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Psalm 47: 1 – 2          The Passion Translation

Go ahead and celebrate! Come on and clap your hands, everyone! Shout to God with the raucous sounds of joy! The Lord God Most High is astonishing, awesome beyond words! He’s the formidable and powerful King over all the earth.

I was trying to sense the mood of the author of this psalm and the tone with which he wrote while reading it. One of the footnotes shows that this shout of joy is literally a ringing cry. Imagine, if you will, feeling so overjoyed with who God is your life and the ways He has recently demonstrated His formidable power for you that you want to shout. Imagine being moved to song and exultation.

If you’ve ever been in a church service where the level of praise is celebratory then you know two things. First, it can be a bit daunting in the beginning. Secondly, you can’t help but be drawn to it. There is something about the unfettered yet honest and real celebration of our Lord that is infectious. Even if you are not the type of person who is easily given to dance or joyful expression, you are vicariously involved in others’ unencumbered praise of the Lord.

Think about the author of today’s psalm being the praise leader at church yesterday. What would that have looked like? Clearly, he was full of the revelation of God’s magnificence. Even if you are a hands in your pockets kind of person, you can’t help but be drawn to a celebration of God that is unrestrained and honest. It is hard for some of us to let go and others of us just do not have the words that seem to come so easily to others. Nonetheless, when someone so beautifully expresses what is bottled up in your heart, it is freeing. When someone praises the Father whom you love deeply, it moves your spirit too.

I imagine that David would have embarrassed me in his unconstrained praise of God, the Almighty lover of our souls, but secretly, or not so secretly by now, I admire him for giving expression to his heartfelt passion for God. I am not interested in, and I know you are not either, those people who just want to be the center of attention but it is oh, so nourishing to be in the midst of a group of people who truly love God and who give voice to their praise. We might find ourselves uncomfortable with some of the new music as we rather favor the old hymns but there is something real in those songs and something very honest in the voices that lift them up.

When it comes right down to it, that is what church is to me. Though I can guarantee you I am not the best at praise, I love that feeling when the Holy Spirit starts moving through the congregation. The passion of God is stirred and only a hard heart is not affected. As much as the churches that move in the Spirit of God made me feel like I was having an aneurysm in the beginning, I very quickly joined one. The reason is clear, God was in the house and His presence was so clear and palpable that it was life and breath. Every time the church doors were open, I was there, breathing Him in.

Okay, so I am a hands in the pockets kind of person but I love being immersed in exultant praise for the One I love. I am moved by the words and expressions from people who obviously love the Lord and who give their praise freely. Go into your heart for just a moment today and picture praise and worship with this author. Imagine what he must have felt in his heart as he penned these words. Imagine what it might be like to give yourself over to all the love and appreciation you have in your heart for our beloved Father and Mighty God. Can you touch those tender emotions? What would you like to say to Dad if you could be with Him today? What if, instead of asking Him a bunch of questions, what if you just looked upon His beauty and thanked Him? How long would it take to thank Him for all He has done for you? Hey, don’t leave out making the planet so you would have a place to live. If you begin there, I think you will find lots to be thankful for, but then, just look upon His face, the glory of who He is and just praise Him for who He is rather than what He has done. He is glorious and worthy of adoration. He is worthy of hero worship. He is life, love, breath, hope, and joy. Open your heart, if not your mouth, and let your worship fill you.

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