After this verse popped up in several unrelated places over the course of two days, I decided to play along and choose it as my memory verse for the next two weeks, even though it really felt like the verse was choosing me. Does that ever happen to you?
It is already teaching me so much, and I'm only getting started. Slowing down makes such a difference!
"Through Him" - The offering up of praise sacrifices is through Christ. He is the reason and means of my offering; through His cleansing my worship is acceptable to God.
"Let us" - What does that "us" mean? The letter to the Hebrews addressed a group, not an individual, so in the original context the plurality is obvious. In church also, the corporate nature is obvious.
Even alone in my home, though, my praise invisibly joins with the praises of other Christians all around the world in the concept historically known as communion of the saints. This is not something I normally think about, but even in my morning reading today I read in Psalm 148 how all kinds of things, creatures, and persons were called to praise Yahweh. Perhaps my praise is not as solitary as meets the eye?
"Continually" - We are to offer praise through Christ at all times. All. Continually. Over and over.
"Offer up" - Praise is a free gift, arms outstretched, hands open and not grasping. As You wish, Lord.
"To God" - Not to the universe, fate, or mother nature. God is the one to whom our praise is due.
"A sacrifice of praise" - A sacrifice is costly. Sometimes in Leviticus it costs a life; at least it costs convenience and the reallocation of something I value (money, grain, oil, crops). Praise is a sacrifice; it costs my convenience and the reallocation of something I value; it will at some point mean laying down my ideas of what life ought to look like and declaring by faith that God's are better.
"The fruit of our lips" - Most of my prayers are silent ones. Is there some kind of added value in speaking or singing them?
"That confess His name" - My praise should confess (agree with, acknowledge) His name.
Adonai: Lord, Master.Praise agrees with God's revelation of who He is (His name) and confesses that who He is is good.
Yahweh Jireh: The Lord will provide (or see).
El Olam: Everlasting God.
Rapha El: The God who heals.
Yahweh Mekoddishkem: The Lord who sanctifies.
Yahweh Tsidkenu: The Lord my righteousness.
Yahweh: I am. I am who I am. I will be who I will be.
"Therefore, through Him [Christ], let us continually offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of our lips that confess His name" (Hebrews 13:15, HCSB).
God, I thank and praise You for
~the (inexplicable) value You place on our worship and praise
~Your pleasure in Your people (Psalm 149:4)
~Your promise to beautify the afflicted ones with salvation (ditto)
~a rough week improved as it went along
~pain keeping me ever-mindful of my dependence on the Lord
~the sharp-edged gift of hip pain while we discuss bell sheep and broken legs
~access to medical care for all my various and sundry needs
~more pink roses (red are more elegant, I know, but the pink ones make me happiest)
~funny little yellow orchids with their baby dragon faces sticking out forked tongues at me
~cicadas playing percussion outside all day long
~dragonflies zooming back and forth in the evening as though they were World War I flying aces
~drought reminding us to pray for rain to the One who governs it
~a friend sharing her chronic illness experience and empathy with me this week
~unexpectedly finding an article by another friend on a blog's linky list and "hearing" her voice as I read it
~opportunity to trust Your boundaries again for my desire to attend a family celebration coming up Saturday
~lots of post ideas, more ideas than time or strength. No writer's block.
(Gratitude list #910-927)
Still counting God's endless gifts with the gratitude community at Ann's place,...
with Laura at The Wellspring,...
and with Jen at Soli Deo Gloria...