1 Chronicles 16:8-10
Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name, make known his deeds among the people.…
David calls upon the people, as a matter of solemn duty, to "give thanks unto the Lord... and sing psalms unto him." Dr. Goulburn well says, "Praise is the religious exercise - the one religious exercise-of heaven. Angels are offering it ceaselessly, resting not night or day. Saints are offering it ceaselessly in paradise, Nature in her every district is offering it ceaselessly. From the heavens, which declare the glory of God, and the firmament which showeth his handiwork, down to the dew-drop which sparkles with the colours of the rainbow, and the lark, who tunes his cheerful carol as he salutes the rising sun, the whole creation sends up one grand chorus of praise to the throne of God." The sincere heart will ever fee! disposed to sing ?
"I'll praise my Maker with my breath;
And when my voice is lost in death,
Praise shall employ my nobler powers;
My days of praise shall ne'er be past,
While life, or thought, or being last,
Or immortality endures."
I. PRAISE IS DUE TO GOD. "For his mercy endureth for ever." Recall the reasons for praise each man can find, and each nation, especially noting those which are associated with religion, and illustrated in the connections of this passage.
II. PRAISE IS REQUIRED BY GOD. AS the fitting mode of expressing our feeling towards him and our sense of what he is and does. His own declaration is, "Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me."
III. PRAISE IS ACCEPTABLE TO GOD. It is to him as "sweet-smelling incense." It is the sacrifice he most desires.
IV. PRAISE IS SERVICEABLE TO GOD. It is a gracious influence. It draws forth right feeling in men. The praise of one calls out the praise of many, and so aids in carrying on God's purpose in the blessing of men. These points sufficiently suggest of themselves lines of treatment, and scarcely need further elaboration. But it may be well to discuss the question how far our praise must needs be intelligent - shaped, that is into forms that our minds can distinctly grasp and fully follow. Cannot sound - music without words - by its tone and character find adequate utterance for soul-emotion? Illustrate by the power of music to express varying emotion. A great musical composer gives us 'Songs without Words.' On this point the following passage from a sermon of the great Florentine preacher, Savonarola, may be suggestive. It refers directly to prayer, but it is equally applicable to praise: - "In prayer, a man may be attending to the words, and this is a thing of a wholly material nature; he may be attending to the sense of the words, and this is rather study than prayer; and lastly, his whole thoughts may be directed to God, and this alone is true prayer. It is unnecessary to be considering either sentences or language - the mind must be elevated above self, and must be wholly absorbed in the thought of God. Arrived at this state, the true believer forgets the world and its wants; he has attained almost a foreshadow of celestial happiness. To this state of elevation the ignorant may arrive as easily as the learned. It even frequently happens that he who repeats a psalm without understanding its words utters a much more holy prayer than the learned man who can explain its meaning. Words, in fact, are not indispensable to an act of prayer: when a man is truly rapt in the spirit an uttered prayer becomes rather an impediment, and ought to yield to that which is wholly mental. Thus it will be seen how great a mistake those commit who prescribe a fixed number of prayers. God does not delight in a multitude of words, but in a fervent spirit." Apply to the difficulty often felt in mentally following the words and truths and figures of our hymns, and show how true praise is not dependent on precise mental apprehensions. Also carefully impress that private acts of praise, however numerous, orderly, or sincere, can never relieve a man from the duty of joining in the praises of the great congregation. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.