Read Psalm 47.
I am going to be honest; I initially had a hard time thinking through what I would write about this psalm. This is clearly a psalm of praise. Pretty straightforward. Not something that inspired deep theological questions or challenged me in my faith. As I thought about it more, I began to see the beauty in the simplicity of this psalm. I think it is one we can easily overlook, think “that’s nice”, and then move on. There are so many psalms of praise, what makes this one any different?
I don’t have the answer to that question, but I do know that psalms of praise exist for a reason. How wonderful it is to simply rejoice in the greatness of God? I love that there is no obvious context to this psalm (maybe it was after a great victory, or maybe it was written just because). But it does not matter. The writer here is celebrating God for who He is, a king. What’s also interesting is the writer seems to be praising the Lord not only for what He has done, but what He will do. With the repetition of the word “all”, it points to when God will reign over all peoples (both Jews and Gentiles), finally fulfilling His covenant with Abraham. I’m afraid I often don’t praise God until He has done something for me. And I especially don’t praise Him for what He will do for me in the future.
This has resulted in me thinking about the difference between thankfulness and praise. Essentially, gratitude versus admiration. I find it so much easier to give the Lord thanks, as there is always a specific prayer request or provision that I can cite as being thankful for. In the same way, I often feel praise must be earned; as if it matters more what someone does than who they are. This psalm is an excellent expression of adoration and exaltation towards God, where the focus is more on who God is, rather than how He has benefited us. Like I said before, we don’t know what caused the writer to write this psalm, but that should not matter. In the same way, we should not be withholding our praise from God until He does something we consider praiseworthy. Instead, we should be taking any opportunity to celebrate our wonderful King!
My question is: how often are we simply praising the Lord? Not just giving Him thanks for a blessing received (which we should still totally do). But just taking the time to admire His character, and rejoice in Him. I know for me, it’s not often. And it might be because the concept seems foreign, or awkward, or better suited for a Sunday gathering. The psalmist calls us to sing, clap and shout our praise to God – so not something I often do outside of Sunday worship. But I believe there are so many ways we can be praising the Lord! How different would our attitudes and general well-being be if we took the time to stop and admire God? Would we be less anxious, kinder to those around us, more thankful? Probably! And more importantly, what would incorporating a rhythm of praise do for our relationship with God? So this week, focus on including praise and admiration of God into your day, whether this means literally singing to the Lord, writing praises, mediation, or something else. We worship a glorious God who deserves to be praised throughout all the earth!
- Christine Luter