We Christians like deep theology. We like to feel smart; we like discussing the deep stuff. Today, I'm talking about something simple. I don't think anyone dislikes the Psalms. How can you not like them? However, their recurring theme is something so simple we skip it too often.
Psalms is peppered with comments to "praise the Lord", "sing unto the Lord", "give unto the Lord the honor due his name", etc. This is one of the easy commands of Scripture that results from pure love. Yet somehow I still don't do it as often as I should.
Why should I praise God? Okay, that's kind of a no-brainer. "Praise him for his mighty acts; praise him according to his excellent greatness." (Ps. 150:2) "Let them praise the name of the Lord: for he commanded, and they were created." (Ps. 149:5) Praise Him because He is almighty; praise Him because of His works, His Creation. Praise Him because He is worthy of all praise.
But let's be honest. That's not really new information. We already knew that, right? What strikes me so strongly about these psalms is that they reflect not just praise, but constant praise. Psalm 150 states, "Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary, praise him in the firmament of his power... Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with psaltery and the harp. Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord." Psalm 148:1 states similarly, "Praise ye the Lord. Praise ye the Lord from the heavens, praise him in the heights."
Praise him in the church, praise him at the view of his power, praise him from the heights, praise from the sky. Praise him with trumpet, psaltery, harp, timbrel, dance, cymbals, and organs. What do we see here? Praise Him everywhere, with whatever is at hand, all the time!
It's okay to be lost sometimes in awe of God's greatness. It's okay to let loose sometimes before God, and just praise Him. Think about David when he brought the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem. (2 Sam. 6) David seems to lose himself before God. What king have we ever seen run dancing miles in front of a wagon, in front of thousands of his subjects? Why? David was lost in awe of God, and to him, there was no crowd, no subjects, no servants, no bodyguards, just him and the Creator of the universe. David forgot his dignity as king, and lost himself in worship.
That's the kind of worship that God delights in. There is a time when we should forget our dignity, our reservation and shyness, and simply love God, praise God, shout to God, sing to God. It's okay to get carried away by the beat of a song, and find yourself clapping and singing to God. It's okay to raise your hands in a church service. It's okay to tune everyone else out and just praise God.
I posted a song by Rich Mullins several days ago called, "Sing your Praise to the Lord". Sometimes we just need to let loose and praise Him. It doesn't matter if you're that good on a musical instrument. Just sit down at a piano, or whatever you can play, and scratch out a tune, just enough to sing to. If you can't play an instrument, just sing. Just love God. Just praise God.