something?
Hmm. Could it be that coming before God with thanksgiving and praise, in spite of my circumstances, is that sacrifice of praise the psalmist wrote about? Could it be when I murmur and complain I’m saying, “God, you’ve not told me the truth. You’re not good.”
A bubble of joy gurgled deep in my soul and shattered the shroud of gloom that had consumed my heart. I reread the words of Psalm 66 and agreed with God that He was indeed an awesome, magnificent, and mighty God in all circumstances of life.
Throughout the morning, I sang, “What a Mighty God We Serve.” His peace filled my heart because I chose to obey His Word.
His joy changed my thoughts and emotions all day. Have the problems vanished? No. But in those quiet moments this morning, I gave them to Jesus. They’re too heavy for me to bear.
How about you? Are burdens suffocating your joy today? Wringing the last particle of endurance from your spirit? Are there burdens you need to relinquish to Him? He’s ready to listen and act when you come to Him. Sing the glory of His name, even with eyes pouring tears of sorrow. Offer Him the sacrifice of praise. Trust His faithfulness to work all things together for your good and His glory, because you’re His child. You belong to Him.
That doesn’t mean all things are good. Joseph spent twenty years in prison. I’m sure those prison bars didn’t seem good. But God was at work. Even when Joseph didn’t see or understand what He was doing. Read the account of Joseph’s life in Genesis 37-50 and remember. God hasn’t yet revealed the final line of your story. Do you trust Him? Then offer that sacrifice of praise. You can, because He never fails.