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Public Praise

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Praise

Psalm 96 KJV 1900
O sing unto the Lord a new song: Sing unto the Lord, all the earth. Sing unto the Lord, bless his name; Shew forth his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the heathen, His wonders among all people. For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised: He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols: But the Lord made the heavens. Honour and majesty are before him: Strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, Give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: Bring an offering, and come into his courts. O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: Fear before him, all the earth. Say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth: The world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: He shall judge the people righteously. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: Then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice Before the Lord: for he cometh, For he cometh to judge the earth: He shall judge the world with righteousness, And the people with his truth.

PRAISE Honor, commendation, and worship.

To Whom Praise Is Offered The one Lord who is God over all is alone worthy of praise. Frequently, the OT stresses that the praise due him is not to be offered to other gods or to idols of any kind (e.g., Is 42:8).

The Hallelujah Factor Chapter 18: Practical Pointers on Public Praise

Praise will prove to be an indispensable factor within a proper framework of a philosophy of worship. Certain catechisms declare that the purpose of men is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. There can be no worship without praise. At its heart, worship is the recognition of the greatness of God in an expressed manner. Like love, worship is valid only to the degree that it is expressed.

A. W. Tozer, in a little booklet entitled Worship: the Missing Jewel of the Evangelical Church, says, “Man was made to worship God. God gave to man a harp and said, ‘Here above all the creatures I have made and created I have given you the largest harp. I put more strings on your instrument and I have given you a wider range than I have given to any other creature. You can worship me in a manner that no other creature can.’ And when he sinned man took that instrument and threw it down in the mud and there it has lain for centuries, rusty, broken, unstrung; and man, instead of playing a harp like the angels and seeking to worship God in all of his activities, is egocentered and turns in on himself and sulks, and swears, and laughs, and sings, but it’s all without joy and without worship.”

You and I were made for praise. In praise we are fulfilled and satisified. It is natural for the redeemed to praise the Lord. Once we have begun to implement praise into our personal relationship with God we will be eager to make public expressions of praise in corporate worship. Thus the chapter preceding is the first suggestion on public praise. Meaningful public praise will be a natural sequence of personal praise.

The Hallelujah Factor Setting the Stage for Praise

A proper philosophy of public worship will prove indispensable in the practice of praise. If there are any spectators in the public worship service they are the non-Christians. They are not required to sing since they have no song. “Let those refuse to sing who never knew our God” is the correct instruction from the old song. God is our audience and everything is “te Deum” (to God). The preacher, soloists, and choir are not performing. Thus the congregation is forever delivered from the proneness to judge, grade, or criticize.

We often hear people say, “Well, I just didn’t get much out of the worship service today.” Who told them that this was to be gauge of a great worship service? They should know that they are there to bless the Lord, not just to be blessed by the Lord. We will discover to our glad surprise that when we have blessed the Lord we ourselves will be doubly blessed.

The Hallelujah Factor Setting the Stage for Praise

Everything should fit into the glad symphony of praise. The atmosphere which prompts praise begins with the first note of the instrument as people gather for praise. It will be difficult to excite people about the greatness of God if they have been greeted by a doleful dredge of draggy music as they have entered the worship place. The musicians are not there to play the organ, piano, and other instruments, but to minister to the Lord. The brass, the strings, and the cymbals are so much noise if they do not implement worship. The whole music team is there, not to perform but to lead in meaningful worship. In our own fellowship our music leader is referred to as the minister of praise. The fact is that all the leaders are ministers of praise, leading ministers of praise in praise!

I love you, Lord And I lift my voice To worship You Oh, my soul, rejoice!
Take joy my King In what You hear Let it be a sweet, sweet sound In Your ear
The Hallelujah Factor The Use of Scripture in Public Praise

I believe that one of the most effective means of praising the Lord in public or private is through use of the Scriptures.

Psalm 34:1–3 KJV 1900
I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: The humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt his name together.
The Hallelujah Factor The Prayer Time as a Period of Praise

THE PRAYER TIME AS A PERIOD OF PRAISE

The opening prayer is extremely important and can set the pace for praise. If someone other than the pastor leads in this prayer he should be urged to make his prayer primarily one of praise. Even in the offertory prayer, praise is in order, as I shall suggest later. If there is a special time for prayer in which people are called to the altar or Lord’s Supper table (and I strongly recommend such a practice), as the pastor brings the needs represented to the Lord, he may accompany it with praise that God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that he may ask or think! The parting prayer or song may profitably suggest that those who have worshiped corporately may continue through the hours ahead to worship and praise the Lord in private.

The Hallelujah Factor The Offertory as a Time of Praise

THE OFFERTORY AS A TIME OF PRAISE

What a remarkable opportunity for worship is provided as the offering is taken! And most of the time we miss it. This time should never be taken for granted. The pastor with glad anticipation might say, “And now, with thanksgiving that the Lord has included us in his great kingdom enterprises, we come to give our offerings to the Lord. Let everyone participate in these moments of worship through giving! Would you hold your offering up and repeat after me, ‘Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head above all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are ruler over all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks and praise your glorious name. But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to give as generously as this. Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.’ ” Thoughts for use in an offertory prayer should center around the mercies of God who has counted us in on his plan of economy, his provision of wisdom and energy by which our gifts have been earned; and his ability to carry that which we give him to the ends of the world in reaching people. Many wonderful Scriptures are appropriate in the time of offering. Some of these are: 2 Corinthians 9:6–8; Revelation 5:12–13, 7:12.

Psalm 24 KJV 1900
A Psalm of David. The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; The world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, And established it upon the floods. Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; Who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, Nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, And righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of them that seek him, That seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; And be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; Even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.
Psalm 24:7–10 KJV 1900
Lift up your heads, O ye gates; And be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; Even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.
The Hallelujah Factor The Personal Perspective

THE PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE

In the meanwhile, we can do more than commemorate and anticipate. We can celebrate because this psalm has a personal and present implication. Until he comes in visible glory he is with us in invisible glory. He is prepared to distill the glory of his presence anywhere he is accorded a proper atmosphere. That atmosphere is none other than praise. At this precise point is the pinnacle of praise, when our praises have been thus pleasing to him and he comes in manifest presence. In this choice environment of biblical praise he comes exactly when conditions are right. It can happen in your personal praises and mine, as well as in the services of corporate worship—and that will be the peak, the highest point in the whole range of praise.

And into that rarified atmosphere of praise he comes in glory to consume the worshiper in joy, baptize the body in love, and anoint the body of Christ with power.

I want to break that passage down into four parts so you and I can put it into practice right where we are.

First, There Is the Invitation to Proceed. “Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors.” We are the gates and the doors that open and lift for the coming of the King. Actions are demanded, detailed, and repeated. Our praises are the opening of the doors and the lifting of the gates. That is our primary part. What a sobering thought to know that we can encourage and implement his coming and to manifest his presence or we can be the closed doors and unlifted gates who keep him out. It all centers around our praises!

Second, There Is the Incoming Promised. The underlying truth throughout all this episode was that God actually wanted in! He is waiting to come in and wanting to reveal himself to his people. “And the King of Glory will come in!” That promise is good today, whether in the quiet of our personal prayer room or in the corporate worship service with other saints of God. He is waiting, poised in all his glorious power to enter into our circumstances. His incoming will guarantee transition. There will be change on every hand. The King will be in residence and will show forth the implications of his reign.

Third, There Is the Identity Pursued. “Who is this King of Glory?” The answer comes back twofold. First, he is identified by his exalted position. He is the Lord, strong and mighty. He reigns. We are back where we started with praise—God on a throne and a mighty service of worship. Second, he is identified by his efficient performance. He is the Lord, mighty in battle.

Fourth, There Are Implications Perceived. We sing a song, “The Lord is in his holy temple, The Lord is in his holy temple; Let all the earth keep silence before him, Keep silence, keep silence before him.”

The King is present, prominent, and powerful. He has taken over the nation. He is glad to take us under his reign.

We have dealt with the last four verses of Psalm 24. Now we return to the verses preceding these. The vital questions are asked, “Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place?” And the answer comes back clearly, “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.” That is a simple qualification for us who desire to stand at the pinnacle of praise, the hill of the Lord, his holy place. And that which gives us right to ascend gives us the right to stay on the mountain peak of praise.

Finally, there is the promise to those who thus stand. “He will receive a blessing from the Lord and vindication from the God of his salvation” (Ps. 24:5) So it will be with all those who seek the Lord.

As the reader gives personal application to this chapter let it be known that just as a city or a church has gates and doors, so do we. Our emotions, our voices, our arms, our hands, and our eyes are the gates and doors through which the Lord comes in conscious presence into our situations. Yes, he is already there even as he was in the kingdom of David. But when he is welcomed, when the doors are lifted and the gates are opened, he comes in a manner in which he has not come before, and to do what he has never before done. And that is revival!

The Hallelujah Factor The Personal Perspective

THE PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE

In the meanwhile, we can do more than commemorate and anticipate. We can celebrate because this psalm has a personal and present implication. Until he comes in visible glory he is with us in invisible glory. He is prepared to distill the glory of his presence anywhere he is accorded a proper atmosphere. That atmosphere is none other than praise. At this precise point is the pinnacle of praise, when our praises have been thus pleasing to him and he comes in manifest presence. In this choice environment of biblical praise he comes exactly when conditions are right. It can happen in your personal praises and mine, as well as in the services of corporate worship—and that will be the peak, the highest point in the whole range of praise.

And into that rarified atmosphere of praise he comes in glory to consume the worshiper in joy, baptize the body in love, and anoint the body of Christ with power.

I want to break that passage down into four parts so you and I can put it into practice right where we are.

First, There Is the Invitation to Proceed. “Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors.” We are the gates and the doors that open and lift for the coming of the King. Actions are demanded, detailed, and repeated. Our praises are the opening of the doors and the lifting of the gates. That is our primary part. What a sobering thought to know that we can encourage and implement his coming and to manifest his presence or we can be the closed doors and unlifted gates who keep him out. It all centers around our praises!

Second, There Is the Incoming Promised. The underlying truth throughout all this episode was that God actually wanted in! He is waiting to come in and wanting to reveal himself to his people. “And the King of Glory will come in!” That promise is good today, whether in the quiet of our personal prayer room or in the corporate worship service with other saints of God. He is waiting, poised in all his glorious power to enter into our circumstances. His incoming will guarantee transition. There will be change on every hand. The King will be in residence and will show forth the implications of his reign.

Third, There Is the Identity Pursued. “Who is this King of Glory?” The answer comes back twofold. First, he is identified by his exalted position. He is the Lord, strong and mighty. He reigns. We are back where we started with praise—God on a throne and a mighty service of worship. Second, he is identified by his efficient performance. He is the Lord, mighty in battle.

Fourth, There Are Implications Perceived. We sing a song, “The Lord is in his holy temple, The Lord is in his holy temple; Let all the earth keep silence before him, Keep silence, keep silence before him.”

The King is present, prominent, and powerful. He has taken over the nation. He is glad to take us under his reign.

We have dealt with the last four verses of Psalm 24. Now we return to the verses preceding these. The vital questions are asked, “Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place?” And the answer comes back clearly, “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.” That is a simple qualification for us who desire to stand at the pinnacle of praise, the hill of the Lord, his holy place. And that which gives us right to ascend gives us the right to stay on the mountain peak of praise.

Finally, there is the promise to those who thus stand. “He will receive a blessing from the Lord and vindication from the God of his salvation” (Ps. 24:5) So it will be with all those who seek the Lord.

As the reader gives personal application to this chapter let it be known that just as a city or a church has gates and doors, so do we. Our emotions, our voices, our arms, our hands, and our eyes are the gates and doors through which the Lord comes in conscious presence into our situations. Yes, he is already there even as he was in the kingdom of David. But when he is welcomed, when the doors are lifted and the gates are opened, he comes in a manner in which he has not come before, and to do what he has never before done. And that is revival!

The Hallelujah Factor Projects in Praise

PROJECTS IN PRAISE

1. Memorize Psalm 24:7–10. This is vital. I do not know a greater passage for memory in the Word of God!

2. As you memorize it use it in your prayer time over and over again.

3. Keep notes on what impressions the Lord gives you of its implications.

4. If you are of such a bent, turn it into a song. I have just done it with ecstatic pleasure!

5. As you come into personal worship, ask yourself the vital questions of Psalm 24:3, reading the answers in the next verse. Make it a habit to ask: A. Are my hands clean? B. Is my heart pure? C. Have I lifted up my soul to an idol? D. Have I sworn by anything false?

6. Feature yourself standing on the pinnacle of praise in the hill of the Lord, his holy place. Stand there in quietness for a while enjoying the view!

Psalm 86:11–13 KJV 1900
Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth: Unite my heart to fear thy name. I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: And I will glorify thy name for evermore. For great is thy mercy toward me: And thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.
Psalm 103 KJV 1900
A Psalm of David. Bless the Lord, O my soul: And all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; Who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; Who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; So that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord executeth righteousness And judgment for all that are oppressed. He made known his ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: Neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, So great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, So far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, So the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust. As for man, his days are as grass: As a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; And the place thereof shall know it no more. But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, And his righteousness unto children’s children; To such as keep his covenant, And to those that remember his commandments to do them. The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; And his kingdom ruleth over all. Bless the Lord, ye his angels, That excel in strength, that do his commandments, Hearkening unto the voice of his word. Bless ye the Lord, all ye his hosts; Ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure. Bless the Lord, all his works In all places of his dominion: Bless the Lord, O my soul.
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Psalm 103:1–5 KJV 1900
Bless the Lord, O my soul: And all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; Who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; Who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; So that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
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