Memory verse: “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name” (Hebrews 13:15).
Text: Psalm 107:1-32; 95:1-6
There are moments in life when we all need to appreciate what God has done for us. We must be able to stand up in gratitude and declare “Hitherto has the Lord helped us” (1Samuel 7:12). Giving praise to the Lord is required of beneficiaries of grace for divine protection and provision. No matter what may have happened in our individual and collective experiences, none of us can doubt the faithfulness of God for all the blessings we received from Him (Psalm 106:1).
- THE CALL TO PRAISE: Psalm 107:1-3.
“O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever” (Psalm 107:1). This is the Psalmist’s call to praise. It is a necessity because the Lord deserves our praise. One of the attributes of a real child of God is his commitment to praise God for what He has done in his life. Praise is not optional but a command; it is comely, befitting and proper (Psalm 33:1; 147:1). The Psalmist must have remembered how Babylon the greatest power on earth at that time could deliberately open her hands to let Israel go. It was a miracle when the nation was brought back to life again in their own land. For this reason, Israel was enjoined to praise the Lord. The Psalmist declared, “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy; And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south” (Psalm 107:2-3).
If the children of Israel were expected to give thanks unto the Lord, how much more should those who have experienced divine deliverance from the clutches of Satan give thanks and praises unto God (Isaiah 12:3-5; Jeremiah 51:10; Mark 5:18-20). The greatest deliverance any man could ever experience on this side of eternity is freedom from the power of sin, and for this he should give glory to God. But it is surprising today to find a lot of coldness among the believers regarding this aspect of praising God. Praising God is fast becoming a forgotten practice among believers, while others are simply reluctant to do it. Reasons for this may be found in the fact that some have been brought down by circumstances of life, or because they have forgotten the previous deliverances and provisions God has wrought in their lives (Psalm 34:1-6; 107:8). But whatever situation we may be confronted with, God expects us to praise and give thanks to Him because He has done great things for us (Isaiah 63:7).
REFLECT: Why do believers find it challenging at times to praise God? Can you share some personal experiences and how you overcame.
2. CAUSES FOR PRAISE: Psalm 106:1; 107:4-32.
“Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever” (Psalm 107:1). Here, the Psalmist exhorts God’s children to praise the Lord. In Psalm 107, he enumerated specific reasons why Israel should offer praises unto the Lord. He must have recalled Israel’s season of exile and years of desolation in a foreign land. They had been uprooted and deported to Babylon, some to far away islands in chains and fetters; the temple had been desecrated and destroyed, and many of Israel’s young men had been hacked down by the sword of the wicked. Also, under Egyptian captivity, they underwent distressing affliction of unimaginable magnitude (Exodus 1:8-14). But when they cried unto the Lord, He delivered them from their cruel bondage (Exodus 2:23-25). Again, after departing the land of Egypt, they found themselves wandering in the wilderness not knowing the way and without any visible means of sustenance; they hungered and thirsted, yet the Lord came to their rescue and provided for their needs (Psalm 107:4-6). The Psalmist also chronicled the different categories of people who were exhorted to praise the Lord for His faithfulness (Psalm 107:10-12, 17-18, 23-27).
Today, believers are confronted with diverse issues and difficult circumstances of life (Job 14:1; 2Corinthians 4:8-9). There are times we are lost in the wilderness of this world, not knowing what to do or where to turn. Every moment and every step seem wrong and we feel troubled. We are overwhelmed by unexpected situations and life appears tough and meaningless. We find ourselves in an ocean of dilemma, being tossed up and down in the waves of problems and encompassed by diverse storms of life (Psalm 88:13-18; Isaiah 49:14). But in the midst of these, God has come to rescue us (Psalm 107:6-7, 13-16, 19-22, 28-31; Job 23:10). Regrettably, some believers have attributed divine solution to their own human ingenuity (Deuteronomy 8:11-18). We should never fall into this trap.
We should always remember to give thanks God for all the Lord has done for us (Psalm 34:1-3; Ephesians 5:20). He has delivered us from the clutches of the enemy (1Corinthianss 15:57; Jeremiah 20:13); saved our souls from destruction; healed our pain and sicknesses, and supplied our physical necessities (Psalm 103:1-5; Ephesians 1:6).
As we look up to God for His blessings in the coming year, He is calling us into a life of praise. Together we should echo the words of the psalmist by saying, “I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1). Great will our blessings be.
REFLECT: Enumerate the reasons why we should praise the Lord?