Praise from us should not be silent or selfish. It is not for ourselves, to be kept for our own enjoyment, or to be for our own benefit. Praising God is to be heard and acknowledge all around. It is not meant to be silent, but joyful and resounding!
The manner of worship God demands of us is simple. Sing a new song. Sing the old songs that praise God. Dance with joy. Use His Words to defend Him. Those are all forms of praise to the Maker of the universe. He is calling everyone! King, nobles, commoners, peasants, all are alike when coming before God’s throne. Only He is superior and deserving of praise.
From the highest places of authority and glory to the lowest and most difficult places to give glory, we are to praise God for what He is, not necessarily what He has done for us. Because God is God and we are not, He deserves our praise and worship, especially because He created us.
This psalm reinforces how God in His divine nature is beyond our comprehension. God does not delight in the works of His hands. What He really wants is our repines to Him. Strength and talent does not impress God; He gave them to us. God only wants us to praise Him and use those gifts to worship Him. That is the correct response God seeks from us, not prideful but with humility.
It is important to note how transitory humans are in this world. Verse 4 puts it in blunt terms: the things of this earth, thoughts, riches, status, are worthless when we die. There will be a time where not our ideas can save us, but God, the everlasting King who made us and gave us those talents, can.
God is completely righteous in all His ways. But as perfect as He is, in this relationship, it’s not one way where God does all the loving and we do the receiving. God can’t get to the core of our heart unless sin is gone. So now, this relationship deals first with our personal sin and how that affects the rest of God’s love for us.
Though we deserve not a mere glance of attention, though we are simply a passing shadow in this world not worth the acknowledgement, God is gracious and loving to care for us. He knows us and makes effort to love us. We deserve none of it, but God grants it graciously for our sake.
God is God and we are not. That is the only necessary reason for us to praise and worship Him. As humans, we are under His dominion, and there needs no other persuasion for us to worship the Master of the universe. And that worship can come in different forms. Remember, whether we eat or drink, we should do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). So everything we do, can be a form of worship to God.
If we were to imagine a time of imprisonment so long we could not even remember the all the crimes we commit to deserve prison, how happy would we be when we first step out of those doors and into freedom? I know I would be simply ecstatic and jumping for joy for my freedom. But the psalmist makes a stark point when he asks that his freedom be used for God’s glory. I know I would marvel in myself and what I want to do and where I want to be. But the psalmist simply asks God to make him thankful to His name.
It’s interesting to take into account that the psalmist is pleading God for protection from people who aren’t particularly out to get him, but people who sin. It’s that temptation aspect he’s extremely frightened about, the enticing. This perspective challenges how we see sin. I know for a moment in my life, I did see it as a horrendous act against God that is only deserving of eternal death. But now, it’s definitely “died down” as my life keeps moving on. But that definition of sin doesn’t lose it’s impact with God. Sin is always sin, and it’s the most repulsive thing you can do before God.