Monday, December 7, 2015

Thoughts on Psalm 119:7

7 I will praise You with uprightness of heart,
When I learn Your righteous judgments.
There are two words that are worth focusing on here: heart and when.

I will praise You with my heart. Praise is not a ritual, nor a penance, nor a stern commandment from a dictatorial God who is looking for an ego-boost. Praise is an outward expression of something that has happened inside of the heart.
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Which brings us to when: when I learn Your Word. That is the “something” that happens in the heart - it’s not just an accumulation of facts and information in the brain that results in praise. It’s learning it in the heart that will overflow out of the mouth in an eruption of thanksgiving and honor. It’s an experiential knowledge that imparts the Life of God into the heart of man. Psalm 33 elaborates:

Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful.
Praise the Lord with the harp; make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings.
Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully with a shout of joy.
For the word of the Lord is right, and all His work is done in truth. Psalm 33:1-4

Praise is beautiful. It’s rejoicing, it’s singing, it’s shouting for joy. And why? Because “the word of the Lord is right.”

Praise is actually a very natural, normal response. It’s not something one should have to work up in their emotions. If someone cooks you an amazing meal - you can’t hold yourself back from praising them: “Wow! This is so delicious! You should open a restaurant!” It would be unnatural to drably say “thanks for the food.” Unless, that is, you didn’t eat any of it. Selah. (Think about that)

Jesus pointed this out this when He healed 10 lepers. They cried out to Him, and He told them to go show themselves to the priest - the law prescribed this in Leviticus 13. On the way they were healed and:
One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?Luke 17:15-18 NIV

Jesus didn’t rebuke this man for being a fanatic. He didn’t call him a “holy roller” for falling at His feet. He actually expected them all to “disobey” (so to speak) His commandment (and the law) to go and show themselves to the priest - because they had been touched in a powerful way by God! They had been healed of a horrible skin disease that had isolated them from society!

But only one was touched in his heart by the word of the Lord, and he came back to praise God with a loud voice. And the Lord honored him.


Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.