Recap: This week’s Summer Playlist song is “We Praise You” by Matt Redman. For most of us our praise is likely underestimated in terms of what it ascribes to the Lord and what it invites on our behalf. This weekend Pastor Josh talked through five things our praise invites or invokes. On top of that we were reminded of the importance that our praise should not only be a response to what God has done, but faith in what He will do.
Scripture: Psalm 147
Icebreaker: If you could live your life as a famous person (past or present), whose life would you live?
- What is praise and why does it matter?
- If people were to look at where you put your time, talents, and treasures, what would people say you ascribe value or worth to the most?
- How do you personally praise God? How do different circumstances or being around different people affect how you praise God?
- Our praise should not only be a response to what God has done, but faith in what He will do. What does regular praise invite or invoke in our lives?
- Pastor Josh pointed out that Psalm 147 begins and ends with the same three words: “Praise the Lord!” How easy is it to begin and end each day with praising God? What gets in your way?
- How can we praise God in challenging and unsatisfying conditions when our hearts just aren’t in it? What are some things we can readily praise God for regardless of what our immediate situation looks like? How can we remind ourselves of these things?
- Read Psalm 147 out loud. What are some things you can praise God for right now? This week, write your own “Praise Psalm” to God by making a note whenever you see something you can praise about God. Do it in a notes app on your phone, on Post-Its, or in a journal; whatever works for you.
Digging Deeper (A Personal Study)
Our world is currently a cacophony of disagreement, discontent and confusion. Every day images flash across our television screens, computer screens and our social media feeds. With so many strong opinions and lack of common respect for one another, one may look at the hurting around the world today and ask, “Where is God?” But the question we should really be asking is, “Where are God’s people?”
God’s plan has always been to use His people to display His love and righteousness in this broken world. What better way to show God’s love than by giving thanks for all He has done, given, and allowed to happen in our lives!
Think about this: if the Lord has saved you, restored you, and drawn near to you, then the appropriate response to Him is gratitude.
The beginning and end of Psalm 147 is the same. “Praise the Lord!” In some translations, the first and last verse is written, “Hallelujah!” This is actually a two-word phrase in Hebrew – “hallel” and “yah”. “Yah” is translated as “the Lord,” whereas “hallel” means a joyous praise in song, to boast in God. But what exactly does boasting in God mean?
The phrase “boast in the Lord” is found in 1 Corinthians 1:31, where Paul, quoting Jeremiah 9:24, says, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.”
This is quite different from bragging about things we may have accumulated, or titles and degrees we may have earned. This is about acknowledging that without God, none of that could have happened at all. Read 1 Corinthians 1:26-31. God doesn’t need us to do anything for Him. God glorifies Himself in everything He does, especially when He works in our weak, imperfect lives.
True boasting in the Lord is actually boasting of the Lord – boasting of His great attributes, boasting of what He has done for us, of what He is still doing, and of what He has promised to do.
It is time we give true praise, true “hallel” – joyous and boasting in Him – for all of the many blessings He has showered upon each one of us. Our world needs to hear about how good God is – not our opinions about politics or face masks or protesting or any other of the hot topics the enemy has intended to use to distract us from our true purpose as Christians: to display His love and righteousness in this broken world.
Challenge: Read Isaiah 42. Underline every promise mentioned and thank God out loud for each one. How many did you find? Pay special attention to verse 8 where God states, “I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols.” Think about ways you can increase your awareness to praise God throughout each day.
Challenge: Read Jeremiah 9:23-24. Now read this excerpt from explainingthebook.com’s study guide on Jeremiah 9:
“So, get your eyes off the passing fleeting worthless things of this world that will do you no good ultimately. But instead, boast of knowing God. Boast of his character – his lovingkindness, judgement, and righteousness. And practice those very things in which God delights. OK? So when society is crumbling around you and marks of God’s judgment abound, don’t grab for the material. Don’t grope for worldly wisdom. Get heavenly wisdom. Don’t grasp for physical strength. Be strengthened in your inner man. Don’t clutch earthly riches. Obtain and store up riches in heaven. Know the Lord. Walk with him.”
Make a list of the material things you possess that you are thankful for. Be honest! Don’t hold back. Follow-up with a second list of things you praise God for. Which list is longer? Which list was easier to write?
Challenge: This week, take time at the start and again at the end of your day to praise God. Before you begin, write out one of the following verses about praising God. As you write, really think about the words and what they mean to you. Continue praising God in writing. At the end of this week you will have a total of fourteen praise reports you can look back on when you need a reminder of how good God is, even when our world seems out of control.
Psalm 34:1-4; Isaiah 57:15; Psalm 35:28; Hebrews 13:15; Psalm 95:2-3; 1 Peter 2:9; Psalm 16:7-8; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Psalm 59:16-17; Jeremiah 17:14; Psalm 63:3-4; Daniel 2:20; Psalm 69:30; 2 Samuel 22:50
Challenge: Ready to go extra bold this week? Use your social media to praise God for His goodness and promises! Post about God’s attributes, what He has done for us, what He is still doing and what He has promised to do! At the same time, refrain this week from engaging in any hot topic debates (either online or in person). Make praising God your number one priority for the entire week.