Sunday, 14 November 2021
Title: A Sacrifice of Praise
By Lau Bee Lan
Hebrews 13:15 (ESV)
“Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.”
We live in a fallen world where amidst experiences of joy and happiness, there are hardship and suffering, clearly demonstrated by the onset of the Covid -19 pandemic which has not abated. From time to time we hear of loss of loved ones due to Covid or post-Covid complications, some children became orphans, loss of livelihood, salary cuts, hunger, marital breakdown and mental distress to name but a few.
I recalled at the commencement of one of our church worship services, just before we began praising God in songs, a deaconess prayed, amongst others, “Let us sing what we mean and mean what we sing”. Those words resonated with my spirit because amidst the hustle bustle of life, our thoughts and feelings are never the same as we undergo a myriad of experiences due to the different events and circumstances that occur in our pilgrimage here on earth.
Our hearts overflow with much joy and praise to God when all things go well for example, when we are blessed with a promotion or our kids score good grades in school.
However, can we in all sincerity feel the same degree of joy and enthrallment when the circumstances are bleak, for example, when we are in the midst of going through some medical challenges? Can we shout out with exuberance and gusto and with all honesty declare the goodness of God and not allow our minds to wander away pondering on the problem or issue besetting us?
What is the posture of a child of God in a trying circumstance? God’s instruction is that through Jesus, we should continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God. (Hebrews 13:15)
A sacrifice of praise comes from the heart and is an act of the will. Such an attitude, amongst others, includes:
(i) choosing to trust and believe that God is good at all times regardless of the circumstances as declared by the psalmists, “Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good” (Psalm135:3);
(ii) choosing to praise and honour God in spite of the circumstances, “You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the Lord of hosts? …The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed his name. …” (Malachi 3: 13-17);
(iii) continually praising God in good times and bad as exemplified by Paul and Silas who prayed and sang hymns to God whilst in prison, after being severely beaten for delivering a slave girl from demon possession, hence discontinuing her masters’ wrongful gains (Acts 16 :23-25); and
(iv) at all times humbly and with utmost gratitude, acknowledging God for who He is, holding Him in awe and reverence, and ascribing to Him what He duly deserves: all praise, honour and glory belong to Him:
“For I will proclaim the name of the Lord;
Ascribe greatness to our God!
The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice.
A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.” (Deuteronomy 32: 3-4)
God who is rich in mercy and bountiful in love has given us His one and only Son, Jesus Christ to die on the cross for the redemption of our sins. Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross has fully satisfied the divine justice of God. He is the perfect propitiation for our sins. (1 John 2:2)
Being mindful of God’s greatest gift of love and compassion manifested through the finished work of our Lord Jesus, I am encouraged to “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey”. Christ alone is sufficient for us notwithstanding whatever circumstances we are in. Therefore, in our spiritual journey, we must continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God in all situations.
Our Father in heaven, let us remember at all times to extol you declaring “How majestic is your name in all the earth”, constantly magnifying your name and praising you by looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
2021 年 11 月 14日
希伯来书 13:15 我们应当靠着耶稣，常常以颂赞为祭献给神，这就是那承认主名之人嘴唇的果子。
(一) 选择信靠并相信上帝在任何时候都是善的，无论情况如何，正如诗篇作者所说：“赞美耶和华，因为耶和华本为善”（诗篇 135：3）
(二) 不顾环境、选择赞美和荣耀上帝，“你说过，“事奉神是徒然的，遵守神所吩咐的，在万军之耶和华面前苦苦斋戒，有甚麽益处呢？……耶和华侧耳而听，且有纪念册在他面前，记录那敬畏耶和华、思念他名的人”（玛拉基书 3：13-17）
(四) 在任何时候都以谦卑和最大的感激之情，承认上帝是谁，敬畏祂，敬畏祂，将祂应得的归于祂：一切赞美、尊荣和荣耀都属于祂，“我要宣告耶和华的名，你们要将大德归于我们的神！ 他是磐石，他的作为完全，他所行的无不公平，是诚实无伪的神，又公义又正直”。 （申命记 32：3-4）