Psalm 117:1, “Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples.”
“Bravo to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! God you are so good and your deeds are worthy of all my praise and applause!” In today’s psalm, the first kind of praise mentioned is “halal,” which means to “celebrate.” The second is “shabach,” which means to “congratulate with joy and excitement.” When you combine the two forms of praise together, you can understand that the psalmist is commanding us to celebrate God with joyful shouts of exaltation because of all He has done in our lives and upon the earth.
The minor difference between “halal” (praise) and “shabach” (extol) is that halal is celebrating God’s goodness, whereas shabach means to applaud and give God honor for specific things He has accomplished. Since we are made in the image of God, we too love to be complimented and affirmed when we do something right. Often times, people need the applause of others to remove self-doubt or insecurity. God, on the other hand, doesn’t need our compliments or affirmations, but He does desire for us to show Him our appreciation and express our love.
By extoling God, we guard ourselves from the sins of pride, selfishness and self-pity. When we display our total satisfaction in the goodness of God, we are obedient to the purpose in which God made us. We were made for His glory.
Commending and applauding God with shouts of joy is the duty of every disciple, because God is worthy of all our adoration. Just imagine if you were in a city that the Allied troops liberated during WWII. Wouldn’t you be excited to celebrate the victory our forces had over the enemy? Consider the excitement millions of people had in Chicago when the Cubs won the World Series. If you were a Cubs fan, wouldn’t you be thrilled to applaud all the players?
Now these kind of worldly victories can’t even begin to compare to Jesus defeating sin and the devil for our salvation. We should give God more praise than we ever would give a team or country. John J. Rice said, “We ought to shout out our thanksgiving [to God] as if every war were over.” The next time you feel inspired by the goodness and greatness of God (whether in church or by yourself), offer Him the best applause and shout of joy for all He has done in your life!
- Repent if you have been more excited about the victories in this world than you have been about Jesus conquering death, hell and the grave.
- Celebrate and extol Jesus for three things He has done in your life.
- Teach others the meaning of true celebration.