“…to praise God is to live, and to live is to praise God.”
The psalms of praise are those psalms which seek to shine the light on God. The psalmist will either praise God by declaring him generally or they will praise God descriptively in specific ways.  Psalm 113 helps us a little as the Psalmist goes from declaration to description in a few sentences:
Praise the Lord! (DECLARATIVE)
Praise, O servants of the Lord,
praise the name of the Lord!
2 Blessed be the name of the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore!
3 From the rising of the sun to its setting,
the name of the Lord is to be praised!
4 The Lord is high above all nations,
and his glory above the heavens!
5 Who is like the Lord our God, (DESCRIPTIVE)
who is seated on high,
6 who looks far down
on the heavens and the earth?
7 He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
8 to make them sit with princes,
with the princes of his people.
9 He gives the barren woman a home,
making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the Lord!
I know what you are asking though, “What are the psalmists praising God about?” That is a great question. I mean what is the point of praising God? What does it mean to praise anyways? Typically the psalmists (btw… those are the guys who wrote the psalms anyways) hovered around four major themes that they offered God praise about: 1) creation 2) God is always present and reigns over everything 3) Israel’s history and 4) God’s awesome deeds. To put that into terms you might understand think about a time when you were at a place in this world or in nature where you paused for a second and you were captivated by just how powerful that place was. The psalmist in you might say, “God, you are amazing because of this (for example) river that flows so effortlessly through the mountains.” That would be a theme of creation.
Or maybe you were drawn to the work of God in your life and through the life of your family. The psalmists looked at what God did in their own history (like parting the Red Sea, taking them out of Egypt, etc.) and that was a moment to praise God. There are moments that captivate our attention and cause us to fall down on our knees and declare that God is in control. Think of Hurricane Sandy and how devastating that storm is throughout the northeast. As powerful and evil as that storm is God is still reigning over that storm. It cannot escape the power of God. Praise be to God!
Think about it… you cannot escape God’s knowledge and God’s power. Everywhere you go God’s fingerprint is on this world. Why? Because he made everything in it. You, me, the whole shebang! God made it! No wonder the Psalmist asks, “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” Why does God even care about us? No doubt that is something theologians like to debate but for the psalmist, and maybe for you and I, that is a cause for us to praise him!
Questions for Thought:
- What are some moments that trigger you into praise?
- In a negative sense, if we are not praise God what is it that is getting our praise?
- How can your life be viewed as praise to/for God? Give some examples.
- What do you think would happen if all of God’s people with all of their hearts could praise God simultaneously? How might the kingdom of God advance?
 C. Hassel Bullock, Encountering the Book of Psalms (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001): 124.
 Ibid., 124.
 Bullock states that there are four ways the Psalmists discuss how God created things: 1) by his word or command, 2) by his personal deed, 3) by his attribute of wisdom or understanding, and 4) by his strength (p. 127).
 Ibid., 126-33.
 Psa. 8:3-4