Seeker: “Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul!” Although I do not know if this praise is squeezed out of me like tooth paste from a tube; or whether it flows forth like a refreshing mountain spring.
Preacher: There is Godly honesty in that statement, Seeker. But to inquire further, does it come forth from pressure and influence of the Holy Spirit, or from yourself because you think you HAVE TO praise the Lord. We are told to praise the Lord in all things; and so many of us doe. “I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God all my life long.”
Seeker: That is true, Preacher. Sometimes I just grit my teeth and praise; sometimes I praise in the hope that praising will help me feel better. And sometimes it just flows. I consider then the verse “Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help.” And seems if the psalmist is saying that the best praise comes of its own accord. Or maybe he has experienced the pressure to praise when that natural feeling is not there.
Preacher: “When their breath departs, they return to the earth; on that very day their plans perish.” It does seem or sound like that he has been disappointed in the ability of his fellow human to be as dependable as the Divine. Paul said something about that too, that the Jewish high priests failed, inevitably, because they were human & flawed and to atone for their own sins as well as the sins of the people.
Seeker: “Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry.”
Preacher: Paul would tell us that the Divine does all of these things and more. Jesus himself said this prophecy had/is coming true in their hearing. “The LORD sets the prisoners free; the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous.”
Seeker: “The LORD watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.” I suppose, if for no other reason, the Divine should be praised for all of these things. Do you think, Preacher, we expect more than we should from the Divine before we praise? I mean, if the Lord does all of this, that praise should come forth?
Preacher: I think, Seeker, those lived before Jesus’ time on earth had expectation of what would happen before the Messiah came, and thinking about it caused them to praise. And then when the Messiah was not what they expected, that praise did not come out as naturally. “The LORD will reign forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the LORD!” (Psalm 146) We have our problems, just as the Jews/Hebrews/Israelites had theirs. They expected easy, immediate and lasting solutions. We know that solutions do not always come that way. When they do, well praise away! But when they don’t we have to dig deep at times to find the hope and confidence to praise. I hesitate to say it but maybe our praise, when it comes, is based on the evidence we see in our lives and so the praise means more when we can and will bring it forth.
Seeker: I find that very comforting, Preacher. Yes, that brings comfort to my soul; and allows the praise to bubble up a little more. Shalom & Selah!