Praising God Out Loud….
By Brad Beals
Clap your hands, all peoples!
Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
For the LORD, the Most High, is to be feared,
a great king over all the earth.
He subdued peoples under us,
and nations under our feet.
He chose our heritage for us,
the pride of Jacob whom he loves. Selah
God has gone up with a shout,
the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises!
Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
For God is the King of all the earth;
sing praises with a psalm!
God reigns over the nations;
God sits on his holy throne.
The princes of the peoples gather
as the people of the God of Abraham.
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
he is highly exalted!
You’ve probably done a lot of thinking lately. Hopefully, as you’re considering the mess we’re in, you’re thinking about God’s kindness and compassion too, about His working all things for good to those who love him and are called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28).
Hopefully you’re doing more than just thinking and you’re preaching those things to yourself often. This is essential, as our hearts are to be shaped not by the feelings we rehearse but by conforming our thoughts to His thoughts, our wills to His word.
But you may also be finding that for all of your diligence in seeking God’s truth and self-preaching it, you still feel anxious, worried, and fearful about the mess we’re in (or whatever bigger mess you may be in). This psalm (and lots of other psalms too) give us a clue about something we might be leaving out.
Psalm 47 contains two kinds of verb moods: imperative and indicative. The imperatives are the commands to praise God — “Clap your hands”, “Shout to God”, “Sing praises”. The indicatives are the reasons why we should praise God — “God is king over the earth”, “God reigns over the nations”, “He sits on his holy throne”.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m anxious I tend to look for those rock-solid, go-to truths, the indicatives, about God and his character. But I forget about the imperatives to praise God for those particular rock-solid truths. Praising God does not come naturally when we’re anxious. And yet we need to do just that because the act of praising God is what we were made for. God both commands praise and enables us to obey: We obey with our minds —it has to start with a mind renewed in Christ— but also with tongues and lips and hands and feet. Just as God’s purpose is His own glory, so our purpose, as His image bearers, is God’s glory. To praise God for who He is out loud is to do exactly what we were created for.
Yes, we must think on the greatness of our God and preach it to ourselves, but don’t stop there. Go the whole way – you were made for it! Sing, shout, and clap your hands and see how long fear and anxiety can stand before such praise of our great God.