In these bulletin articles, we’ve been going through a list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism, published in the 17th Century. We’ve been looking at God’s law as summarised in the ten commandments and started by examining the first commandment: ‘You shall have no other gods before me’ (Exodus 20:3). We’ve seen that the first commandment requires that you acknowledge and worship God by remembering, esteeming, honouring, loving, desiring, fearing and trusting him; and by hoping, delighting and rejoicing in him; and by being zealous for him. But how else can you worship God?
Another way we should worship God is by giving him all praise. If God is your god, then it is natural that you should seek to worship him by praising him.
But how do you praise God? One way is by making much of God’s attributes in prayer and song. There are many examples of such praise in the Bible. For example, in Psalm 145, David begins by praising God for who he is: ‘I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom’ (Psalm 145:1-3).
But we can also praise God for his actions, not just his attributes. And David does that, when he praises God’s works in the next verses of Psalm 145: ‘One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds’ (Psalm 145:4-6). This switching between praise God for who he is and then for his works continues throughout the Psalm – I encourage you to look it up and use it as a template to praise God yourself.
It is not only in the book of Psalms that you see such praise of God. Examples from the New Testament would have to include the praise given by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 1: ‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will–to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding’ (Ephesians 1:3-8).
And the praise of the Apostle Peter is another excellent example: ‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade– kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time’ (1 Peter 1:3-5).
So do you worship God by praising God for who he is and what he has done?