Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. Hebrews 13:15
I remember learning this song as a little girl.
Praise Him, praise Him, praise Him in the morning
Praise Him in the noon time
Praise Him, praise Him, praise Him when the sun goes down.
It was catchy and it was a sing-song-challenge that didn’t offend a child, not until that child grew up to face adulthood. Being told to praise when all was not well seemed ludicrous. That’s unfortunate because adults don’t always get to hear today’s scripture the way it was meant to be heard.
Praise is never a denial of pain. It is not a command to just suck it up to say the right things regardless. Such dogma does not support the truth that God weeps with His creation over the ways the Fall has affected us. It does not highlight the truth that Jesus suffered every temptation known to humanity. How hollow this would have seemed to the audience to whom this letter was written. They were being persecuted harshly for their faith. Throughout the preceding chapters, they had been encouraged to persevere and remember the Lord Jesus who also suffered. So, praise must be compatible with everything that has been said before. But how? This verse gives me two clues.
- Praise is offered ‘through Jesus’. His Spirit is the One makes me able to sing through my tears. As with every other thing in my spiritual life, it is only possible with supernatural ability that is conferred on me.
- And, praise is the fruit of the lips that profess God’s name. This means so much more than just calling myself a Christian. To profess Jesus’ name in the time this letter was written was to potentially lose everything, but it also meant to remember everything His name meant.
If you’ve studied the names of God, you know that the many ways He is addressed encompasses the full reach of His character and power. This is the secret to praise! When I know and embrace the many names of God, the result is open praise. No matter what may be going on, no matter how dark and no matter how complicated my troubles, praise flows out of my spirit because I know to whom I have given my life. He is conqueror. He Is Lord of all. He is provider. He is comforter. He is my shield. He is my refuge. He is my healer. Easily, I could keep writing and writing and I’m sure you are filling in the blanks.
When Jesus faced his darkest hours, he did not do so without hope. He praised His Father for all these same reasons. If He did, so can I.
Praise was Your default language and it can be mine. It’s what spills out along with my tears. I know I’m in good hands. Amen