To the Chief Musician. On an instrument of Gath. [A Psalm] of Asaph. Sing aloud to God our strength; Make a joyful shout to the God of Jacob. 2 Raise a song and strike the timbrel, The pleasant harp with the lute. 3 Blow the trumpet at the time of the New Moon, At the full moon, on our solemn feast day. 4 For this [is] a statute for Israel, A law of the God of Jacob.PSALM 81:1-4
COMMANDED TO PRAISE
I had a few friends who were cheerleaders in high school. They would lament about how often they would do a cheer and there wasn’t much of a response from the crowd. Some of the cheers even asked or demanded the crowd to yell. It’s a pitiful game when all you hear are the cheerleaders and the crowd wasn’t in it.
I had a different experience in college. A bunch of our students had formed a group of fans who were ready to respond to all the cheer commands. What they brought to the game was infectious. Not only did the student fan group respond but they got others involved as well.
I’ll confess that I’m a bit of curmudgeon. I’m an introvert and by nature I don’t get to riled up in public, even when watching my favorite team play. Yet, when I attended the college games I felt compelled to participate in the cheering. I walked out of those games extremely more emotionally invested and blessed by a fellowship centered on sports.
How much more worthy of praise is our LORD. Should we be surprised to see that it is commanded of his people? Even though our personalities may not lean towards singing songs of praise, we are called to it. And even though we may not feel it, we are commanded.
So what do you do when you just don’t “feel it”? You offer praise and you seek to offer praise to the Lord with your whole heart. This command like all the others is for our good and his glory! It’s not that he needs your voice or mine, but that I need it. I need to let my voice join in others who are worshipping the Lord. I need to enter into the fellowship of adoration of our Lord. My heart needs the joy that comes from celebrating his goodness… especially on days where I don’t feel it.
It is not a lie to sing about the goodness of God when you don’t feel it. I think sometimes we wrestle with the lie in the wrong place. The lie is not in God’s character, it is in our feelings. When we don’t feel like praise we must know that our feelings are doing the lying and they must be rebuked and brought to the truth. The way we do that is through offering praise even when we don’t feel like it.
That is where the beauty of the psalms really unfolds because how many of these psalms/songs have wrestled with feelings of abandonment, grief, brokenness and pain? Many of them start there, but all of them end on the goodness and glory of God! We need to sing praise because God is worthy and because our hearts need it! Indeed the moment we just don’t feel like singing praise is the moment we probably most need to sing praise.
I can’t tell you how many times a song of worship for the Lord has come at the right time in the midnights of my life. If Paul and Silas can sing in chains, then maybe I can sing in the midst of depression and oppression. If we are commanded to offer praise than we must know it is because God is worthy and it is good for my own soul.
Father, you are worthy of all adoration and praise. When I don’t feel like praising you, my feelings are telling a lie for regardless of how I feel you are worthy! Let my life be in tune with the truth of your glory. You are worthy of all glory, honor and praise! I need to praise you. Thank you for those you have put in my life that provoke me to praise you! Thank you for pastors, teachers, musicians, artists, friends, and even critics who force me to keep my eyes on you. Thank you for the mountain tops and the valleys that provoke songs to arise from my heart. Thank you for the psalms/songs that grab my attention by pinpointing my emotions and drawing a straight line of worship. May you ever be glorified in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.