A Sacrifice of Praise

We bring the sacrifice of praise, unto the house of the Lord.

~ Kirk Dearman

When I was a kid, we used to sing this song written in 1984 by Kirk Dearman.  At one time I thought it was about the Old Testament worship of the ancient Israelites, until I read Hebrews 13:15 and understood the New Testament context.  Our “sacrifice of praise” is the fruit of our lips that confess the name of Christ.  It is the very act of worship.  But, as a worship leader I love to worship!  Why would the author of Hebrews call the act of bringing glory to the name of Jesus a “sacrifice” of praise?  Isn’t it rather a privilege?  Shouldn’t we be excited to worship and sing and tell people about what the Lord has done for us?

In my Bible this morning I read these verses from Job 1:20-21.

And Job rose and ripped apart his outer garment and shaved his head, and he fell to the earth and worshiped.  And he said, “Naked I came from the womb of my mother and naked shall I return there.  The LORD has given and the LORD has taken; let the name of the LORD be blessed.”

This happens just after Job finds out that he’s lost everything–all his possessions, even all his kids.  If you have children, imagine a police officer knocking on your door to let you know that there was a car accident and all your children are dead.  Would you feel like worshiping?  I wouldn’t.

Obviously, that’s an extreme worse-case scenario (although real for Job).  In a more day-to-day sense, it can often be a struggle to praise God.  We experience disappointment and discouragement regularly.  Sometimes being thankful is something we just don’t feel like being.  And sometimes giving praise is something we just don’t feel like giving.  Thankfully, worship isn’t predicated on our feelings!

Just like a marriage relationship sometimes requires work because you just don’t feel like loving your spouse that day, our relationship with God sometimes requires sacrifice because we just don’t feel like praising God that day.  But he is nonetheless worthy of our worship.  And when I offer a sacrifice of praise, I often experience more growth and a stronger sense of commitment to our Lord than when the worship is easy, the songs are songs I like in the style I prefer, and life is good.

I’ll be honest, my feelings ebb and flow–often matching my stress levels or my fatigue.  But God is constant and unchanging, always there, always loving, always extending mercy and grace to me.

Praise God for his faithfulness!  Lord, forgive the dryness of my heart.  May all that I need be found in you.