Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Shall We Dance

Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine and harp. For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation.

                        Psalm 149.3-4

Delighting God

Too often we succumb to the notion that our relationship with our Maker is a contractual arrangement. We do certain things for Him, and He repays our efforts by doing things we can’t do for ourselves. That’s part of it, but far from all of it. A relationship with God is an all-inclusive thing. It’s intended to serve Him and us in the best and worst of times. So it’s essential we include Him in all phases of our lives—not merely our times of duress and need, but also in moments when everything goes our way.

Nothing happens by accident when He’s involved. Quite often, goodness comes to us by virtue of His spontaneous kindness and love. Without asking Him for it, or even expecting it might happen, He pours out blessings. Making us happy makes Him happy. The same holds true on our side. Although there are always more than enough reasons to shower Him with praise, we also have the ability to praise Him for no reason at all. Praising God with no intention other than expressing our joy in Him is the best way we have of delighting God.

Impromptu Praise

Psalm 149 offers up a number of suggestions for impromptu praise. “Sing to the LORD a new song,” it says in the first verse. Verse two says we should rejoice in our Maker and be glad in our King. The next verse tells us to dance and make music. Verse six says, “May the praise of God be in their mouths.” These praises aren’t summoned in response to anything in particular. They’re always there, at the ready for moments when our emotions surge and we’re compelled to tell God how wonderful He is to us. Because it comes on its own, impromptu praise is the highest, purest adoration we can offer. Praise of this kind is never inappropriate and needs no specific occasion or setting to be expressed. It’s undiluted, unbridled joy. When we stifle it because we think praise demands a certain time and place, we lose precious opportunities to delight God simply out of the fullness of our beings. When words, songs, and demonstrations of praise overtake us, the place and time to offer it is here and now.

It’s an Honor

“Let the saints rejoice in this honor,” Psalm 149.5 urges us. Indeed, random praise is an honor. It’s a privilege to express love and gratitude that involve no one but Him and us. We needn’t make a production of it, no more than we do with those we love in life. But neither should we dampen our praise out of concern with what others might think if, by chance, they catch us “in the act.” Worrying about what they think shows we think more of them than we should. We don’t call on them when we’re in trouble. We don’t appeal to them for forgiveness. We don’t invest faith in them to do the impossible. Why, then, are their opinions suddenly so important? Praising God to His delight is never crazy. Worrying what someone else will think is.

“Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength,” Nehemiah 8.10 stresses. Expressing joy increases our strength. It shakes off worry, doubt, and pessimism that bog us down. The last thing we need is acquiescing to our pride’s insistence we suppress the joy of our salvation. There's no reason worth entertaining not to delight God. Shall we sing? Shall we dance? Shall we praise? Yes, every chance we get, every time the mood strikes, and every moment joy arises, we shall.

Impromptu expressions of joy in our relationship with God delights Him.

(Tomorrow: Encourage Yourself)


Davis said...

If the "trees of the wood" can rejoice, why can't we? We miss so many opportunities to just give thanks for the beneficence of God.

Your posts are one of those.

Tim said...

Davis, thank you. And I thank God for you... and everyone else He's so kindly sent here. You are all true joy and light!