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Leslie Basham: Here's Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Praise exercises faith that there is a God, that He is sovereign, that heaven rules, that God has all things under His control, that He is always faithful, that He is always good and that all is well and all will be well because God is on His throne.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, co-author of Seeking Him, for Tuesday, October 2, 2018.

Nancy is continuing in a series "Hallelujah: A Praise Celebration."

Nancy: Now, we saw in the last session that "hallelujah" means what? Praise the Lord. It's a command. It's "all of you all praise the Lord together" as a corporate command. And that's the word that's used at the beginning of Psalm 113. Praise the Lord. In the Hebrew, hallelujah.

And I'd like us to read it aloud together. Psalm 113. This is the Word of the Lord:

Praise the LORD!
Praise, O servants of the LORD,
  praise the name of the LORD!

Blessed be the name of the LORD
  from this time forth and forevermore!
From the rising of the sun to its setting,
  the name of the LORD is to be praised!

The LORD is high above all nations,
  and his glory above the heavens!
Who is like the LORD our God,
  who is seated on high,
  who looks far down
  on the heavens and the earth?

He raises the poor from the dust
  and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
  to make them sit with princes,
  with the princes of his people.
He gives the barren woman a home,
  making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the LORD! 

Let me hear that last phrase just a little more vociferously. Praise the Lord! Or in Hebrew? Hallelujah! Amen. This is the Word of the Lord. Thank you. You may be seated.

So, in our last session we looked at that first phrase, "Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!" I want us to look today at the rest of verse 1:

Praise [hallelu], O servants of the LORD,
  praise [hallel; hallelu; praise] the name of the LORD!

Now, as you remember, these are the "Hallel Songs" the songs of deliverance from Egypt that were sung by the Jews at the Passover celebration where they remembered, they looked back and remembered how God had delivered His people out of bondage. They remembered that they had been servants of Pharaoh, slaves of Pharaoh. And the Lord had delivered them from slavery, and now they had become God's servants.

Throughout the Old Testament God refers to Israel as "my servant." By the way, when Israel didn't fulfill her God-given calling as the servant of the Lord? Who did God send? The Messiah—my servant—to be the servant that Israel never could be, never was, to transform, to redeem their hearts, to give them new hearts so that they could become true servants of the Lord.

As they sang this psalm, as they read this psalm at the Passover, "Praise, O servants of the Lord," they realized that now they were God's servants. They were to serve Him with joy. Not out of obligation as they did for Pharaoh, but with joy, with delight. "Lord, I love to serve You. I praise You for You are a wonderful master. You are the Lord. I delight to serve You."

And this verse speaks to us I think of the relationship between God and His people. We naturally want to view ourselves as lord and God as our servant. "Lord, would You do this for me? Would You do this? Would You get that? And don't forget this." But that's getting it really mixed up, isn't it? This psalm reminds us that He is the Lord, and we are His servants.

You see, when you're praising the Lord, it turns your mixed-up perspective right side up. It rights our perspective to realize, "Oh, yes, You are the Lord, and I am Your servant. And as Your servant, I praise you, Lord."

It's a reminder that His servants are to be worshipers. Not just drudgery, not just fulfilling duty, not just doing what we have to do, but worshiping Him as we serve Him; not just serving Him out of obligation but out of delight. And so this psalm reminds us that we love, we admire, we worship the One that we serve.

I often quote my friend Charles Spurgeon, and I'm going to quote him a lot in this session. He said about this verse,

His service is perfect freedom, and those who fully enter into it discover in that service a thousand reasons for adoration.

And let's be reminded, too, that not only are we His servants, but all things, all circumstances, all people ultimately are His servants. So all things and people and circumstances are to praise the Lord. To refuse to praise God, to fail to praise Him, to neglect to praise Him is actually an act of cosmic treason and rebellion. All servants of the Lord praise Him, worship Him. And one day, by the way, all will. Right? If not now gladly, then one day by coercion.

To neglect to praise God is actually an act of cosmic treason and rebellion.

Now, in verses 1–3 in this psalm, we see an emphasis on the name of the Lord. "The name of the Lord" is repeated several times. "Praise the name of the Lord." The name of the Lord reveals who God is, and that's the God we are to worship. That's the God that we are to praise.

We are not to praise or construct for ourselves any other god, lower case "g." We're not to praise or worship a god, small "g" of our own making or our own conception. We are to worship the God, capital "G," who is who He has revealed Himself to be—the personal God, the self-sufficient God, the eternal God, the immutable, unchanging God, the holy God, the God of righteousness and justice and mercy and grace and truth—the God as He has revealed Himself through His names in the Scripture.

I'm told there are a thousand different names for God in the Scripture. I've never actually counted them all. But start looking for them, and praise Him for His names. All those names mean something. They tell us who He is and who we are to praise.

So when we acknowledge Him as Lord, "Praise the Lord Jehovah," we give loving worship to what He has revealed about Himself. So worship is really our response to what God has revealed to us about Himself. Praise the name of the Lord. We praise His name, His character, His attributes, all that He does. Reverence, worship His holy name.

And verse two continues in this theme but it introduces a new word:

Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and forevermore!

That word "blessed" in the Hebrew is the word barak. It means, often, "to kneel as an act of adoration." "Bless the LORD, O my soul and all that is within me, bless His holy name." It has to do with kneeling before the Lord. He is the Lord. We are His servants, remember? Kneel before the Lord as an act of adoration.

The Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, uses there the word eulogeo. Does that sound familiar? Eulogy? To speak a eulogy, to speak well of someone. It means "to show strong affection and gratitude for Him." Barak. Bless the Lord. Eulogeo. Speak well of Him.

And again, referring to Charles Spurgeon, he says:

Every time we think of the God of Scripture, we should bless Him, and His august name should never be pronounced without joyful reverence.

Joyful reverence. I like that! It's not just reverence because that could make it sound like it's just somber reverence and you only speak in hushed tones about the name of God. And sometimes that's appropriate. But it's also appropriate to have joyful reverence—to shout the name of the Lord, to sing the name of the Lord, to proclaim the name of the Lord, to say, "Oh Jehovah Lord God, You are amazing. You are awesome. You are wonderful. There is no god like You." And we're going to see that very phrase in the middle of Psalm 113 when we get to that stanza.

So, "Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and forevermore!" How long should we praise the Lord? Forever. This speaks of time—eternally. God is being praised by those angels and citizens of heaven today. "Day and night they cease not saying, "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts. Heaven and earth are full of You. The whole earth is full of Your glory."

But we will join them and forever with the Lord. What we're doing here today is just a dress rehearsal, a practice for what we will spend an eternity doing in heaven—praising the Lord, blessing the Lord from this time forth and forevermore.

But not only in time, also in space. Look at verse three:

From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the LORD is to be praised!

Now, you could take this in two ways, and I think they're both appropriate. First of all, where does the sun rise? In the east. Where does it set? In the west. So from east to west throughout this whole great earth, around the globe, everywhere, at all times, in all places, the name of the Lord is to be praised from east to west. As we're sitting here in the daytime, it's night time in some other part of the world. Day and night the name of the Lord is to be blessed from shore to shore, from east to west.

But also, from early in the morning to the last thought we have at night. From the rising of the sun, when our feet hit the floor, to the setting of the same, till our heads hit our pillows, from morning till night and all day in between. Throughout that whole span of time, the name of the Lord is to be blessed. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Praise His name.

Praise is always appropriate. He is always worthy of our praise. Some of you are morning people. Some of us are night people. No matter what time of day it is, what time of night it is. I was up till 2:30 this morning working on these programs. The name of the Lord is to be praised.

And some of you got up just a little bit after I went to bed. And if you're a 4:30 in the morning person, praise the Lord then. If you're the go to bed at 2:30 in the morning person, praise the Lord then and all the time in between. No matter what's going on, no matter what we're facing, no matter what may be pressing in on us in that day, lift your eyes upward. Your circumstances will change. God never changes. Praise the name of the Lord.

One commentator said it this way, "This praise is . . . to be the offering of men [and women] everywhere; in sickness as in health, in the feebleness of old age as in the vigor of youth, in times of trouble and of joy, on our deathbed, as did Oliver Cromwell [who said], 'Is there no one here who will praise the Lord?' [as he was on his deathbed, in the sunset, the night of his life] or like John Wesley's mother [as she was dying]—'Children as soon as I am released, sing a psalm of praise to God.'"

Early in the morning, late at night, in the dawning of our lives, in the evening of our lives, in the time when our physical bodies won't do what they used to do and they start to decay and decline and fall apart as we anticipate that new body, like Christ's; praise the Lord.

Young people, we have some young people here today, praise the Lord in the prime of your life. In your youth when you have that vigor, praise the Lord. In the afternoon of your life, in every season, when your hormones are going crazy, praise the Lord in every season of your life. That commentary didn't say all that. I added that at the end. The point is, the name of the Lord to be praised everywhere, at all times, by everyone.

Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament, chapter 1, verse 11 has a similar verse. Listen to that passage. It says:

For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts.

That verse anticipates, as does Psalm 113, a day of worldwide worship and adoration and praise. Every knee will bow. Barak. Eulegeo. Every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. "Hallowed be thy name." That's what we pray. "Thy kingdom come. Your will be done. May Your name be exalted."

Now, it's not that way today in most of the earth. It's that way in this room. It's that way in many of our hearts—not as we wish it was, not as it one day will be—but we're praising the Lord. But there are lots of places in this earth where they've never even heard the name of the Lord. There are places on this earth where they have heard the name of the Lord but they reject Him.

I read an article yesterday about famous, well-known women who are coming out proclaiming their atheism. They don't need God. There is no God. Actresses. Business women. And I'm saying, one day they will know. They will believe. There will be worldwide worship. It should grieve us to be anywhere where God's name is not hallowed—starting in our own homes and our own hearts—and should motivate us to pray and to long for that day. May the name of the Lord be praised.

So, who should sing hallelujah? Everyone and everything! "Let everything that has breath praise the LORD" (Ps. 150:6). I've been listening to the geese outside my house. It seems like it's late in the evening, and I open the window and there are these geese that are making all this kind of racket. They're saying, "Hallelujah." I'm sure they are. Hallelujah. They have breath. Do geese have breath? I guess they do. Praise the Lord.

When should we sing hallelujah? At all times! It may be that as you listen to this psalm today, it's hard for you to say "hallelujah." Maybe you're in the midst of some deep trials. Your heart is heavy, and you find it difficult to sing, "Hallelujah." Well, remember that throughout the Scripture times and throughout history and in other seasons of our lives how saints have sung most sweetly their praise to the Lord when their hearts were being most deeply pierced by affliction, by hard times, by thorns.

It takes faith to praise the Lord when your eyes are filled with tears. But lift your eyes up. Know that God is greater. God is more real. God is more present than anything that you may be facing this day.

And you may find that in the place of praise the cloud lifts. Your heart is freed without your circumstances maybe even changing at all. Praise gives us a whole new set of lenses, a whole new set of glasses, the whole world looks different when you see it through eyes of praise.

Praise gives us a whole new set of lenses. The whole world looks different when you see it through eyes of praise.

And where should God be praised? Where should hallelujahs be sung? Throughout the whole wide earth.

F.B. Meyer was a great Bible teacher of a previous generation. I love the way he said this. He said,

God is preparing the whole universe to be an orchestra of praise and adoration to his Son. On one occasion a great conductor, amidst the burst of five hundred instruments, is said to have missed the piccolo [a tiny little instrument]; [and the conductor] stopped the entire performance until the piccolo chimed in. Nothing can satisfy God till creation's groans are changed to rapture, and the curse, which restrains her songs, is lifted from the face of all nature; [and] He wants to hear your voice.

You might say, "In this great orchestra or this massive church where we've got 5,000 people singing together, I'm just a piccolo." I wonder if God, as the great conductor of our worship might just sometimes say, "Let's stop the praise until the piccolo joins in." Yes, you don't have a great voice. Yes, you're not some beautiful cello or booming French horn. You're a piccolo.

I've got one of those pipsqueaky little voices when I sing. So I could consider myself a piccolo when it comes to singing. But the great Conductor says, "I want to hear your voice. I want to hear your praise. It may be scratchy. It may be weak. But I want to hear your voice until the whole universe comes together in a great orchestra and choir of praise and adoration to Jesus."

You see, praise exercises faith that there is a God, that He is sovereign, that heaven rules, that God has all things under His control, that He is always faithful, that He is always good, and that all is well and all will be well because God is on His throne. Praise says, "I trust you, Lord, even when I can't see what You're doing."

Praise acknowledges that God sees what we cannot see, that He knows what we don't know, that He understands all mysteries, and that He is always at work on behalf of those who love Him and who are called according to His purposes. Praise gets that.

Praise displaces murmuring and whining and complaining and arguing and pouting and being anxious and being fearful. You can't praise and do those other things at the same time. You can't worship and whine at the same time. If you're whining you're not worshiping. If you're worshiping you can't whine. Praise will displace all those other things that are not worthy of our great God.


Well, as I was studying for this series I came across a whole bunch of magnificent quotes from, as I call him my friend, Charles Spurgeon, on the subject of praise. I don't know that there has been anybody maybe since the apostle Paul in the history of the church who has known how to praise the Lord and how to speak the praise of the Lord as wonderfully as Charles Haddon Spurgeon who was that prince of preachers in the nineteenth century and in London, England.When we praise Him, we can breathe in the midst of complex or difficult circumstances. We don't have to stress or strain or manipulate or fix everyone and everything around us. We can cling to Him in faith and watch as our lives get swept up in His goodness and His greatness and His grand redemption story of which we are a little part.

I want to read to you just some of those quotes. But I want to tell you if you go to ReviveOurHearts.com we've put up a pdf there that you can download. You can print out a lot more Charles Spurgeon quotes on praise. You might just want to print that out, take it with you with your Bible to your throne time with the Lord, to your quiet time, and just read and meditate on some of these quotes that lift our hearts up to the Lord.

You can't worship and whine at the same time.

But let me just read some of them to you now. And let's join our hearts. I don't have words. I feel like a pre-kindergarten speaker and writer when I get around people like Charles Spurgeon. But my heart soars with them as they lift up the greatness of God. Some of this language is a bit quaint, but you'll follow it.

Come, you children of God, and bless his dear name; for does not all nature around you sing? If you were silent, you would be an exception to the universe. Does not the thunder praise him as it rolls like drums in the march of the God of armies? Does not the ocean praise him as it claps its thousand hands? Does not the sea roar, and the fullness thereof? Do not the mountains praise him when the shaggy woods upon their summits wave in adoration? Do not the lightnings write his name in letters of fire upon the midnight darkness? Does not this world, in its unceasing revolutions [round and round and round, does not it], perpetually roll forth his praise? Has not the whole earth a voice, and shall we be silent? Shall man, for whom the world was made, and suns and stars were created—shall he be dumb [as in silent]? No, let him lead the strain. 1

Here's another one:

Many of our doubts and fears would fly away if we praised God more. And many of our trials and troubles would altogether vanish if we began to sing of our mercies. Oftentimes, depression of spirit that will not yield to a whole night of wrestling, would yield to ten minutes of thanksgiving before God! 2

And another one:

We don't sing enough, my Brothers and Sisters! How often do I stir you up about the matter of prayer, but perhaps I might be just as earnest about the matter of praise! Do we sing as much as the birds do? Yet what have birds to sing about, compared with us? Do you think we sing as much as the angels do? Yet they were never redeemed by the blood of Christ! 3

And this one:

It would create an almost miraculous change in some people's lives if they made a point of speaking most of the precious things and least of the worries and ills! Why always the poverty? Why always the pains? Why always the dying child? Why always the husband's small wages? Why always the unkindness of a friend? Why not sometimes—yes, why not always—the mercies of the Lord? That is praise and it is to be our everyday garment! 4

Here's another one:

It is a great thing to praise Jesus Christ by day; but there is no music sweeter than the nightingale's, and she praises God by night. It is well to praise the Lord for his mercy when you are in health, but make sure that you do it when you are sick, for then your praise is more likely to be genuine. When you are deep down in sorrow, do not rob God of the gratitude that is due to him; never stint him of his revenue of praise whatever else goes short. Praise him sometimes on the high-sounding cymbals—crash, crash—with all your heart and being; but when you cannot do that, just sit, and mean his praise in solemn silence in the deep quiet of your spirit. 5

And then, this one:

Surely, goodness and mercy have brightened all the days of our lives. Each day has been so wonderful [with His mercy, His goodness], that if we had only lived that one day, we should have had cause to praise the Lord for ever and ever. 6

So, how much, O servants of the Lord, does He hear praise coming out of your mouth, out of your life? How much do others hear us expressing our praise to and for the Lord?

Praise the LORD!
Praise, O servants of the LORD,
  praise the name of the LORD!

Blessed be the name of the LORD
  from this time forth and forevermore!

From the rising of the sun to its setting,
  the name of the LORD is to be praised!

Hallelujah.

Leslie: That's Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth in a series called "Hallelujah: A Praise Celebration." Even when circumstances don't cooperate, you have a choice to make: Will you whine, or will you worship? And Nancy, we have a great way this month to help our listeners examine their hearts, and turn their affections back to the Lord.

Nancy: Yes, Leslie. Every year our team designs a wall calendar for our listeners, and this year the 2019 calendar is based on the themes from a book I co-authored, Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival. Regardless of the details of our lives or circumstances we may be facing, I’m convinced that the greatest need each of us has is to seek the Lord. That’s what gets us back to a heart of praise. To seek His direction, His wisdom, His understanding, His perspective, His heart. To seek Him.

Each time your eyes turn to this new Seeking Him wall calendar, you’ll be reminded of ways to deepen your relationship with the Lord. Plus, I think you’ll enjoy the beautiful floral designs and hand lettering that fill each page of this thirteen-month calendar. We’d like to send you this 2019 wall calendar when you support the ministry of Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount.

Go ReviveOurHearts.com, and let us know what amount donation the Lord may be prompting you to give, and you'll have a chance to request the calendar. Or ask for it when you make a donation when you call 1–800–569–5959.

I'm so grateful for your support. And I'm eager for you to have this beautiful Seeking Him calendar in your home throughout the year ahead.

Leslie: Thanks, Nancy. Now, ancient people worshiped animals as gods. It's easy to recognize the futility of that kind of idolatry. But the truth is, all of us are tempted to worship other gods. Nancy will show us the futility of idolatry, tomorrow.

Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants you to love, admire, and worship the God you serve. The program is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

1 “Magnificat.” Sermon #340, published Oct. 14, 1860.
2 “Christ’s Indwelling Word.” Sermon #2679, published June 17, 1900.
3 "Holy song from Happy Saints.” Sermon #3476, published Sept. 16, 1915.
4 "The Garment of Praise.” Sermon #3349, published April 10, 1913.
5 "The Object of Christ’s Death.” Sermon #2483, published Sept. 20, 1896.
6 "Love at Its Utmost.” Sermon #1982, published Sept. 11, 1887.

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