Saturday, July 09, 2011

Praising God

One of the criticisms that Richard Dawkins has of the Christian God is that he is always demanding praise. the Psalms are particularly demanding in this respect. "Praise the Lord", "O praise the Lord with me", "Praise him".

This gels poorly with the English character which believes in public modesty. We despise the millionaire or celebrity of sportsman who always demands assurance of his own importance.

Even worse is the silly pagan bargaining that says we weill praise him if he does something for us. "Keep me alive because I can't praise you when I'm dead"

It is easy to be grateful to God, to be reverent towards him and obedient to him, but a continual cacophony of praise? Isn't that gilding the lilly?

We read elsewhere that He is worthy to be praised. And that is true. Even inanimate objects are sometimes thought to be admirable. We admire a landscape or a picture. We praise a TV program or a play. In fact we make ourselves look insensitive or obtuse if we don't The man who does not praise a wonderful piece of music or a good book or a bright morning or the love of a good woman or even an exciting cricket match is lacking in some way.

So it is with God. What he has created, the way he has dealt with his creation and above all the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, demands praise. Not in any creepy sense or from any vain desire. Indeed in Psalm 50 the Lord says, "If I were hungry, would I tell you?" If such an absurd thing could be contemplated why should he turn to us for supply?

For praise is a human reaction to excellence and we do it by sharing our approval with others. To start to applaud is to invite others to join in. Somehow the praise completes the enjoyment. The chief end of men is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. Not for his sake, but for ours.

1 comment:

justme said...

I had never thought of praise completing enjoyment, but that's true. Well then, I enjoyed your post very much, so thank you! It was wonderful!