The Grand Symphony of Praise—Life Application for January 29, 2017

January 22, 2017 No Comments »
The Grand Symphony of Praise—Life Application for January 29, 2017

By David Faust

faustI like a variety of music, at least in small doses. When it’s played with excellence I enjoy listening to jazz, classic rock, and country and western. I’m not a highbrow guy, but I respect classical music, and my wife and I have attended a few symphonies over the years. (My goal on such occasions is to avoid embarrassing myself by clapping at the wrong time.)

The “Together Sound”

Despite my lack of sophistication about classical music, I have profound admiration for orchestras and the skills of instrumentalists and conductors. Beautiful music stirs my soul, especially when all parts of the orchestra—brass, woodwinds, percussion, and strings—work together in perfect harmony. (At its root the word symphony means “together sound.”)

Worship is supposed to be a lifestyle that glorifies God. It’s not just a handful of songs we sing on Sunday morning. An orchestra provides a helpful analogy. Many assume that in a church service the minister or worship leader is the performer and the congregation is the audience. However, it’s better to think of God as the audience, the congregation as the performers, and the worship leader as the conductor. The goal is to honor God, not please the crowd.

The Songbook of Psalms

The closing chapters of the Hebrew hymnal (Psalms) broaden our understanding of worship. Psalm 148 uses the word praise 13 times in 14 verses to remind us about the who, where, and why of praising God.

• Who should praise God? The angels and “all his heavenly hosts” (v. 2). The sun, moon, and stars that pale in comparison with the light of the world (v. 3). Creatures that live under the sea (v. 7). The weather: “lightning and hail, snow and clouds,” and “stormy winds” (v. 8). Mountains and hills with their silent majesty, forests of trees with their leaves rustling in the breeze, and animals that instinctively demonstrate the Creator’s wisdom (vv. 9, 10). Political leaders should praise God: “kings, princes, and rulers” who bow before the supreme leader’s authority (v. 11). People of all generations should worship him: “young men and women, old men and children” who recognize that the eternal God will never become irrelevant (v. 12). Psalm 150:6 says, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” That’s one giant choir and orchestra!

• Where should God be praised? In the farthest reaches of the universe: “in the heights above” (Psalm 148:1) and “from the earth” (v. 7) as nature echoes the chorus of praise that resounds from the courts of Heaven.

• Why should God be praised? “For at his command they were created” (v. 5). Nothing would exist at all if not for God’s creative will. Worship is a natural response when we recall that we owe our lives and our salvation to God. “For his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens” (v. 13). God’s attributes—his exalted name, his holiness and love, justice and wrath, omniscience and omnipotence, mercy and grace—call forth praise.

Psalm 148 begins and ends with the repeated exhortation, “Praise the Lord” (vv. 1, 14). God loves to hear the music. He cherishes “the people close to his heart” (v. 14) and calls us to harmonize. What is our part in the choir and orchestra? How will we join in the grand symphony of praise?

David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Based on International Sunday School Lesson, © 2013, by the Lesson Committee. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.

As you apply today’s Scripture study to everyday life, read Engage Your Faith by David Faust and the correlating Evaluation Questions.

Daily Readings

Jan. 23


Psalm 150

Praise the Lord!

Jan. 24


Job 38:1-7

Heavenly Beings Shout for Joy

Jan. 25


Proverbs 8:22-31

Wisdom Present at Creation

Jan. 26


Luke 2:8-14

Angels Praise God

Jan. 27


Deuteronomy 24:17-22

Humans Continue God’s Caring Ways

Jan. 28


Psalm 145:13b-21

God’s Gracious Ways

Jan. 29


Psalm 148

Let All Creation Praise the Lord!

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