Why Does God Desire Our Praise?

By: Jim Shannon

Have you ever wondered why God desires our praise? Have you ever had to fend off the accusation that the God we worship is some kind of petty tyrant who just wants to see us grovel? We know that’s not true but for those who don’t yet know Him, it is an understandable assumption. But let’s ask ourselves the question, “Who benefits from our worship?” When we worship God do we add anything to Him? If we withhold our praise, is He in any way diminished? Is it possible that praise impacts us more than it impacts Him?

The great English theologian, C.S. Lewis, wrestled with the same idea. Here is what he wrote in his book, Reflections on the Psalms:

“The most obvious fact about praise—whether of God or anything—strangely escaped me. I thought of it in terms of compliment, approval, or the giving of honour. I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise… The world rings with praise—lovers praising their [beloved], readers their favourite poet, walkers praising the countryside… I had not noticed…that just as men spontaneously praise whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it: Isn’t she lovely? Wasn’t it glorious? Don’t you think that magnificent?”

I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. The Scotch catechism says that man’s chief end is, “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him.”

Isn’t that a refreshing way to look at it? Sincere praise begins with enjoyment, with delight. So, when our worship starts to become mechanical, starts to feel like an obligation, we need to examine whether we have taken full advantage of His invitation to truly know Him. For to know Him is to love Him. And to love Him is to praise Him.

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