The Garment of Praise

Every day most of us slide out of bed and decide what we will wear when we get out of our jammies.  We usually are thinking of what is ahead of us, and this helps us select something appropriate for the weather and events of the day.

It has made me laugh when I’ve looked at clothing items (usually in discount stores, because everyone else knows better) that are “one size fits all.”  Usually these garments are made in Taiwan or some such place…a place where the concept of “one size” might be a bit…restrictive…to those of us who may be decidedly statuesque by their standards.  Their “one size” does not, in fact, “fit all.”  Unless you are going for a totally new fashion statement!

There is, however, one “garment” that is suitable, comfortable, and “comely” for all.  It is the garment of praise.  A believer is undressed without it.

God’s self-exaltation is not because he’s incomplete without praise, but because we’re not complete without it. ~ John Piper

Anyone who has trusted in Jesus Christ as their Savior, and has realized God’s great grace, MUST praise Him.  Without question, those who are truly recipients of the free Gift will have an overwhelming sense of gratitude that manifests itself in praise to the Giver.  A lack of thankfulness calls into question whether or not a person had genuinely understood his debt.

“When gratitude dies on the altar of a man’s heart, that man is well-nigh hopeless.” ~Dr. Bob Jones Sr.

Psalm 33 begins this way:

“Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.”  Gill’s Exposition observes:

it becomes them; it is their duty; they are bound unto it by the mercies and favours they have received; should they not give praise to God, the stones of the wall would cry out, and rebuke them for their ingratitude: it is beautiful, and looks lovely in them; it is an ornament to them, and is, in the sight of God, of great esteem: it is very acceptable to him, and when grace is in exercise, and their hearts in tune, being sensibly touched and impressed with the goodness of God, it is desirable by them, and is pleasant and delightful to them.

So often, we become encumbered with the cares of this world, and the song of praise in our

Like Mr. Magoo, most humans tend to be hopelessly myopic...only the results in our lives are not nearly as comical.

hearts is transformed from jubilant strains to sickly whispers.  It is in these times, when we are care worn and fearful, that praise can be the perfect tonic for our spirits.  I’ve seen this pattern over and over in my life, and, most importantly, in scripture.  In Psalm 57 (click here to open the text in a separate window), David is in desperation.  He is seeking refuge in the midst of calamity, he needs a respite from the “reproach of him that would swallow [him] up.”  What does he do?  He fills his heart with praise.  Why?  Praise offers perspective. It acknowledges our smallness, and our insufficiency,  and at the same time reminds us  that “my God is so big, so strong and so mighty…there’s nothing my God cannot do!”  We need this adjustment often.  Like Mr. Magoo, most humans tend to be hopelessly myopic…only the results in our lives are not nearly as comical.

In Psalm 34, we find a similar pattern in David’s life:

1 I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. 3 O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together. 4 I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. 5 They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed. 6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.

Here it seems to be inverted.  The praise comes first, and gives testimony to its transforming power.  Magnify Him.  You’ll find that “the things of Earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” (Helen Lemmel, full text here)

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