In this week after Thanksgiving, we turn our attention to offering praise.
Our attention is again drawn to the familiar words of Psalm 100:4 — “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him and bless His name.”
We are reminded of the difference between these dual responses of thanksgiving and praise.
Praise puts a focus on who God is, while thankfulness often focuses on what God does.
In short, we praise God for His attributes, and we thank Him for His activities.
To be sure, the opposite is also true. We can praise God for what He does, and we can give thanks for what He is like.
Fitting and beautiful
For many of us, a longstanding childhood memory of church worship is the singing of “Doxology.” Its four lines are a wonderful call to praise:
“Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.”
Psalm 33:1 reminds us praise is not only fitting but “praise from the upright is beautiful.”
As we let our minds contemplate some of the Lord’s divine attributes, it becomes even clearer that praise from our hearts is right and beautiful.
God is transcendent, yet personal and everywhere present. God is benevolent, kind and generous. He is almighty, all-loving and all-wise.
Kind and gracious
God is compassionate, kind and forgiving. He is gracious, providential and holy.
God is unchanging, all-knowing, eternal, empowering and inspiring. He is great, good and infinite.
God is true and triune — Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We can list all the divine attributes that come to mind, yet the list is still incomplete.
We praise God with the words of prayer and the lyrics of music. We praise God with our manner of living and by growing in His likeness.
We praise God in public worship and in private devotions.
The Book of Psalms, the praise of the Old Testament, ends with the admonition, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord” (150:6).