This exerpt is taken from cell group notes on Psalm 145-150 written by Aaron White from 614 Vancouver, a prayer community in the Downtown Eastside. Much thanks for his permission to share this with you.
“It is in the process of being worshipped that God communicates His presence to men.” C.S. Lewis.
God does not need our praise. Ps 50:12 makes this abundantly clear (“If I were hungry, I would not tell you.”) In our sacrifice of praise and worship, the LORD gives Himself to us. He inhabits the prayers of His people. God does not need our prayers. But we do need His presence. Praising God is not about what He can do for us, as if we were bargaining with Him.
It is good and right to praise that which is praiseworthy, even that which is created and imperfect. How much better and more right is it to praise Him who is perfectly praiseworthy? To praise something is to appreciate it and honour it as it should be appreciated and honoured. It seems there is something in us that needs to do this for things that are good and beautiful, and we like to share that appreciation and honouring with others. We want other people to recognize that which is praiseworthy as well. In the Psalms, kings, rulers, oppressors, even creation is called upon to recognize the beauty of the Creator and to join in the praise. We don’t feel as if we truly know or enjoy a thing until we can praise it as it should be praised. No amount of praise from all of creation is truly sufficient to give to the Lord, the Creator, our King and Saviour. We simply cannot give enough. This calls us on towards Glory, at which time, if the statement is true, we will “glorify the Lord and enjoy Him forever.” Some picture Heaven as an endless Church service, but these Psalms speak of something different. Praise here on earth is, as the poet John Donne called it, merely “tuning our instruments”. We are getting ready, we are practicing, we are preparing for that time when we will really play, and we are often missing the mark. There are notes of genuine praise here and now, of course, and the Lord does receive them, but in Glory we will truly know the LORD, because we will truly appreciate Him, love Him, and praise Him as we should, forever. Thus, we will truly enjoy the LORD forever, as we will truly love and praise He who is perfectly praiseworthy.
The Psalms end in praise. The Bible, in the book of Revelation, ends in praise. The human story is pointed towards an ending of praise. Everything that has breath will praise. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. The Psalms, and the whole Bible, is cultivating in us a hunger for this future of praise, for the final resolution and reconciliation. Praying the Psalms of praise aligns us in that place now, tasting the first fruits, and causes us to want to bring others into this place of praise.