Gospel Relevance

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Why God Wants Your Praise

Last night I watched Game 3 of the NBA Finals with my youngest brother, Robert. During one possession of play, Dwayne Wade, the Miami Heat’s Shooting Guard, felt as if he was fouled on a play but he did not receive the benefit of the doubt from the referees. Frustrated from the call — or lack thereof — he ran back to his team’s side of play yelling at the refs, to which Robert commented, “Why is he yelling at the referees? He knows he’s not going to get the call reversed?”

Then it dawned on me.

Wade knew he wasn’t going to get the call reversed but he yelled anyway. He was frustrated. But his frustration wouldn’t be complete — or fully expressed — unless he finished by verbally expressing it. So in order to fully express it, he yelled at the refs.

Conversely, the God of the Bible wants our praise. But why? Is it because he needs it? Is it to make up for a deficiency?

C. S. Lewis in his legendary Reflections on the Psalms, comments on this when he writes:

The most obvious fact about praise — whether of God or any thing — strangely escaped me. I thought of it in terms of compliment, approval, or the giving of honor. I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflow into praise unless (sometimes even if) shyness or the fear of boring others is deliberately brought into check.

I had not noticed either 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’s magnificent?” The Psalmist in telling everyone to praise God are doing what all men do when they speak of what they care about.

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.

Therein lies the answer. John Piper adds by saying, “We praise what we enjoy because the delight is incomplete until it is expressed in praise. If we were not allowed to speak of what we value and celebrate what we love and praise what we admire, our joy would not be full.”

Piper continues: “God wants our praise not because he won’t be truly God until he gets it, but because we won’t be fully glad until we give it.”

True joy and satisfaction in life can only be found in knowing and praising God. And because God seeks the fullness of our joy, he not only gives us himself, but he also seeks to win the praise of our hearts. That’s why he wants our praise. So our joy would be full. What a good dad.

Post your comments below.

About David Qaoud

David Qaoud (MDiv, Covenant Theological Seminary) is associate pastor of Bethesda Evangelical Church in St. Louis, Missouri, and founder of gospelrelevance.com. His work has appeared on The Gospel Coalition, For the Church, and Banner of Truth. He lives in St. Louis with his wife and two children. Learn more.

18 Replies

  1. Hands down best post you’ve written to date! The others are equal in quality, biblical truth and practical relevance, but this one takes it to a whole new level.This is an outstanding illustration of how worship is enjoying the glory of God with such fullness that we cannot help but express it. How much more glorious that God would even make it possible for us to enjoy his glory through the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf! I truly benefited from this post immensely. Thanks for the insights.

  2. I really appreciate the encouragement, Trevor. Seriously. Made my day.

  3. Those are some great points. Our life is determined by our focus. If we would really hone in and praise God consistantly, I beleive we would begin to see more and more victory in our lives.

  4. Patty Graham

    Wonderful thoughts! Praise and worship is not about what we receive, but what we “give”. The value of a gift is in the love of the giver. “For God so loved the world, that He “GAVE”. Jesus said, “if you love Me, keep my commandments”
    John 14:15. Obedience is the highest level of praise and worship we can GIVE

  5. David in Houston

    Found this while prepping for a lesson and your thoughts are spot on. Particularly, I love the quote, “God wants our praise not because he won’t be truly God until he gets it, but because we won’t be fully happy until we give it.” Your words are a blessing to me. Thank you!

    1. Glad to hear that, David! Blessings, man.

  6. Outstanding take on why we praise our Father in heaven!!!

  7. So nice to hear the truth my friend. “God wants our praise not because he won’t be truly God until he gets it, but because we won’t be fully happy until we give it.” I never looked at it that way and I appreciate your view of it. God bless you David.

  8. This is good, “Why God wants our praise”. Maybe He wants us to acknowledge Him by praising and thanking Him because He is The Great I Am, and provides everything we will ever need, just as a parent requires their child’s obedience and appreciation for all that is being done for them. Blessings to you and your ministry and thanks for your support.

  9. Yup, he’s a great dad.
    Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the blogosphere and liking my post.
    Blessings =)

  10. Praise, in Hebrew “yadah” means to raise your hands in reverence and worship: Y
    HalleluYah! We were created to worship Him! [Psalms-Tehillim 150]
    Shalom ya’ll

    1. I may stick my foot in my mouth because you may know more about this than I, haha 🙂 I don’t know; I’ve never met you. But as one who has done a good deal of studying and wants to make the most of every opportunity, here goes… I hope you won’t mind. (I’m actually thrilled the subject has come up.) “Yadah” usually gets translated something like “give thanks,” but generally has the connotations of “acknowledging something verbally/publically,” and can be used of acknowledging truths about God (e.g. Isa. 12:4) or about us and our sin (Psa. 32:5). So “yadah” is most often best translated “confess” or “acknowledge.” Although I could be wrong (and if so, my apologies; I don’t mean to be presumptuous at all), I think you may be thinking of the word “hallel” from which we get the English “Hallelujah.” Hallel usually translates as “praise,” and “hallelujah” literally means, “Praise the LORD,” or “Praise Yah,” with “Yah” being a shortened form of the divine name represented by the letters YHWH. I hope that helps. Don’t ever stop seeking the Lord and worshiping him.

      May the Lord bless you as you seek his face 🙂

  11. It is so amazing to me that the completeness and joy we need and desire the most is also the very thing that God in all his greatness deserves the most. Praise the Lord for how beautifully he has orchestrated our good and his glory!

  12. Thanks for reading my blog. I also found this one on PRAISE to be encouraging!

  13. I liked your enthusiasm for Praising God. Thank you for your encouragement about my blog today.
    I will praise God more. May The Lord bless you.

  14. Love this! I think we too often turn following God into checking off a list of dos and don’ts without stopping to wonder “what is the purpose of doing this?”
    But He is so patient to keep drawing our hearts out past the lists into fellowship with Him.

    1. Absolutely! Thanks for your encouragement.

  15. thanks for liking my post