When are you most hopeful? What kinds of people or events give you hope? On the other hand, when do you feel hopeless?
We all want hope, but sometimes it just doesn’t seem to exist. When we are hopeful we are more likely to praise others and our circumstances. When we’re down, praise doesn’t flow quite as easily. But what if praise could lead the way to hope? What if praise was designed to be our default setting? How would that change how you live?
I suggest to you that praise is essential, that from God’s view praise is the engine that drives the universe.
Let’s take a look at Psalm 148. From top to bottom the Psalmist wants us to know that no matter who or what you, praise is the name of the game. He starts with – and closes with – the simple statement; “Praise the Lord!” In between he makes sure that everything and everyone understands their part in praising God.
- The skies and heavens – vs 1
- The angels & armies of heaven – vs 2
- The sun, moon and stars – vs 3
- The skies and upper atmosphere (once again) – vs 4
- Every created thing, because God gave them life and set them in motion – vs 5 & 6
- The earth and ocean creatures – vs 7
- The “elements” – fire, hail, snow, wind, clouds…and the weather – vs 8
- Topography & vegetation – mountains, hills, fruit trees & cedars – vs 9
- Animals – wild & domestic, small ones and ones that fly – vs 10
- People & power – kings, rulers, judges & ordinary folks – vs 11 & 12
He sums up the Psalm by declaring that they all should praise the Lord because his name and glory are so great we can’t completely grasp their vastness. He also declares that God has made his people strong and honors those who are faithful.
Apparently creation praises God simply by fulfilling the purpose for which it was created. It reminds me of the statement Jesus made in response to the demand that he stop the people from praising him as he rode into Jerusalem; “If they keep quiet, the stones (rocks) will cry out.”
We can do the same. We were created to honor God, to love, worship and praise his holy name – regardless of the circumstances. We praise, not because things are good but because it is the right and God-honoring thing to do. Praising God puts us in a better place to please him and yield to his will, which in turn also pleases him.
So, let’s praise the Lord – and please him – all in the same breath.
An interesting article about hope: