A Sacrifice of Praise
Through Jesus let us always offer to God our sacrifice of praise, coming from lips that speak his name. (Hebrews 13:15, NCV)
Let’s face it: praising God in hard times or when things aren’t going well isn’t always easy. The truth is, it involves a sacrifice; a sacrifice of our feelings and emotions, of our questions and answers. But whenever people in the Bible chose to make this sacrifice, they always found that God did not disappoint them and that joy was always the final outcome. As God promised through Jeremiah, ‘Again there shall be heard in this place…the voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the LORD of hosts: for the LORD is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD’ (Jeremiah 33:10-11, KJV).
Of course, our praise may not be as exuberant in the hard times as in the good times. But that’s not the point. What matters is not the volume, but the sincerity; not the outward manifestation, but the inward heart. We aren’t praising because we feel like it (we probably don’t!), but because of what we know about God.
So, why can we praise in hard times? Well, it’s not because we’re ‘burying our head in the sand’ or ‘whistling in the dark’. It’s because we have come to see that we can trust God, who is the sovereign LORD. Even when things seem to be going wrong, he is still on his throne, still in control, still causing ‘everything to work together for the good of those who love God’ (Romans 8:28, NLT). When we moan rather than praise, what we’re saying is, ‘God, I really don’t think you know what you’re doing!’ But when we praise rather than moan, we’re saying, ‘God I may not understand you; but I do commit myself to trusting you as I wait for your outcome!’
Remember: we may not always be able to rejoice in the circumstance, but we can always rejoice in the Lord. Set your heart to bring him your sacrifice of praise today.
I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. (Psalm 34:1, NRSV)
Copyright © 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont