I have been spending the last month just reading the Psalms and Proverbs. Today I read the following, “I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom.” (Psalm 145:1-3). There were a couple of items that jumped out for me this morning that I thought I would take a moment to write about. These items have also challenged me to consider yet another goal for 2017 that I will share with you in this post.
The first thought that caught my attention was not really a thought, but really a need for a clarification. I noticed as I read these verses that the Psalmist used words like: exalt, praise, and extol. I got the impression as I read this - This guy thinks pretty highly of God. I also thought, who in the world uses the world “extol”? So I decided to look up “extol”. Extol is defined as “to praise highly; to praise enthusiastically.” I then thought - So what is the difference between “exalt” and “extol”? I know you are probably wondering - “Where in the world is Tim going with this? Seriously, is this what you do in your quiet time?” Well hang in there I just might make a point. “Exalt” means to increase the status. So if I say, “That slice of chocolate cake was a slice of heaven” I have “exalted” that slice of cake by comparing it to heaven. If I say, “That slice of cake was delicious, it was amazingly moist, and the chocolate icing was absolutely yummy (sorry I got distracted).” I have “extolled” that slice because I have shared with you all of the positive characteristics of that slice. O.K. Great you say - you have helped, or totally confused me about exalt and extol, but what does that have to do with anything?
Well let me ask you this crazy question - When are you more likely to praise God?
Would it be when you are ankle deep in the midst of trials and tribulations? Would it be when everything that could possibly goes wrong, goes wrong? Or would it be when someone shows up at your house and presents you with a million dollar check and tells you that you will be receiving a similar check every month for the rest of your life? Would it be when your children tell you as grown adults, “You are the smartest person I have ever known.”
Let me invite you to think of the time that you would most likely praise God through a little story. A lady, paying an early morning visit to a neighbor, was ushered into a rather untidy room for which her hostess profusely apologized, but her visitor smilingly replied, "I had eyes for nothing but these lovely roses," pointing to a vase of beauties which occupied a prominent place on the table.
Be honest now, no one else is looking into your mind (except God :-) ), which would you have noticed the untidy room or the lovely roses? I unfortunately would have noticed the untidy room, in fact, the roses would have amplified the untidiness of the room. This little observation of mine leads me to conclude I am more likely to praise God when everything is in order, when life is operating the way that I would expect, when life is neat and tidy. I would have a difficult time wanting to praise God in the midst of chaos and confusion.
The Psalmist was very adamant about his praise of God. He shares that EVERY DAY would be a day of extolling, exalting, and praising. An additional goal I now have in 2017 - Every day I want to find the rose in the midst of the untidiness.
What will you praise God for in 2017?