Sing to the LORD

Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.

Do you praise God joyfully? Praise is not a secular song or a song composed in honor of an influential figure. Instead, it is a song about God. While some of the faithful sing for joy unto God, others don’t. God is both our subject and object of praise. Verse 1 from today’s reading says “Let us sing for joy to the Lord.” This reminds us that the subject and object our praise are God. Another term used interchangeably with Jehovah is Yahweh meaning “almighty and self-existing being who brings into existence whatever exists.” We humans are creatures. We cannot be self-existing. Yahweh created humans, you and me. Why? Isaiah 43:21: “the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.” Please memorize this verse. It is Isaiah 4321, 43:21. You and I have been created to praise the one and only true God and Creator. Nevertheless, too many praise their wealth, business, prestige, and ambitions. We have been called by God to praise Him and His glory. Ephesians 1:5-6 illustrate the purpose of our creation: “he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” “To the praise of his glorious grace.” This is the very purpose of our lives.

Where there is praise, there is God. 2 Chronicles 5:12 and preceding verses record that God descended into His temple upon the sound of trumpets and praise. Why so? Because God inhabits the praises of Israel as written in Psalm 22:3 KJV. It is commendable to decorate the temple of God with flowers and jewels but nothing beautifies the temple of God more than His glory. To fill the temple of God with His glory, praise must be offered unto Him abundantly. God cannot fill the temple devoid of fervent praise and worship. God constantly seeks after those who praise Him. German Protestant reformer Martin Luther once said “The devil does not stay where music is.” Do you desire to flee from the devil and feel the presence of God? Then, praise and sing unto Him.

In the Old Testament, the Levites are a tribe specially chosen by God to fulfill religious duties. In partnership with priests, they rendered their assistance in offering sacrifice and caring for the temple. There were approximately 36,000 Levites among the Israelites and 4,000 of them served as music ministers. Another important fact worth mentioning is that the name of the tribe Jesus Christ comes from is Judah and it means “to praise.”

Psalms are known as the poems of praise. Do you know what the conclusion of Psalms is? It is found in the last verse. Psalm 150:6: “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.” Those of you who have no breath, please raise your hand. All of us have breath. So long as we live, we must praise Him even if we are sick in bed. If our voice is almost inaudible due to illness, we must praise God in thoughts instead. In some translations, hallelujah is used in place of “praise the Lord.” According to Professor Young-il Jang, president of Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Korea, it is better to say the first three syllables together than to say two syllables together when exclaiming “Hallelujah.” If you say “Hallel”, pause a bit, and say “Lujah”, it sounds like “Praise a foreign deity called Lujah.” In Hebrew language, verbs are accented on the last syllable. Therefore, say “Hallelu”, pause, and “jah.”

What is the distance between heaven and hell? Some say it is 14 inches. Why? It is the average length between the head and the chest. Knowledge is attained not only by the head but also by the heart. God’s greatness, salvation, and love must be felt with the heart and they must be praised. Without praising God with our hearts, we cannot experience heaven. As we praise God with all our hearts, we are comforted, cleansed of evil thoughts, and renewed in the heart. Praising that which belongs to the world attracts pollutants rather than cleanse them.

Praising God drives out depression. The WHO and Harvard University predict that depression will become one of three major diseases of mankind by 2020. In Korea, 35 people commit suicide everyday. That is one death per 44 minutes. Korea is becoming the country with the highest suicide rate. Tragically, over 80% of these deaths are attributed to depression. How agonizing and painful it must have been for them to resort to such an extreme measure. If our hearts are devoid of God, we are destined for depression. By contrast if we praise God who rightfully deserves our honor and glory, we attain profound happiness, exuberance, power, and joy. Do not praise the world. Do not praise yourself. Instead, praise only God, the true Yahweh.

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