As we last discussed, people are drawn to pleasing aromas. The smell of fresh bread baking in the oven will draw friends and family to your kitchen like bees to honey. And know what? There’s one very pleasing fragrance that attracts our Heavenly Father. It’s the irresistible aroma of PRAISE!
When we thank God and exalt Him in our words and music, we are in a sense offering up a sacrifice to Him: “the sacrifice of praise.” (Psalm 50:23; Jeremiah 33:11; Hebrews 13:15) Sacrifices made in Old Testament times gave off a fragrance that God described as “the pleasing aroma of your offering.” (Leviticus 26:31) As such an offering, our praise smells absolutely delicious to our Lord; and it draws Him near to us, the source of the “pleasing aroma”!
Psalm 22:3 teaches us that God “inhabits” or “dwells amid” the praises of His people. When we honor God with our songs of praise and worship, He quickly joins the festivities!
Having God close by is definitely a good thing! Besides, it’s only right that we honor the One who blessed us not only with life, but also with eternal life! “Praise the Lord! How good to sing praises to our God! How delightful and how fitting! (Psalm 147:1 NLT)
But exactly how often should we praise the Lord? “I will praise the Lord at all times [in every situation]. I will constantly speak His praises.” (Psalm 34:1 NLT) King David, the Psalmist, gave us an example of this: “I will praise You seven times a day because all your regulations are just.” (Psalm 119:164 NLT)
What should we praise God for? “…With my whole heart, I will praise His holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things He does for Me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and … fills my life with good things.” (Psalm 103:1-5 NLT)
Where should we praise God? Wherever we are: at home and in school; on the job and at play — and NOT just in our houses of worship. The definitive answer, however, is “in His presence”; and He’s everywhere! “Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise” (Psalm 95:2 ESV)
Under which conditions should we praise God? In what circumstances? Only when things are going our way, right? WRONG!! When we praise God in spite of our situation in life, despite adversity and heartache, we really are making a “sacrifice of praise”! God realizes this, and He finds the aroma of our offering that much sweeter.
“…Let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise; the fruit of lips that openly profess His name.” (Hebrews 13:15 NIV)
Facing a challenge? Struggling through a bad situation? Or are you just hurting today? Praise God anyway — through your pain and tears. Praise directed at God will take the focus off you and your problems and put it on God, the problem solver; the miracle worker; the God of all comfort. And God will join you wherever you are. He’ll sit by your side, work on your behalf, and raise your spirits!