Summary: Psalms as praise - planned, instant, automatic. The psalms help us to offer praise...OT commandment...Praise has a cost
Psalms of Praise /Sacrifice of Praise
Last week we had a very light overview of the Psalms, not in content of genera but in general.
The big idea was that when we read the Psalms we are looking at the Temple hymnal. We also focused on the idea that when we read poetry in scripture we need to know it is poetry and it contains figures of speech, similes, and metaphors. Poetry may teach history but, it is not a history book.
Today we are going to look at the connection of praise using the Psalms.
We opened the service with Psalm 100, if you were listening to the words it is full of instructions for all the earth to sing songs to god. It describes the Lord as creator and us as sheep of the pasture. It speaks of entering His Courts…Church…heaven with thanks giving and praise. It reminds us that his faith fullness is forever. All that in 5 verses…..
In the Old and New Testaments the people of God are instructed to offer God a “Sacrifice of praise.” The idea is that we offer praise to God as a spontaneous response to noticing God in our lives.
Today we are talking about praise instead of thanksgiving. We will talk about that in a couple of weeks.
Praise can be planned. It can be celebrated and relived and many of the Psalms lead worshipers to do. But I feel like most to the time, praise is sort of instant, automatic or perhaps a response to the presence or the recognition of God working.
Some people offer praise to God because they find a parking spot right in front of the door of the store they are going into. That is Great….that they think of God when some small favor happens. I think it is good that they are thinking like that but, isn’t it a little arrogant to think that god cared about my parking space….Aren’t there other things that should have his attention. Like nearly having an accident …. That is one of my personal favorites.
In ancient Israel, praise was commanded in the law and in order to be able to offer God the praise, one had to be prepared…Sacrifices were offered so that the person could offer praises to God in the Temple.
Let me make this really clear. For a person to be able to express praise to God, to keep their duty to obey scripture…It cost them something.
For a person to be able to enter into the presence of God meant that they had to reach a state of holiness.
Otherwise, how can a normal, sinful human being ever enter into the presence of God?
Israel’s theology defined three states or conditions of all things, Unclean, Clean and Holy.
In general, it was easy to become unclean. Did any of ya’ll ever have coodies….when I was in elementary school if you touched a girl, You had coodies!!! You could not see them and it was almost impossible to avoid them all together. The general remedy was to catch someone on the play ground that had not had heir coodie shot that day.
It was a kid version of clean and unclean.
In Leviticus a process was taught that could make an unclean person or object clean. It involves time, offerings and ritual washing. The goal was to remain coodie free, clean as much as possible.
But in order to enter into the presence of God, a person had to become Holy. This is where the sacrifice system took on very precise processes and meanings.
The sacrifice of an animal was not magic, it was not just an automatic ritual, A then B gives C.
The sacrifice was offered, accepted by God, guilt was removed and communion was achieved between God and the person.
But, the act of sacrifice only represented the real repentance and inward faith and repentance that was already visible to God.
The sacrifices themselves were performed as an act of worship.
They were performed in public as a part of the communities worship.
Often the act of sacrifice allowed the person the ability to rejoin the community. A person pronounced a leper (any skin disease) went to the priest to be examined to see if they had been healed and to make an offering as a thanks to God and so that the community could see and accept the healing.
Sacrifices were made at the temple everyday in the morning and evening. On the Sabbath additional sacrifices were offered on behalf of the community. And once a year on the Day of Atonement all of Israel was to make their way to the temple to offer a sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins.
In order to go to church an offering had to be made to make the worshiper holy so that they could enter into the presence of God…so that a person was suitable to worship. God is that Holy.