Praise the LORD!

Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.

—Psalm 147:1

The words of a people who had just returned home after seventy years of Babylonian captivity were filled with praise and thanksgiving, songs and proclamations to God. As the Israelites returned home to Jerusalem, the songs of praise were inspired by the newfound feeling of freedom—freedom from outside rule, freedom from forced labor, freedom from imposed beliefs and practices. There was reason for praise at this monumental time.

It is also important for us to know what led the Israelites into captivity in the first place. They had forsaken the Sabbath year of the land and not heeded the law of Exodus 23:10–11: “Six years you shall sow your land and gather in its produce, but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave, the beasts of the field may eat. In like manner you shall do with your vineyard and your olive grove.”

This command had not been obeyed, and therefore the poor and the beasts of the field had not been allowed to eat from the land that which grew naturally in the seventh year. For 490 years, which included seventy Sabbath years, God’s people had ignored this command, and it led to their captivity in Babylon.

Life with all its twists and turns may sometimes bring us to places where praise is not quick to spring to our lips. When we face tough times or encounter tragedy, it’s hard to feel like praising, even though all is well between the Lord and us. But as His children, we praise Him anyway, because He is worthy.

There is, however, another time when praise flows freely, and that is when a wrong has been righted in our lives. When we get back into the will of God and under the shadow of His wings, it feels so good that praise comes as naturally as speaking.

Maybe praise has been tough for you lately. Has God required something of you that you have ignored? Is there an act of disobedience He has been calling you to make right? Well, get back home, friend, and praise Him because He is worthy. Then you will rediscover His beautiful and pleasant will!

Excerpt from “Body Builders” now available on Amazon.

BARRY STAGNER

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