The Responsibility of Being Alive
Psalm 115:17
The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence.…

The dead praise not the Lord. Joy in life is the characteristic of every healthy, right-minded person. Pining for death is, altogether and always, a sign of a morbid condition of body or of mind. It is a delusion to imagine that religion requires of us an indifference to life, and a yearning for heaven. The psalmists and kings of the old Israelite times loved life and dreaded death. One says, "I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. The Lord hath chastened me sore, but he hath not given me over unto death" (Psalm 118:17). Hezekiah expresses but the universal sentiment of the good men of his day when he says, "The grave cannot praise thee; death cannot celebrate thee; they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day; the father to the children shall make known thy truth" (Isaiah 38:18, 19). But if we have life, we must take it with all its responsibilities, and the first of these is that we acknowledge the God who made us, on whom we are wholly dependent, and who lays his righteous claims upon us. One of those claims is indicated by the psalmist. God calls for praise. All his works praise him in their order and fitness, in the precise fulfillment of the end for which they were designed. But God seeks that higher praise which can be offered by intelligent and free-willed beings. And the time in which they can offer the praise is the time of their lives amid terrestrial things. It is the praise of the living that God wants. It is praise while living that man can alone render.

I. PRAISE-TIME IS THE PRESENT TIME. It is never a mere duty that has been done; a demand that has been met. The praise that is God's due can never be paid, so that we can get a receipt in full for all our obligations. It is never a duty that can be put off to some by-and-by, something that we can promise to do some day. It is the duty of the hour. It is immediate response to God's present blessings.

II. PRAISE-TIME IS A LIMITED TIME. It is limited to life, and life is always short and always uncertain, so that a man's call to praise is a call of the moment. For praise "now is the accepted time." No man has any to-morrow until God gives it to him, and then he must call it today. Only by doing just the duty of the hour can any man meet his human obligations.

III. THE OCCASIONS OF PRAISE BELONG TO THE PRESENT TIME. It is true that there is call to praise for God's past dealings with us; and call to praise in view of the promises on which we are permitted to hope; but we can always find, if we will, calls to praise in the things actually around us; God's good hand is ever on us for good. - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence.

WEB: The dead don't praise Yah, neither any who go down into silence;

Living Praise
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