Sunday, November 21, 2010

Shout to the Lord

Psalm 98:4-9

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
with the lyre and the sound of melody.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord.

Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
the world and those who live in it.
Let the floods clap their hands;
let the hills sing together for joy
at the presence of the Lord, for he is coming
to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with equity
Psalm 98:4-9
I love the imagery of these verses from Psalms. I love the image of the whole world praising God – the seas roaring its praise and the hills singing. I believe God is worthy of such dramatic praise.
Before last weekend, my definition of praise was probably too narrow. If asked, I would have defined praise, without much thought, as the songs of praise in worship, the prayers of thanksgiving we offer to God, and the words of the sermon that extol God’s majesty. With that definition of praise, it’s hard to imagine that the sea and the hills could actually offer praise.

Last Sunday, Ember led the early service in the song “Shout to the Lord” – a song partially based on Psalm 98. Following that, in Jack’s prayer, he asked God that we would shout loudly with our actions of praise of the Lord.

Shouting with our actions our praise of the Lord.

The next day I read about praise as described by Frederick Buechner. He wrote that praise of God is volcanic – explosive. “The whole of creation is in on the act – the sun and moon, the sea, fire and snow, Holstein cows and white-throated sparrows, old men in walkers and children who still haven’t taken their first step. Their praise is not chiefly a matter of saying anything, because most of creation doesn’t deal in words. Instead, the snow whirls, thee fire roars, the Holstein bellows, the old man watches the moon rise. Their praise is not something that at their most complimentary they say, but something that their truest they are.”

Do we shout of praise of God with our actions? Does our praise of God reflect who we are at our “truest?” Trees stand, reaching the skies while the ocean crashes and the sun paints the skies with colors of glory – all of them shouting a testimony to God’s greatness. Do we do the same with who we are, with what we have been given and with our actions?

Prayer: Our Jesus, our Savior, Lord there is none like you. All of our days, we want to praise, the wonder of your mighty love. Our comfort, our shelter, tower of refuge and strength, let every breath, all that we are, never cease to worship you. Shout to the Lord, all the earth, let us sing. Power and majesty, praise to the King. Mountains bow down and the seas will roar at the sound of your name. We sing for joy at the works of your hands. Forever, we’ll love you. Forever we’ll stand. Nothing compares to the promise we have in you. Amen.

Prayer adapted from the song “Shout to the Lord,” Words and music by Darlene Zschech

(The above devotional was written for our church's Weekly Devotional Ministry.)


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