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Worship: A Continual Sacrifice of Praise

When you love someone, it’s hard to keep quiet about it. In his Reflections on the Psalms, C. S. Lewis wrote, “I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed.” This is an apt description of the attitude at the heart of worship and the exhortation from today’s key verse.

The book of Hebrews was written to Christians struggling to hold on to faith. The audience seems to have had a deep knowledge of the Old Testament so they were probably Jews and Gentile converts to Judaism who had come to believe that Jesus was the Messiah. It seems that persecution had demoralized many in the group and they were considering a return to the seeming safety of their previous convictions.

We don’t know who wrote Hebrews, but “the preacher” had a consistent and insistent sermon: Jesus is God’s final word. One cannot dismiss or exclude Christ and have a right relationship with God. The preacher switched back and forth between words of warning and words of assurance, presenting the fear of God and the grace of God as important spiritual realities that both need to be acknowledged.

Today’s passage comes near the end of the preacher’s sermon and praise is described as a kind of sacrifice that—along with kindness—was pleasing to God. Praise is called “the fruit of lips that openly profess his name,” and we are told to lift it up to God constantly. Those who love God will have a posture of the heart that offers a sacrifice of praise that honors God. Our worship is a fulfillment of the pleasure we take in the character and provision of God.

Apply the Word

In today’s passage the preacher makes a clear connection between what we say and do. In addition to “the fruit of lips that openly profess his name,” doing “good” is a sacrifice that pleases God. If you have a regular time of prayer, consider also scheduling times during which you worship God through acts of kindness or service.

BY Lisa Ann Cockrel

Lisa Ann Cockrel graduated from Moody Bible Institute in 2000. She has worked in publishing with Christian magazines, including MOODY magazine and Today's Christian Woman, and now works as an editor for Brazos Press and Baker Academic, part of the Baker Publishing Group. She lives in Grand Rapids, Mich., where she is actively involved with faith and culture projects. Her writing has been published in Christianity Today, Outreach, and Faithful Reader, among others.

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