I wonder if worship wanes when learning is lean. If what primes the pump of praise grows thin because we are not actively pursuing growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus. Something in my lasting reading for the year in the psalms has me chewing on that thought this morning.
Praise the LORD! Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens!
Praise Him for His mighty deeds; praise Him according to His excellent greatness!
(Psalm 150:1-2 ESV)
There’s the high-level menu of catalysts for priming the pump of praise. We praise Him for His mighty deeds. We praise Him according to His excellent greatness. And would it be a stretch to suggest that, in a sense, it’s easier to praise Him for His mighty deeds than it is according to His excellent greatness?
I think we connect more readily with His mighty deeds. We experience creation. We’ve been made new through the finished work of the cross. We sense within us the active agency of the Spirit. We process the outer evidence as we count our blessings. We’ve known sustaining grace and power in our burdens. Mighty deeds? Every believer has an experiential connection with what God has done in their lives and around their lives.
But God’s excellent greatness? Harder to connect with because harder to comprehend.
Even the phrasing of the attribute is somewhat mind-stretching. The CSB seems to translate it most literally, “Praise Him for His abundant greatness.” That God is great seems somewhat intuitive. That the magnitude and magnificence of the Creator would be atop the creation’s list of superlatives kind of makes sense. But that He possesses abundant greatness, a multitude of magnificence, or immeasurable, multi-faceted magnitudes is a little harder to get your arms around. But isn’t trying to get your arms around it also the thing that can keep praise ever new and always fresh? I’m thinkin . . .
God doesn’t change, but plumbing the depths of God’s excellent greatness will feel forever new as we explore and discover more of the multitudes of His magnificence.
For example, recently started reading a book on the attributes of God. The author is a seminary professor and, while he’s trying to make deep theology accessible to the average person, he’s using terms and expressions I’m not all that familiar with. Here’s one that captured my imagination and provided new fuel from which to light a fire of praise:
God may be incomprehensible, but he is not unknowable. Any doubt is removed the moment God opens his mouth.Barrett, Matthew. None Greater (p. 25). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Okay, God’s incomprehensibility is mind-stretching but, given we’re talking about God, not necessarily surprising. But that God would “open His mouth” through the prophetic word, His written word, and then through the Living Word, His Son, and make Himself known, if only in a mirror dimly, is jaw-dropping. Not necessarily new information, but packaged in a somewhat deeper way it becomes a new spark and new fuel from which to light a new fire of awe, wonder, and worship.
To ever be a learner. To always seek to know more and at a deeper level. I think this is some of what’s behind being able to praise God afresh according to His excellent greatness.
Only by His grace. Always for His glory.