How to Praise God Greatly (Psalm 96:4-5)
For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods. ⁵For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the LORD made the heavens. –Psalm 96:4-5
These verses are a picture of contrasts. God is to be praised and feared, He is worthy of praise, He made the earth and heaven. Man-made idols can’t even take action on earth. They are worthless.
Psalm 115 describes these man-made idols, and their worthlessness, in more detail:
They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat. Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them (vv. 4-8).
These impotent objects of worship are utterly unlike our God in heaven. He is unlimited in power; “He does all that He pleases” (Psalm 115:3).
At what cost do people bow down to idols of their own making? The idols cannot help them at all. But also, anyone who seeks that worthless help does so at the price of real help. The book of Jonah tells us that “Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love” (Jonah 2:8). This reminds me of the double offense of rejecting Yahweh:
for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. (Jeremiah 2:13)
It’s not enough to not trust in vain idols. God calls us to praise and fear Him. How often do we sing half-hearted praises with distracted minds? Our great God deserves great praise. We should praise Him greatly. What does that look like?
When David brought the Ark of God up to Jerusalem after it had been captured by the Philistines then displaced in Israel for 20 years (1 Samuel 7:1-2), he did so with great praise to God. We read in 2 Samuel 6 that as the ark was being carried into the city, King David was “leaping and dancing before the LORD” (v. 16). The King “danced before the LORD with all his might” (6:14). He was uninhibited in his praise to Almighty God who had conquered his enemies and restored the Ark to its rightful place.
We must not worship God in any old way. He has revealed Himself in power and told us how we are to approach Him. Hebrews urges us to “offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire” (12:28-29). We should always aspire to praise God in the measure and manner that conforms to His commands and rises to His greatness.
Our praise to God should not be skimpy or occasional. It should overflow every aspect of our lives. Psalm 150–the final psalm in the book of songs to God–is packed with praise to God. God who has lavished us with His never ending love calls us to respond in kind. Every verse calls every creature to praise God in every place for every one of His mighty deeds.
May we enter into this symphony with all our might. For He is worthy to be praised.
What idols vie for your trust? Leisure, comfort, autonomy, power?
Ask God to help you pay full attention and resist distractions when you’re singing His praises and hearing the Word preached in church.
Ask Him to lift your eyes to His greatness. Consider what He has made and what He accomplished at the cross, and ask Him to help you to praise Him greatly.
Candice Watters is the FighterVerses editor. She is married to Steve Watters, Truth78's director of marketing and resource development. She is mom to Harrison, Zoe, Churchill, and Teddy and co-author with Steve of Start Your Family: Inspiration for Having Babies.