Hebrews 13:15, NIV
“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.”
The words ‘sacrifice’ and ‘praise’ do not seem to fit together. They appear to be opposites of one another. Praise brings feelings of joy and is a positive expression of emotion. Sacrifice, on the other hand, may bring a sense of having to deny yourself. Sacrifice is defined as ‘the act of giving up something highly valued for the sake of something else considered having a greater value or claim’.
And yet our scripture encourages us to bring a sacrifice of praise! There may be times that praising the Lord does not come easy. Things in your life may be challenging or relationships painful. But a sacrifice is something you choose to do in order to gain something of greater worth. ‘He who brings an offering of praise and thanksgiving honours and glorifies Me’ (Psalm 50:23). When our praise is offered as a sacrifice or offering, it brings glory to the Lord.
Sacrificial praise usually costs you something. A sacrifice isn’t supposed to be free of any kind of cost. In 1 Chronicles 21 we read the account where David sinned against the Lord by doing a census of Israel. When David realised his sin, he was greatly distressed, and after asking God to let him and his family, rather than the nation of Israel, suffer the consequences of his sin, we read, ‘Then the angel of the Lord ordered Gad to tell David to go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite. So David went up in obedience to the word that Gad had spoken in the name of the Lord’ (1 Chronicles 21:18-19).
Araunah was overwhelmed by the angel with David and with the king’s presence, and offered the threshing floor, as well as oxen and wood, to David free of cost. However, David said to him, ‘No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing’ (1 Chronicles 21:24). David understood the importance of sacrifice and the cost it carries. We read that God had mercy on David and accepted his sacrifice.
Praise causes burdens to lift, and silences the enemy. In fact, according to Psalm 8:2, even the praise of infants has the authority to muzzle the enemy! ‘Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger’.
Isaiah 61:3 encourages us to put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Choosing to praise the Lord when you’re feeling downhearted is a sacrifice, but it has huge rewards, as this breaks the stronghold of heaviness over your life. It takes your eyes off your own state of despair and lifts it to a God, for whom nothing is impossible, and who’s a God who cares deeply about the details of your life. It brings a change within your spirit!
Choose to praise the Lord this week, no matter what you’re facing. Bring that sweet smelling sacrifice of worship and praise to the Lord. God is glorified when you do this!
Prayer: Lord, today I choose to bring my sacrifice of praise and of worship to You. You’re so worthy, and always deserving of my very best. I choose to lift my eyes off my difficulties and fix them on You, the One who cares deeply for me. Thank You for Your steadfast love and mercy towards me. Amen.