Take time to absorb the awe-inspiring, private praise of God found in Scripture
These words of the warrior king and poet begin a hymn of praise and adoration for God, his works and his name. David, like many of the powerful teachers and prophets of the Old Testament, never tires of praising God.
The psalms of David that praise the nature of God are familiar to most of us. They have become hymns sung regularly in congregational worship. Many are read regularly in assemblies.
When I reflect on the power of praising God, I think that most of us rely too much on public worship for the practice of praise. In the experience of spiritually-minded people in the past, private praise brought them closer to their own spirits and closer to God. When we are alone and contemplate the power, glory, goodness and vastness of our God, we are more easily awed by his incomprehensible wisdom and creativity, making the physical universe and crafting the human soul in his likeness.
Finding time for personal, reflective praise of God challenges this busy-bound generation, and so making time requires intention and resolution. Yet the reward will be a closer relationship with God and spiritual renewal through the working of God’s spirit in your life.
Isaiah reports a life-changing view: “I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.’”
Even with an active and vivid imagination, I have a hard time envisioning what Isaiah saw. I am distracted by the image of the six-winged seraphs and what their covering their faces and feet may mean.
But the “holy, holy, holy” of the seraphs calls my attention to the Lord, high and exalted, with a robe filling the temple. Reading about Isaiah and the scene humbles me in the presence of God’s majesty and immensity. Isaiah senses in the scene his unworthiness and need for God’s grace. Such is the experience whenever we sincerely praise and honor our Father and creator.
An equally powerful scene occurs in the Revelation when John sees the exalted Christ. “His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all his brilliance.”
Through the comparisons of the features to embellished elements of nature, we sense the power and majesty of the figure. John is so overwhelmed that he falls as though dead.
The image of the figure challenges us to awe similar to that of John, and as we continue to see scenes from heaven, we are inspired to refocus our reverence for God. God sits on a throne on what looks like a sea of glass. Twenty-four elders sit on thrones around God’s throne, and seraphs like those Isaiah saw are around God, testifying to his holiness.
It is a well-accepted principle that we tend to become like those we admire.
When we praise, worship, adore, acknowledge and honor the characteristics of God, we begin the process of making his nature and qualities what we seek to develop in ourselves. Praise is beneficial as we seek to honor God and desire to become the person he wants us to be.
I personally am offering Paul’s prayer in Philippians l: “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ — to the glory and praise of God.”
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