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PLEASURE IN PRAISING GOD

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OPENER: WE LOVE TO DO THINGS WE ARE GOOD AT (USUALLY)
It is human nature to like things that we are good at doing. We learn pretty quickly to keep doing things that we are good at that make us feel good and not do things that are hard for us. For example basketball, (or any other game that I cannot excel at) especially golf). However there is something that I love doing that I am not great at: singing (but I love singing praise songs…)
Do you like singing praises to God? Do you love worship? Even if you are not great at singing?
PRAISE THE LORD
The first three words of are “Praise the Lord” and that is the the theme of the Psalm as a whole. The Psalm much like many of our praise songs today talk about the many reason we have to praise God.
What do you think of when you hear the phrase “Praise the Lord?” Do you think of a worship service or a command we are given? Do you think of a reason you have to praise God?
While we understand the word praise we may not completely comprehend or we may forget the many reasons we have to praise God. Hopefully when you hear “praise the Lord” you think of the reasons and have a desire to do so that goes beyond a one day a week worship service.
We need to know and praise God for who He is!
We need to praise God not just because He commands us but because we cannot help but praise Him because we recognize His greatness.
Praise pleases God when done with the right heart. Much like a heartfelt real complement or praise given to us we want it to be real.
Worship should be pleasing to God and to us.
Worship and praise to God is not just something that pleases God, but something that we benefit from as well. One of my favorite parts of this Psalm that the title of this lesson comes from is in v3.
Psalm 135:3 ESV
Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; sing to his name, for it is pleasant!
Interestingly, when we sing it actually does release natural feel good chemicals in our brains. (Cool how God designed this.) It is no wonder that singing is such a widespread things and loved so much.
Ha! That is why even people who cannot sing very well or even terribly still like to sing right. You know what I’m talking about. Do any of you know someone who likes to sing, loud even though they are off key or sharp. Maybe they sing in the car or in the shower or maybe they “sing like no one is listening” even when people are listening even if those listening are not sure they want to.
If they are singing praises to God please do not discourage them. There is more going on there than just singing. They are gaining joy and glorifying God.
But do you find pleasure in singing praises to God? If not why not? It is a good question because God tells us in so many places in scripture to praise.
The man who did not like singing: there was a brother at another congregation where I preached that told me a number of times that he did not like singing even thought he would do it.
The Psalms and this one in particular shows that praising God should be something that comes from a heart overwhelmed with God’s greatness not compelled by habit or guilt.
If we would learn this lesson and focus on the greatness of the One whom we are praising we might get out of it what God intended for us to: to grow closer to Him and glorify God to each other while also teaching.
Praise can help us to know and grow closer to God.
God’s genius in singing and praising Him (and designing our vocal chords to do so so beautifully) is not us making beautiful melody but making us Holy and closer to HIM!
He did give some of us talents to sing and lead others in singing and/or have beautiful voices so that it sounds wonderful. That is God’s goodness toward us and something we can get a lot from.
But most of all we should get just a little bit closer to God as we sing praises to Him fully taking in the greatness of who God is.
We are no just singing into the air as we would a song on the radio in the car…we are addressing God and each other…that brings us closer.
If your spouse sang a love song to you, would you feel closer to them? Would that not create an intimacy and build your relationship? Friend who sang to his wife at their wedding and wrote and recorded a song for their 10th wedding anniversary.
As we look at the things in this Psalm we will see that as Praise for God is practiced the truths of who God is are also practiced or rehearsed in our hearts.
is all about reason to praise God!

Praise the Lord for HE IS GOOD!

This is such a simple statement of truth while at the same time being a massive understatement! But think about why this is true. Why is the the Lord good?
GOD IS GOOD FOR MORE REASONS THAT WE CAN COUNT.
We sing the song “God is so good,” But why is that true? What would you say? (Let them answer…)
God is good because: He saved us, He cares for us, He is all powerful, all knowing and great beyond our understanding yet He notices us. He blesses us with what we need. He gives us all the good things that we have in our lives.
SO many things right…? We could go on all day if we tried. Hopefully. And if we couldn’t we obviously need to focus on Him more.
But there is one huge thing that we need to consider that verse 4 reflects.
GOD ADORES YOU AS HIS TREASURED POSSESSION
Psalm 135:3–4 ESV
Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; sing to his name, for it is pleasant! For the Lord has chosen Jacob for himself, Israel as his own possession.
It is that God treasures us! God treasures you. Think about that for a moment! Let it sink in! He treasures you! He loves you so much He thinks you are priceless.
As one song says, “God you don’t need me but somehow you want me.” God wants you to have a relationship with Him and be in heaven with Him.
Just as God made Israel His treasured possession, His nation, His people God has made us His treasured possession. He treasures us more than anything else He created…otherwise He would not have sent Jesus to save us.
Your most treasured possession: To help us understand this think about your most treasured possession. Got it? What is it? (Let them answer…) Something that is yours…it doesn’t have to be a thing…hopefully you did not think of an object but something greater…your family maybe, your love, something/someone you do not want to live without…God loves you like that and more...
God treasures you…He treasures us…He is such a good God!
While that is enough to there is so much more in this Psalm that give us example as to praising God.

Praise the Lord for HIS GREATNESS!

God greatness is beyond compare!
Psalm 135:5 ESV
For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods.
Psalm 135
In the context of our passage the greatness of the Lord was being praised in contrast to the worthlessness of false gods.
They needed to magnify God’s greatness so that they would be reminded that no false god or anything else is like God or could compare to Him.
So praising God would protect their hearts from being led away from God. They needed to remember this because they were led away many times.
They needed to know that Idols were worthless and could not do anything for them except lead them away.
Psalm 135:15–18 ESV
The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; they have eyes, but do not see; they have ears, but do not hear, nor is there any breath in their mouths. Those who make them become like them, so do all who trust in them.
Psalm 135:
We need to magnify God’s greatness in our minds so that we also understand that NOTHING CAN COMPARE TO HIM.
We too have our false gods and things that we lift up in our hearts as if they could compare to God’s greatness when in actuality they are nothing.
The fact that we sometimes do not desire to worship God or even give other things more importance in our lives shows that we need to Praise God for all He is.
PRAISING GOD FOR HIS GREATNESS BRINGS US CLOSER TO HIM AND FURTHER AWAY from idols.
Just like with the false gods ultimately it is about what we really trust in to help us in life. Trusting in anything before God leads to worthlessness and emptiness just as with false gods back then.
We may not see it but praising God in the right way reinforces in our hearts and minds that God is who He is and that nothing can compare to HIM.
God’s greatness is seen in His authority and in the fact that He is the origin and creator of all things.
Psalm 135:6–7 ESV
Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, who makes lightnings for the rain and brings forth the wind from his storehouses.

Praise the Lord for HE IS IN CONTROL!

God’s deliverance of Israel demonstrates that HE IS IN CONTROL!
This Psalm through mentioning what God did for Israel demonstrates a great truth to us. Look at what verses 8-12.
Psalm 135:8–12 ESV
He it was who struck down the firstborn of Egypt, both of man and of beast; who in your midst, O Egypt, sent signs and wonders against Pharaoh and all his servants; who struck down many nations and killed mighty kings, Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og, king of Bashan, and all the kingdoms of Canaan, and gave their land as a heritage, a heritage to his people Israel.
When you consider what this is saying you get a picture of what God did to guide and lead Israel out of Egypt and into the promised land.
We know this fact and it may not seem like a big deal but think about the truth that is accentuates; that GOD IS IN CONTROL!
He was in control over the most powerful rulers of the world of that day. God brought down plagues on Pharoah and there was nothing that he could do about it except cry out to Moses to ask God to stop.
He was in control of every battle that Israel fought and gave the promised land to Israel. We know this and we have heard it many, many times but that means nothing if we do not believe...
God is in control today, now, in our world and in your life. Do you believe this? Do you trust Him?
Just because you know about what God has done does not mean you believe in what God can do. What I have seen in other Christians and in my own walk is that there is a world of difference between knowing what God did in scripture and believing that He can do great things in our lives.
We still struggle to trust Him. We still worry about so many things in our lives even though God has told us we do not need to. We still are anxious about many things even though God has said do not be anxious but pray to me about your worries and experience peace.
Even though Jesus has said take life one day at a time and trust in God to provide for your needs. If He provides for the birds He will provide for you. You are much more important.
We learn to trust God through seeing His work in our lives as we turn to Him.
Our praises to God reinforce the truth that God is in control today and we can trust Him!
What we repeat in our minds influences what we believe and act on. One effect of our praises is that we are reminded and reinforced in our minds that God is in control.

Praise the Lord for HE IS ETERNAL!

“Is anyone happy, let them sing songs of Praise.”
If you are happy praise God because it reinforces the truth that God is the reason for that! When we sing “Our God is an awesome God” this reinforces that God IS awesome and works in our lives…otherwise we need to be singing God was an awesome God.
There is something else that our lesson teaches us that teaches us. It is a lesson that I encourages us to put praise into practice into our lives. The lesson is that...
Singing praises to God is a powerful action we can do in many situations in our lives.
Notice that says if you are happy. This is not in the context of a worship service…but just being happy!
Depending on the situation we are in singing praises to God can bring a great amount of hope and joy. In one of the most difficult times in my life I used to sing “the Lord is a shield about me” and it gave me strength because it reminded me that God was my protector when no one else seemed to be or care to.
What does that mean to us? The fact that He is eternal should be a great comfort to us.
Praise for God should not only be here at a worship service. It should be throughout our days and in many of our situations. Even if it is not vocal but in our hearts.
One last point that I want to point out in that is a reason we have to praise God.

Praise the Lord for HE FIGHTS FOR US!

God fights the battles His people face.
Psalm 135:10–12 ESV
who struck down many nations and killed mighty kings, Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og, king of Bashan, and all the kingdoms of Canaan, and gave their land as a heritage, a heritage to his people Israel.
God brought Israel through every battle they faced. When they were victorious it was because God fought for them. Notice it does not say Israel struck down anyone but God did.
ARE YOU TRUSTING GOD TO FIGHT YOUR BATTLES?
We know the song “the battle belongs to the Lord” so do we trust Him to fight for us. We should because it is foolish if we do not. Why would we want to fight without Him!
What are the battles you are fighting in your life right now? Are you fighting fear, discouragement, enemies in other people, mental struggles, physical illness...
Listen to the encouragements in these passages...
Deuteronomy 20:4 ESV
for the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.’
Romans 8:37 ESV
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Let God fight your battles and the church come alongside to help you...
Christ has already won the greatest battle that we face. Are you on His side?
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