Faith, Religion & Scripture, Notes & Essays by David Rodeback

Short Take: Do We Praise Enough?

Author's Note
My neighbor and I are writing short columns for our monthly ward (congregation) newsletter, focusing on the Old Testament and related scripture in 2014. Here’s one of my “short takes,” as previously published there.

One verse of a favorite modern psalm begins, “Praise to the Lord! Oh, let all that is in me adore him!” (“Praise to the Lord,” Hymns, 1985, #72).

When we pray, we routinely thank God for blessings and ask for more, for ourselves and others; we may not even think of praising him. At least we do some of that when we sing.

Like modern hymns, the Psalms are heartfelt expressions of praise, among other things, written in poetry which partially survives translation. For example, Psalm 100 – affectionately called “Old Hundredth” in some Christian circles – is subtitled, “A Psalm of Praise.” It reads:

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence singing. . . . Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

The last Psalm in the book urges us thirteen times to praise the Lord. This psalm and the book end with these words:

Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord. (Psalm 150:6)

Here’s a thought: If the Psalms don’t make us want to praise the Lord, we’re probably reading them wrong.