Psalm 148

Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD from the heavens, praise him in the heights above. Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his heavenly hosts. Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars. Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies. Let them praise the name of the LORD, for he commanded and they were created. He set them in place for ever and ever; he gave a decree that will never pass away.

Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds, kings of the earth and all nations, you princes and all rulers on earth, young men and maidens, old men and children.

Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens. He has raised up for his people a horn, the praise of all his saints, of Israel, the people close to his heart. Praise the LORD.

If water is the universal solvent, then praise has to be the universal remedy. There’s nothing that will change your attitude, elevate your mood, take away your painful headache, unbreak your heart or dissolve your fear like praise. The word praise appears 248 times in the Bible. The first time was when Leah had given birth to her 4th son. In her day, birthing four sons was considered to be a sure sign of God’s favor. “Now I will praise the Lord,” she said, and named him Judah. Judah means praise.

Someone wrote recently to ask me how the early Christian martyrs endured such horrible torture. My research took me to a work called Foxe’s Book of Martyrs where I learned that they sang songs of praise while the torturers were doing their worst.

Medical research has shown the healing effects of both laughter and belief in God. Put these emotions together and you have praise. Praising God makes us happy while nourishing our belief. It often creates a mild state of euphoria, assuring us that everything will be OK. Singing songs of praise with other believers heightens that feeling. No matter how dire our circumstances are when we walk in the door on Sunday morning, a few minutes of praising God with our spiritual family seems to put it all into its proper perspective. This too shall pass, we realize, and a burden is lifted off our shoulders. Congregations that unduly restrain or curtail their corporate praise do so to their disadvantage.

So, what’s the point? No matter what the situation is, praise the Lord.

“Rejoice in all things,” Paul told the Philippians. “I say it again. Rejoice!” (Phil 4:4) Then he said, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Phil. 4:8-9) To experience the Peace of God, praise the God of Peace.