New Beginnings: Renewed Hallelujahs - 25 January 2022

By Louise Gevers

Praise is about recognising God for who He is and thanking Him for His blessings in all the seasons of our life. It springs from a heart of devotion and a spirit of humility, and is not merely lip service. The writer of Hebrews says that praise is about sacrifice, combining something joyful, with something difficult, yet both call for surrender of our will. Praise isn’t limited to any one place, so wherever we are each new day, it’s a new day to praise and thank God for His blessings.

When Jesus offered praise to God, He was “full of joy through the Holy Spirit” rejoicing in the success of His first mission. The seventy-two that He’d sent out had accomplished it through obedience to His instructions and, with childlike faith, even drove out demons in His Name. He rejoiced that His Father’s heart had been to reveal His power to the simple and the uneducated to enable the humblest to advance His Kingdom to defeat Satan, and make salvation accessible to the childlike, while concealing it from the “wise and learned” who had their own proud agenda.

Although Jesus was elated at seeing good triumph over evil in this mission, His greatest delight was that they were attaining their salvation. Clarifying the priorities, He cautioned them: “But don’t be glad because the evil spirits obey you, rather be glad because your names are written in heaven.” (Luke10:20, GNT)

With similar intent, the writer to the Hebrews first focuses his readers on Jesus, the perfect example of meaningful praise and sacrifice, asking that they follow His example and “continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise”, “continually” describing the ‘when’ of praise, and “sacrifice” guiding the understanding of what a complete offering of praise to God should look like. He later reiterates, “do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased”.

How we live our lives in relation to God and to others is important for true praise. The sacrifice we bring that is worthy of God overflows from a heart that loves Him, and others, sacrificially, and can praise Him even when sorrowful and distracted. It’s not dependent on how beautiful our voice is or melodious the instruments.

The metaphor of fruit helps to illustrate that the quality of the praise that comes through our lips, correlates to what is growing in our heart. The most delectable, ripe fruit comes from the lips of those who love and revere Him and hold fast to His commands.

How can we renew our approach to praise at the beginning of this year that we can continually offer to our God a worthy “sacrifice of praise”?

Prayer: Father, “You have done many things for us … there is no-one like you! You have made many wonderful plans for us. I could never speak of them all … you do not ask for animals burned whole on the altar or for sacrifices to take away sins. Instead you have given me ears to hear you, and so I answered, “Here I am …” (Psalm 40:5-7, GNT) Help me to sing a new song of praise and honour You with my life. Amen