Every week when I begin this Bible study, I thank readers for joining us and do so for two reasons. First, my email overflows with comments from readers and friends about how they enjoy learning about the Word of God.
Second, all comments are welcome and enhance this study, even the snarky and mean-spirited ones. But then, I especially appreciate when readers who are believers and well-versed in the Word respond with thoughtful, faith-based arguments that elevate and advance our study. And I write “our study” because I feel that we are lovingly gathered together around a virtual table.
Now let’s go behind the curtain, and I will share how weekly study topics are chosen in what I hope will be an inspiring example of faith. Honestly, I don’t know what we will study from one week to another. But then, about half the time while sitting in church, the following Sunday’s topic is revealed with what I describe as a “ding.” That happened last weekend when my church’s big screen displayed the following prayer response:
“I will praise your name forever, my King and my God” (Psalm 145).
Ding, ding, and now you are reading today’s study about praising Him. The faith lesson is that God speaks to us all, and that alone is worthy of praise. But amazingly, God’s methods and message are tailored-made to our unique situation. The challenge is whether our ears are open to hearing His voice amidst the world’s noise, confusion, and self-absorption.
After all that, it’s time to review some notable passages of praise found in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) followed by the New Testament, and then a memorable, unexpected message at the end.
Our first praise verse is from Exodus — part of a longer passage found in 15:1-18 that is attributed to Moses and subtitled “The Song of Moses”:
“‘The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him’” (Exodus 15:2).
A portion of that passage was repeated in Psalm 118:14: “The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” Isaiah also recited some of Moses’s verse:
“‘I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation’” (Isaiah 12:1-2).
So why was Moses’s praise for God in Exodus 15:2 repeated by the psalmist and then Isaiah? Perhaps because that verse is a concise power-packed testimony of praise that includes all the reasons why God was praiseworthy then and now. Consider proclaiming Exodus 15:2 every day and committing it to memory.
We turn now to the book of Psalms that I call the “Grand Central Station of praise.” While researching this study, I learned: “In Hebrew, the word psalms [tehilìm] derivates from the root He-Lamed-Lamed that produces the words to praise; to shine.”
There are 150 poetically-written psalms that I encourage you to read to praise God more. Due to space constraints, here are some representative samples:
“Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and everything that moves in them” (Psalm 69:34).
“Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” (Psalm 106:1).
“Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 117:1-2).
“Let my soul live and praise you, and let your rules help me” (Psalm 119:175).
“Praise the Lord! Praise the name of the Lord, give praise, O servants of the Lord, who stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God! Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; sing to his name, for it is pleasant!” (Psalm 135:1-3).
The final verse of the last psalm fittingly reads:
“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 150:6).
Turning to the New Testament, notice how the tone of praise differs from the Old:
“For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36).
“To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Philippians 4:20).
“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).
“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise” (James 5:13).
Now, are you ready for some final praise-related inspiration?
While writing this study, I had an unrelated email exchange with Jonathan Cahn — Messianic Jewish rabbi, bestselling author, and Hope of the World ministries leader. Rabbi Cahn and I are Messianic Jews who believe that Jesus (Hebrew name “Yeshua”) is the Messiah.
During our digital conversation, I mentioned my Bible study was about praise. I also repeated that I felt called to write about the topic because people don’t praise God enough — speculating why He put praise on my heart.
Rabbi Cahn responded: “The Bible says praise is powerful. The armies of Israel were often led by people praising. The army of King Jehoshaphat defeated their enemies by fighting, not with natural weapons – but with praise.” He continued:
“The word ‘Jew’ comes from the Hebrew root ‘Yehudah,’ which means ‘praise.’ A Jew is one who praises God. Every true believer is spiritually Jewish. That means our very identity and purpose in living is intrinsically bound to praise.”
The rabbi’s unexpected message completed this study, made my day, and perhaps yours as well. Praise God! Amen.
Myra Kahn Adams is a conservative political and religious writer with numerous national credits. Her book, “Bible Study For Those Who Don’t Read The Bible,” reprints the first 56 volumes of this popular study. Myra is also Executive Director of SignFromGod.org, a ministry dedicated to Shroud of Turin education. SignFromGod was a proud sponsor of the Museum of the Bible’s opening events for its high-tech exhibition about the Shroud of Turin, open through July 31. Contact: MyraAdams01@gmail.com or Twitter @MyraKAdams.