The Pinnacle Is Praise
By Fin Sheridan
Psalms 144, 146, 147, 148, 149 and 150 all begin with the same word: ‘Praise’. Clearly Psalms 145 didn’t get the memo but it does begin with the sentence “I will exalt you, my God and King” so the theme is consistent at least.
The last 7 Psalms are all psalms of praise. They repeat the word again and again, a drumbeat of exhortation and encouragement. “Praise the Lord!” they cry. They call for music, they call for speech, they call for song and they call for actions.
Their placement isn’t accidental. The journey through the Psalms has been a complex one. There’s been grief and laughter. We’ve read about the closeness of God and the pain of feeling his absence. Doubt, encouragement, betrayal and community have filled the pages of the last 143 chapters and so what now? How should such a book of extremes end? It ends, perhaps surprisingly, with exuberant praise.
“We are fickle with our praise; we withhold it as if we should get to decide how and when God is worth praising.”
There’s a lesson to be learnt here. Despite the twists and turns of life, despite the pain and the process, we must find ourselves in the place of praise. That’s what worship is – showing and demonstrating worth. And God’s worth never changes or lessons, regardless of what we’ve been through.
We have to get better at detaching our praise from our circumstances. It’s all too common for praise to cease when we experience the smallest amount of pressure. Financial worries come and we immediately revert to panic. Something goes wrong and we contemplate skipping church for a few weeks. We are fickle with our praise; we withhold it as if we should get to decide how and when God is worth praising.
Whatever happens, he is worth praising. When we feel discouraged, he is still worthy of praise. When we find ourselves alone and unsure, he is still worthy of praise. When we are in pain, he is still worthy of praise. Regardless of the journey, he is still worthy of praise which is why the road through the Psalms ends here.