TBU: The Bible Unpacked: In-Depth Edition

I.  Instructions

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Chapter 25  Part I

Instructions

We exalt God by doing such things as glorifying, honoring, praising and thanking him. Exalting God is a very common theme in the Bible and should also be a prominent part of our lives. In fact the Bible tells us to praise and thank God constantly. The significance of exalting God is underlined by the first answer of the Westminster Shorter Catechism which says: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”

Glorify and Honor God

Glorify God, giving glory to him

See also:

Ps 22:23  You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel! ▤ 

Ps 86:12  I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. ▤ 

Isa 24:15  Therefore in the eastm give glory to the Lord; in the coastlands of the sea, give glory to the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. ▤ 

m Hebrew in the realm of light

Isa 42:12  Let them give glory to the Lord, and declare his praise in the coastlands. ▤ 

Luke 2:14  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”n ▤ 

n Some manuscripts peace, good will among men

Phil 4:20  To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. ▤ 

When used at the end of a sentence “Amen” means “so be it” or “may this be fulfilled” (cf. NEL).

Honor God

1Tim 1:17  To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.o Amen. ▤ 

o Greek to the ages of ages

1Tim 6:15-16  … which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. ▤ 

As well as ascribing honor to God in the final statement, Paul also honors God in his preceding eloquent description of God (vv. 15b-16a).

Rev 5:13  And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” ▤ 

Rev 7:11-12  And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” ▤ 

Isa 26:13  O Lord our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us, but your name alone we bring to remembrance. ▤ 

This speaks of acknowledging and honoring God as their God (cf. AMP, CEV, GNT, NCV, NIV, NRSV).

  • Be jealous for God’s honor:

Num 25:11-13  “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the people of Israel, in that he was jealous with my jealousy among them, so that I did not consume the people of Israel in my jealousy. 12Therefore say, ‘Behold, I give to him my covenant of peace, 13and it shall be to him and to his descendants after him the covenant of a perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the people of Israel.’” ▤ 

In v. 11, “he was jealous with my jealousy among them” speaks of Phinehas acting in jealousy for God, on God’s behalf (cf. NLT, NRSV). By taking decisive measures against a man who behaved with disdain towards God (cf. vv. 6-8), Phinehas acted to preserve God’s honor (vv. 11, 13; cf. NCV, NIV).

Exalt God

To exalt God, we “lift him up” – such as by acknowledging and declaring his surpassing greatness. As noted earlier (and implied by the title and contents of this chapter) it encompasses glorifying and honoring God – as well as praising and thanking him.

Ex 15:2  The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. ▤ 

Ps 34:3  Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! ▤ 

Ps 99:5  Exalt the Lord our God; worship at his footstool! Holy is he! ▤ 

Isa 25:1  O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. ▤ 

Isa 12:4  And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted. ▤ 

Ps 18:46  The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation— ▤ 

Precisely speaking, this and 57:5 below are expressing a prayer or desire that God be exalted, which in itself is acting so as to exalt him.

Ps 57:5  Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth! ▤ 

Glorify and honor God by thanksgiving and praise

Ps 50:23  The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God! ▤ 

Ps 66:2  … sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise! ▤ 

One can infer from this verse that we should praise God in such a way that it is glorious and so glorifies him.

Ps 69:30  I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. ▤ 

Isa 24:15-16a  Therefore in the eastp give glory to the Lord; in the coastlands of the sea, give glory to the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. 16From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise, of glory to the Righteous One. ▤ 

p Hebrew in the realm of light

Luke 2:13-14  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”q ▤ 

q Some manuscripts peace, good will among men

Rom 14:6  The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. ▤ 

The reference to “the one who abstains” giving thanks, would appear to speak of thanking God for the food that he does eat.

Rom 15:8-9  For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.” ▤ 

2Cor 4:15  For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. ▤ 

Paul speaks of thanksgiving – with the consequent glorifying of God – as being in response to God’s grace bringing more and more people to respond to the gospel.

Ps 22:23  You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel! ▤ 

This and the following verses do not say or so clearly imply that we glorify/honor God by praising/thanking him. However the close usages of the terms arguably do point to this.

Ps 86:12  I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. ▤ 

Dan 4:34, 37  At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; ▤ 37Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble. ▤ 

To “extol” God is to enthusiastically praise him.

Glorify and honor God and Jesus Christ by how you live . . .

See also:

God’s people are identified with God and Jesus Christ. As such their lives are in a sense a reflection on God and Jesus Christ. So when God’s people live good lives they bring glory and honor to God and Jesus Christ.

1Cor 10:31  So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. ▤ 

Josh 7:19  Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the Lord God of Israel and give praiser to him. And tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.” ▤ 

r Or and make confession

The expression “give glory to the Lord God” is used here as an exhortation to glorify God by telling the truth, as reflected in the last statement.

John 21:18-19  Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19(This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.” ▤ 

By putting God’s interests ahead of his own life – showing that he considered pleasing God to be more important than keeping his life – Peter would glorify God as a martyr. In conjunction with this, Jesus may also have meant that the means of Peter’s death would be dreadful, indicating that Peter’s preparedness to face such a death would heighten the extent of his glorification of God through it.

Rom 4:20-21  No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. ▤ 

In believing that God would fulfill his promise to him, Abraham “brought glory to God” (NLT).

Rom 15:7  Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. ▤ 

1Cor 6:20  … for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. ▤ 

Primarily in view here is honoring God by abstaining from sexual sin.

Phil 1:9-11  And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. ▤ 

The expression “to the glory and praise of God” (v. 11b) may well have all of the preceding things listed in view (cf. NIrV). However, “the fruit of righteousness” (v. 11a) may primarily be in view. Note that if this term is referring to good deeds (cf. CEV, NCV) rather than to righteous qualities (cf. GNT), then the reference could be placed in the following subsection.

Phil 1:20  … as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. ▤ 

2Thes 1:9-10  They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away froms the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. ▤ 

s Or destruction that comes from

This appears to be saying that Jesus Christ will “receive glory because of his holy people” (NCV™), with presumably their “holy” lives being primarily in view.

1Pet 4:16  Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. ▤ 

This is often understood to be speaking of giving glory or praise to God (cf. AMP, CEV, GNT, NCV, NIV, NLT, NRSV), but it could well instead be referring to responding to the suffering in a way which glorifies God – which would pertain to the theme of this subsection.

. . . Glorify and honor them by doing godly work and good deeds

See also:

John 15:8  By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. ▤ 

Here “fruit” appears to refer to – or at least be applicable to – the product of work done for God’s kingdom. By bearing such good “fruit” we bring glory to God, showing ourselves to be disciples of the one sent by him.

John 17:4, 10  I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. ▤ 10All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. ▤ 

Jesus Christ glorified God through what he did (v. 4). In turn Jesus Christ was glorified through his disciples (v. 10; cf. GNT, NCV). The latter is presumably in part at least speaking of things such as following him, testifying to him being the glorious Son of God and possibly also their lives generally – all of which demonstrated his grace and power.

2Cor 8:19, 23  And not only that, but he has been appointed by the churches to travel with us as we carry out this act of grace that is being ministered by us, for the glory of the Lord himself and to show our good will. ▤ 23As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker for your benefit. And as for our brothers, they are messengerst of the churches, the glory of Christ. ▤ 

t Greek apostles

In v. 23b, Paul quite possibly means that the “brothers” “bring glory to Christ” (GNT, NCV, NLT; cf. CEV) in themselves and by their work as “messengers of the churches”.

2Thes 1:11-12  To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, 12so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. ▤ 

1Pet 4:10-11  As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. ▤ 

The first clause in v. 11 probably indicates that we should rely on God’s help in what we say in ministering to others. Similarly, the second means that we should serve others with, and in reliance on, God’s strength. This brings glory to God when people perceive the work he is doing, through us.

Prov 3:9  Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; … ▤ 

Honor God by giving to him of your assets and what you produce.

Prov 14:31  Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him. ▤ 

  • The church should bring glory to God by what it is and does:

Eph 3:20-21  Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. ▤ 

The expression “to him be glory in the church” (v. 21) appears to be implying that God is to be glorified by the church in what it is and does – which would fittingly parallel the reference to God being glorified by Jesus Christ, God being glorified in his person and by what he does (and has done). This interpretation also corresponds well with the preceding clause, which speaks of God’s power at work “within us” (v. 20).

Live so that others will glorify God because of what you do

Matt 5:16  In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. ▤ 

We are to let our good deeds “shine out for all to see” (NLT), so that others will glorify God, with our good deeds being indicative of the goodness and praiseworthiness of God, to whom we belong.

2Cor 9:13  By their approval of this service, theyu will glorify God because of your submission flowing from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, … ▤ 

u Or you

Gal 1:23-24  They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24And they glorified God because of me. ▤ 

The churches of Judea glorified God for Paul’s conversion after Paul having been such a fierce adversary and for what Paul was doing in preaching the faith.

1Pet 2:12  Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. ▤ 

Note that “the day of visitation” probably refers to the day of God’s judgment or Christ’s return. Some commentators see it as possibly referring to any time God grants salvation to such convicted non-believers.

Not glorifying and honoring God has detrimental outcomes

Jer 13:16  Give glory to the Lord your God before he brings darkness, before your feet stumble on the twilight mountains, and while you look for light he turns it into gloom and makes it deep darkness. ▤ 

Acts 12:21-23  On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. 22And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” 23Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last. ▤ 

This implies that Herod accepted the praise given to him, praise that no man is worthy of. As he accepted it instead of acknowledging that only God is deserving of such glory, Herod was struck down and died.

Rev 16:8-11  The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch people with fire. 9They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursedv the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory. 10The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in anguish 11and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores. They did not repent of their deeds. ▤ 

v Greek blasphemed; also verses 11, 21

This suggests that the refusal of people to repent and glorify God (v. 9b) means that they will continue to suffer the effects of the fourth judgment (vv. 8-9a) and be subject to the subsequent judgment (vv. 10-11).

Dan 5:23, 26-28  … but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven. And the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored. ▤ 26This is the interpretation of the matter: Mene, God has numberedw the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; 27Tekel, you have been weighedx in the balances and found wanting; 28Peres, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”y ▤ 

w Mene sounds like the Aramaic for numbered

x Tekel sounds like the Aramaic for weighed

y Peres (the singular of Parsin) sounds like the Aramaic for divided and for Persia

Mal 2:2  If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honor to my name, says the Lord of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings. Indeed, I have already cursed them, because you do not lay it to heart. ▤ 

Rom 1:21  For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. ▤ 

Hos 2:8-9  And she did not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the wine, and the oil, and who lavished on her silver and gold, which they used for Baal. 9Therefore I will take back my grain in its time, and my wine in its season, and I will take away my wool and my flax, which were to cover her nakedness. ▤ 

Israel had “not noticed, understood, or realized” (AMP) that God was the ultimate source of what they produced and had. Acknowledging God (cf. NCV, NIV) as this source is honoring to him. To not do so (v. 8) is failing to honor him and can lead to damaging consequences (v. 9).

  • We should seek God’s glory rather than our own:

Ps 115:1  Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! ▤ 

Note: God honors and gives glory to his people

See also:

Deut 26:19  … and that he will set you in praise and in fame and in honor high above all nations that he has made, and that you shall be a people holy to the Lord your God, as he promised. ▤ 

1Sam 2:30  Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that your house and the house of your father should go in and out before me forever,’ but now the Lord declares: ‘Far be it from me, for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed. ▤ 

Job 36:7  He does not withdraw his eyes from the righteous, but with kings on the throne he sets them forever, and they are exalted. ▤ 

Ps 23:5  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. ▤ 

The anointing of a guest’s head with oil was a way of welcoming or honoring the guest (cf. CEV, GNT, NLT).

Ps 89:15-16  Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face, 16who exult in your name all the day and in your righteousness are exalted. ▤ 

Ps 148:14  He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his saints, for the people of Israel who are near to him. Praise the Lord! ▤ 

The term “horn” in this sense speaks of power, possibly a strong king is in view (cf. NCV, NIrV). The clause “praise for all his saints” may then speak of them being exalted through this empowerment. Alternatively it may speak of praise for them to offer (cf. GNT, NCV, NIV, NKJV), in which case the verse would not be pertinent to this subsection.

John 12:26  If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. ▤ 

John 17:22-23  The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. ▤ 

There are various interpretations of what “glory” is referring to here, including: continuing Christ’s glorious reconciliatory work; the manifestation of Christ in them (v. 23a); and eternal glory that will be consummated in heaven.

2Cor 3:18  And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord,z are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. ▤ 

z Or reflecting the glory of the Lord

Believers reflect Jesus Christ’s glory, with their characters being transformed into his likeness, increasingly reflecting and even manifesting Christ’s glory.

2Thes 1:11-12  To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, 12so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. ▤ 

1Pet 5:6  Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, … ▤ 

Josh 4:14  On that day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel, and they stood in awe of him just as they had stood in awe of Moses, all the days of his life. ▤ 

1Chr 29:25  And the Lord made Solomon very great in the sight of all Israel and bestowed on him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel. ▤ 

  • God is the glory of his people:

1Sam 15:29  And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or have regret, for he is not a man, that he should have regret. ▤ 

The glory which God’s people have primarily emanates from God – from their relationship and association with him. In a sense they partake of his glory, as the one to whom they belong and serve.

Pray for persecuted Christians

Do Not Dishonor God

Do not blaspheme God

See also:

Blaspheming God is to speak – or act (cf. the following subsection) – in a way that detracts from the honor of God.

Lev 24:15-16  And speak to the people of Israel, saying, Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin. 16Whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall stone him. The sojourner as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death. ▤ 

The NT does not advocate the death penalty, but the OT’s stipulation of the death penalty for these actions does serve to underline the seriousness of them – and foreshadow the even more severe eternal judgment to come.

Ex 22:28  You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people. ▤ 

To “revile” is to verbally attack someone in an abusive and/or insulting fashion. As such, to revile God is effectively blaspheming him.

Lev 22:32  And you shall not profane my holy name, that I may be sanctified among the people of Israel. I am the Lord who sanctifies you, … ▤ 

God’s name is profaned when one acts towards him in a blasphemous, derogatory or disrespectful manner.

1Sam 3:13  And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God,a and he did not restrain them. ▤ 

a Or blaspheming for themselves

2Ki 19:22  Whom have you mocked and reviled? Against whom have you raised your voice and lifted your eyes to the heights? Against the Holy One of Israel! ▤ 

By his messengers, Sennacherib king of Assyria had insulted and blasphemed “the Holy One” – the outcome of which would be a horrific defeat (cf. v. 35).

1Tim 1:19b-20  By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, 20among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme. ▤ 

Paul had expelled these men from the church, putting them out into the cold world – Satan’s domain – till they learnt not to blaspheme.

Matt 12:24, 31-32  But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.” ▤  … [Jesus:] 31Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. ▤ 

There are a number of interpretations of what Jesus meant by blaspheming or speaking against the Holy Spirit. One of the most prominent is that Jesus meant that by attributing to Satan what realistically could only have been the work of the Holy Spirit (v. 24), the Pharisees were willfully rejecting the Holy Spirit – and thus God – a sin that can never be forgiven; “an eternal sin” (Mark 3:29) (cf. ZBC).

  • Do not use God’s name in vain:

Ex 20:7  You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. ▤ 

This command to not take the Lord’s name in vain is applicable to any misuse of it. Misuses include: deceptive use of it – which is likely primarily in view – such as in taking an oath in his name in order to deceive; intentionally blaspheming it; and disrespectful or irreverent use. Note that any such misuse of God’s name blasphemes it.

Do not by your actions indirectly blaspheme or profane God

See also:

Num 15:30-31  But the person who does anything with a high hand, whether he is native or a sojourner, reviles the Lord, and that person shall be cut off from among his people. 31Because he has despised the word of the Lord and has broken his commandment, that person shall be utterly cut off; his iniquity shall be on him. ▤ 

To act “with a high hand” (v. 30) is to do so “defiantly” (NASB, NIV). Verse 31a explains why sinning defiantly blasphemes God.

Ezek 20:27, 39  Therefore, son of man, speak to the house of Israel and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: In this also your fathers blasphemed me, by dealing treacherously with me. ▤ 39“As for you, O house of Israel, thus says the Lord God: Go serve every one of you his idols, now and hereafter, if you will not listen to me; but my holy name you shall no more profane with your gifts and your idols. ▤ 

The “gifts” (v. 39b) may have simply been ones the people offered to their idols in worship of them, or alternatively ones that they offered to God (cf. NLT) while hypocritically also worshiping idols. In either case, being God’s people yet turning to idol worship profaned God’s name (cf. Lev 18:21 ).

Lev 18:21  You shall not give any of your children to offer themb to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord. ▤ 

b Hebrew to make them pass through [the fire]

Lev 19:12  You shall not swear by my name falsely, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord. ▤ 

Lev 22:2  Speak to Aaron and his sons so that they abstain from the holy things of the people of Israel, which they dedicate to me, so that they do not profane my holy name: I am the Lord. ▤ 

Here “abstain” is either speaking of in some way separating themselves from (cf. AMP, NKJV) or being careful with (cf. NASB, NLT, NRSV) or, similarly, respectful of (cf. CEV, GNT, NCV, NIV) the holy things.

Prov 30:9  … lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God. ▤ 

Amos 2:7b  … a man and his father go in to the same girl, so that my holy name is profaned; … ▤ 

The reference is to sexual intercourse.

Ezek 43:7-8  … and he said to me, “Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the people of Israel forever. And the house of Israel shall no more defile my holy name, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoring and by the dead bodiesc of their kings at their high places,d 8by setting their threshold by my threshold and their doorposts beside my doorposts, with only a wall between me and them. They have defiled my holy name by their abominations that they have committed, so I have consumed them in my anger. ▤ 

c Or the monuments; also verse 9

d Or at their deaths

Verse 8 may well be speaking of the kings in particular building next to God’s temple (cf. CEV, GNT) and then defiling it and God’s name by committing detestable practices (vv. 7-8) in such close proximity.

Prov 14:31  Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him. ▤ 

Likewise 17:5a says, “Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker …”. The implication is that we should not do such things for it would be in effect showing contempt for God, he being their Maker.

By ungodly actions we bring dishonor to God before other people . . .

By ungodly actions God’s people bring dishonor to God (as reflected in the previous subsection). This is particularly so when the actions are known to other people, as it publicly reflects badly on God as the one to whom his people belong. The dishonor is heightened if the other people consequently blaspheme or show contempt for God.

Rom 2:21b-24  While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. 24For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” ▤ 

When those who are supposedly God’s people act contrary to his commands – particularly if they advocate such commands – not only do they dishonor God (v. 23) but in response to their hypocrisy others blaspheme God (v. 24; cf. 2Sam 12:13-14 ; 1Tim 6:1 ).

2Sam 12:13-14  David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. 14Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord,e the child who is born to you shall die.” ▤ 

e Masoretic Text the enemies of the Lord; Dead Sea Scroll the word of the Lord

If the alternative translation in the text note is to be preferred, then the sense of the first half of v. 14 may well be: “by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme” (NKJV; cf. AMP, NASB, NCV, NIV, NLT).

Ezek 36:19-20  I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed through the countries. In accordance with their ways and their deeds I judged them. 20But when they came to the nations, wherever they came, they profaned my holy name, in that people said of them, ‘These are the people of the Lord, and yet they had to go out of his land.’ ▤ 

Being God’s people and yet being taken into exile by the Babylonians – which was God’s punishment for their sin (v. 19b) – made it appear to other nations that God could not care for his people (v. 20). Thus the people’s actions led to God’s name being profaned.

1Tim 6:1  Let all who are under a yoke as slavesf regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled. ▤ 

f Greek bondservants

. . . Live a life worthy of God and Jesus Christ – and all that is of them

1Thes 2:12  … we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. ▤ 

Col 1:9-10  And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. ▤ 

3Jn 1:6  … who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. ▤ 

The expression “in a manner worthy of God” may be speaking of how John’s readers should carry out his instruction, i.e. meaning that they should do so as servants and representatives of God. As such, this would be illustrative of acting and living in a way that is worthy of God. Alternatively the focus may be on the people they were to help, who were worthy of receiving such help (cf. CEV), themselves being people of God. Note that in Romans 16:2 Paul similarly asks his readers to: “… welcome her [Phoebe] in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints …”

Rev 3:4  Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. ▤ 

Acts 5:41  Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. ▤ 

The “name” is “the name of Jesus” (NLT; cf. CEV, GNT, NCV). The apostles appear to have understood that they had been counted worthy by Jesus Christ of being associated with his name – to the point of suffering for it. It can thus be inferred that they had been living lives worthy of Jesus Christ – which is exemplary to all believers.

Phil 1:27  Only let your manner of life be worthyg of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, … ▤ 

g Greek Only behave as citizens worthy

Note that this and the following verses speak of living lives worthy of things that are of or associated with God and Jesus Christ.

Eph 4:1  I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, … ▤ 

2Thes 1:5  This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— ▤ 

2Thes 1:11  To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, … ▤ 

This verse implies that: we ought to live a life worthy of God’s calling (cf. Eph 4:1 ); and that such a life involves having good purposes and doing things prompted by faith in God.

Acts 13:46  And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. ▤ 

This suggests that we should aspire to be “worthy of eternal life” – and so should live accordingly.

  • Anyone who does not put Jesus Christ first and follow him is not worthy of him:

Matt 10:37-38  Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. ▤ 

To be worthy of Jesus Christ we must put his interests ahead of even those closest to us (v. 37) and follow him, shouldering the accompanying hardships (v. 38).

Do not profane or defile things of God

See also:

Lev 19:5-8  When you offer a sacrifice of peace offerings to the Lord, you shall offer it so that you may be accepted. 6It shall be eaten the same day you offer it or on the day after, and anything left over until the third day shall be burned up with fire. 7If it is eaten at all on the third day, it is tainted; it will not be accepted, 8and everyone who eats it shall bear his iniquity, because he has profaned what is holy to the Lord, and that person shall be cut off from his people. ▤ 

Having been sacrificed to God (v. 5), a fellowship offering was in effect given to God, and holy to him (v. 8). To eat it on the third day would profane or desecrate it (vv. 7-8). For by then the meat would be in poor condition for eating and to eat it would be to use something of God in a substandard, impure form and manner – which would be dishonoring to him.

Lev 22:9  They shall therefore keep my charge, lest they bear sin for it and die thereby when they profane it: I am the Lord who sanctifies them. ▤ 

This is likely speaking of profaning God’s “charge” or command (cf. GNT, NLT); alternatively the place of worship may be in view (cf. CEV, NRSV).

Lev 22:15-16  They shall not profane the holy things of the people of Israel, which they contribute to the Lord, 16and so cause them to bear iniquity and guilt, by eating their holy things: for I am the Lord who sanctifies them. ▤ 

Note that the people were to share in eating some types of offerings (cf. Lev 19:5-6 ) but not other types, as is in view here.

Ezek 20:13  But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness. They did not walk in my statutes but rejected my rules, by which, if a person does them, he shall live; and my Sabbaths they greatly profaned. “Then I said I would pour out my wrath upon them in the wilderness, to make a full end of them. ▤ 

Ezek 22:26  Her priests have done violence to my law and have profaned my holy things. They have made no distinction between the holy and the common, neither have they taught the difference between the unclean and the clean, and they have disregarded my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. ▤ 

The expression “done violence to my law” most likely refers to breaking the law (cf. GNT, NIrV, NLT).

Ps 74:7  They set your sanctuary on fire; they profaned the dwelling place of your name, bringing it down to the ground. ▤ 

Likewise 79:1 says, “O God, the nations … have defiled your holy temple …”

Jer 7:30  For the sons of Judah have done evil in my sight, declares the Lord. They have set their detestable things in the house that is called by my name, to defile it. ▤ 

Ezek 5:11  Therefore, as I live, declares the Lord God, surely, because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your detestable things and with all your abominations, therefore I will withdraw.h My eye will not spare, and I will have no pity. ▤ 

h Some Hebrew manuscripts I will cut you down

  • Jesus cleansed the temple of misuse:

Mark 11:15-17  And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 16And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. 17And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” ▤ 

The merchants were using God’s temple to make unjust gain. Such misuse of the temple was in a real sense desecrating it.

Additionally, do not despise God . . .

To despise God – or to scoff at God (as per the following subsection) – is demeaning and dishonoring to God.

Num 14:11, 23  And the Lord said to Moses, “How long will this people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them? ▤ 23shall see the land that I swore to give to their fathers. And none of those who despised me shall see it. ▤ 

Num 15:31  Because he has despised the word of the Lord and has broken his commandment, that person shall be utterly cut off; his iniquity shall be on him. ▤ 

Num 16:30  But if the Lord creates something new, and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into Sheol, then you shall know that these men have despised the Lord. ▤ 

1Sam 2:17, 29-31  Thus the sin of the young men [the sons of Eli] was very great in the sight of the Lord, for the men treated the offering of the Lord with contempt. ▤ 29Why then do you scorni my sacrifices and my offerings that I commanded, and honor your sons above me by fattening yourselves on the choicest parts of every offering of my people Israel?’ 30Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that your house and the house of your father should go in and out before me forever,’ but now the Lord declares: ‘Far be it from me, for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed. 31Behold, the days are coming when I will cut off your strength and the strength of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your house. ▤ 

i Septuagint; Hebrew kick at

Mal 1:6-8, 11b-13a  “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’ 7By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the Lord’s table may be despised. 8When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts. ▤ 11… For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts. 12But you profane it when you say that the Lord’s table is polluted, and its fruit, that is, its food may be despised. 13But you say, ‘What a weariness this is,’ and you snort at it, says the Lord of hosts. ▤ 

The “table” (vv. 7b, 12) is a reference to the altar, probably alluding to the fact that the priests ate from the sacrifices offered on the altar. In placing polluted/defiled food (v. 7) and imperfect sacrifices (v. 8) on God’s altar, the priests were effectively saying by their actions that they considered it contemptible (vv. 7b; 12b-13), implying that such inferior things were good enough for it. In treating God’s altar as such, they were essentially despising him (v. 7) and profaning his name (v. 12).

Ps 28:5  Because they do not regard the works of the Lord or the work of his hands, he will tear them down and build them up no more. ▤ 

Similarly Isaiah 5:12 says, “… they do not regard the works of the Lord or the work of his hands …” Such disregard for God or things of him is akin to despising God.

. . . and do not scoff at God

2Chr 36:16  But they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising his words and scoffing at his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord rose against his people, until there was no remedy. ▤ 

Ps 73:11  And they say, “How can God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High?” ▤ 

Such scoffing is one reason for the end that will befall the wicked (cf. vv. 17-20).

Prov 3:34  Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor.j ▤ 

j Or grace

Those who scorn God may be primarily in view here (cf. CEV).

Isa 5:18-19  Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood, who draw sin as with cart ropes, 19who say: “Let him be quick, let him speed his work that we may see it; let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near, and let it come, that we may know it!” ▤ 

Verse 19 is likely to have been spoken in sarcasm, with those concerned in essence scoffing at God.

Isa 28:14, 22  Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scoffers, who rule this people in Jerusalem! ▤ 22Now therefore do not scoff, lest your bonds be made strong; for I have heard a decree of destruction from the Lord God of hosts against the whole land. ▤ 

Those in view here were probably scoffing at Isaiah rather than directly at God, but as he spoke the words of God they were in effect scoffing at God.

Acts 13:41  “‘Look, you scoffers, be astounded and perish; for I am doing a work in your days, a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you.’” ▤ 

2Pet 3:3-7  … knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. ▤ 

Such scoffers (vv. 3-4) can be correlated with “the ungodly” (v. 7). As such they face destruction (v. 7).

  • Wicked fools claim that God does not exist:

Ps 14:1  The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good. ▤ 

Note: We must treat God as holy

Isa 8:13  But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. ▤ 

Isa 29:23  For when he sees his children, the work of my hands, in his midst, they will sanctify my name; they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob and will stand in awe of the God of Israel. ▤ 

Num 20:12  And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.” ▤ 

Lev 22:32  And you shall not profane my holy name, that I may be sanctified among the people of Israel. I am the Lord who sanctifies you, … ▤ 

Lev 10:1-3  Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorizedk fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them. 2And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. 3Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord has said, ‘Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.’” And Aaron held his peace. ▤ 

k Or strange

Regarding what God says in v. 3, translations differ as to whether God is saying: that he will show himself to be holy/ sanctified, thus displaying his glory; or that he must be treated as holy/sanctified, and accordingly be honored. If the latter is correct, this passage is indicating that by acting contrary to a particular command of God (v. 1) Aaron’s sons dishonored God, not treating him as holy – resulting in their deaths (v. 2).

Ps 96:9  Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;l tremble before him, all the earth! ▤ 

l Or in holy attire

The first clause appears to indicate that we should worship God being mindful of or in view of “all his holy splendor” (NLT). The alternative rendering in the text note offers another possible meaning.

1Pet 3:15  … but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, … ▤ 

  • Prayer that God’s name would be treated as holy:

Matt 6:9  Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.m ▤ 

m Or Let your name be kept holy, or Let your name be treated with reverence

This request is essentially that God would be treated as holy, and so with the greatest respect and honor. The fact that it is the first request in the Lord’s Prayer is indicative of the priority it should be for us.

Pray for persecuted Christians

Praise and Thank God

See also:

Praise God

See also:

Ps 113:1  Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord! ▤ 

Ps 146:1  Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! ▤ 

Ex 15:2  The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. ▤ 

Deut 10:21  He is your praise. He is your God, who has done for you these great and terrifying things that your eyes have seen. ▤ 

Ps 18:3  I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. ▤ 

Ps 66:2  … sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise! ▤ 

Ps 92:1  It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; … ▤ 

Ps 96:4  For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods. ▤ 

Ps 100:4a  Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! ▤ 

Ps 109:30  With my mouth I will give great thanks to the Lord; I will praise him in the midst of the throng. ▤ 

Ps 149:6  Let the high praises of God be in their throats and two-edged swords in their hands, … ▤ 

  • We cannot praise God to the full extent that he deserves:

Ps 106:2  Who can utter the mighty deeds of the Lord, or declare all his praise? ▤ 

Bless God

To bless another is to benefit them. We can do this by acting or speaking in a way that benefits them. The same is true of blessing God. Regarding actions, we can bless God by acting in ways that: bring glory or honor to him; and/or benefit his cause (e.g. proclaiming the gospel). Regarding speech, we can bless God by acknowledging and proclaiming his attributes and deeds. Such verbal blessing of God is akin to praising him. It is such speech that a number of commentators have in view when defining what the Bible means when speaking specifically of blessing God.

However, when we speak specifically of blessing another (e.g. “bless you” or “may he/she be blessed”) what we are doing is akin to praying for them, that God would act for their benefit. As such, it can be argued that at times when we speak specifically of blessing God, we are effectively praying that he be benefited, e.g. that he would cause his name to be glorified. This is reflected by the like clauses “hallowed be your name” (Matt 6:9) and “blessed be your name” (cf. Neh 9:5; Job 1:20-21; Ps 113:2; Dan 2:20). These clauses have the same structure and sense. As the former one is obviously a prayer request – the first in the Lord’s Prayer – it would appear that so too is the latter one.

Bear in mind that when the Bible speaks specifically of blessing God, usually (if not always) it has in view God’s wondrous characteristics or great things that he has done for us. So it is clearly associated with praise or thanksgiving.

Ps 103:1-5, 22b  Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! 2Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, 3who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 4who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 5who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. ▤ 22Bless the Lord, O my soul! ▤ 

Josh 22:33  And the report was good in the eyes of the people of Israel. And the people of Israel blessed God and spoke no more of making war against them to destroy the land where the people of Reuben and the people of Gad were settled. ▤ 

1Chr 29:10, 20  Therefore David blessed the Lord in the presence of all the assembly. And David said: “Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. ▤ 20Then David said to all the assembly, “Bless the Lord your God.” And all the assembly blessed the Lord, the God of their fathers, and bowed their heads and paid homage to the Lord and to the king. ▤ 

Neh 8:6  And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. ▤ 

Neh 9:5b  Blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise. ▤ 

Ps 72:19  Blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and Amen! ▤ 

Ps 100:4b  Give thanks to him; bless his name! ▤ 

Ps 104:35  Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more! Bless the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord! ▤ 

Ps 113:2  Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forevermore! ▤ 

Ps 134:1-2  Come, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, who stand by night in the house of the Lord! 2Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the Lord! ▤ 

Ps 135:19-21  O house of Israel, bless the Lord! O house of Aaron, bless the Lord! 20O house of Levi, bless the Lord! You who fear the Lord, bless the Lord! 21Blessed be the Lord from Zion, he who dwells in Jerusalem! Praise the Lord! ▤ 

Dan 2:19-23  Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. 20Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. 21He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; 22he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him. 23To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of you, for you have made known to us the king’s matter.” ▤ 

Luke 1:64  And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. ▤ 

Luke 2:27-32  And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, 29“Lord, now you are letting your servantn depart in peace, according to your word; 30for my eyes have seen your salvation 31that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” ▤ 

n Greek bondservant

James 3:9a  With it we bless our Lord and Father … ▤ 

1Pet 1:3a  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! ▤ 

Calls for all things everywhere to praise and bless God

Ps 69:34  Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and everything that moves in them. ▤ 

Ps 103:20-22  Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word! 21Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will! 22Bless the Lord, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul! ▤ 

Ps 113:3  From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised! ▤ 

Ps 145:21  My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever. ▤ 

Ps 148:1-12  Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights! 2Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts! 3Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars! 4Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! 5Let them praise the name of the Lord! For he commanded and they were created. 6And he established them forever and ever; he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.o 7Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps, 8fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word! 9Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars! 10Beasts and all livestock, creeping things and flying birds! 11Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth! 12Young men and maidens together, old men and children! ▤ 

o Or it shall not be transgressed

Along with angels and people, the psalmist poetically calls upon other creatures (cf. Ps 69:34 ; Ps 145:21b ), various objects and other things in nature (cf. Ps 103:22 ) to praise God.

Ps 150:1, 6  Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! ▤ 6Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! ▤ 

p Hebrew expanse (compare Genesis 1:6-8)

Isa 42:10  Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the end of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants. ▤ 

Rom 15:11  And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him.” ▤ 

Rev 19:5  And from the throne came a voice saying, “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great.” ▤ 

Rev 5:13  And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” ▤ 

This is not actually a call for all things everywhere to praise or bless God (as per this subsection’s heading) but obviously it is an example of it.

  • God receives praise from all over the earth:

Ps 48:10a  As your name, O God, so your praise reaches to the ends of the earth. ▤ 

Praise and bless God constantly

Heb 13:15  Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. ▤ 

Ps 34:1  I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. ▤ 

Ps 71:6, 8, 14  Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you. ▤ 8My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day. ▤ 14But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more. ▤ 

Ps 84:4  Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Selah ▤ 

Ps 119:164  Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules. ▤ 

Luke 24:52-53  And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53and were continually in the temple blessing God. ▤ 

Rev 4:8  And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” ▤ 

Praise and bless God forever

Ps 70:4  May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!” ▤ 

Ps 145:1-2, 21  I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. 2Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. ▤ 21My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever. ▤ 

Ps 41:13  Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen. ▤ 

This may mean that God should be blessed “from everlasting to everlasting” – as per the theme of this subsection – or alternatively that blessing should be given to God who is “from everlasting to everlasting”.

Ps 79:13  But we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise. ▤ 

Ps 111:10b  His praise endures forever! ▤ 

God should – and indeed will be – praised forever. (cf. GNT, NCV, NLT).

Ps 115:18  But we will bless the Lord from this time forth and forevermore. Praise the Lord! ▤ 

Ps 146:2  I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. ▤ 

Isa 38:20  The Lord will save me, and we will play my music on stringed instruments all the days of our lives, at the house of the Lord. ▤ 

Rom 1:25  … because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. ▤ 

As per the theme of this subsection, the final phrase may mean that God “is to be” (GNT, NLT; cf. NCV, NIrV) or “will be” (CEV) praised/blessed forever. Alternatively, rather than being used as a verb, “blessed” may be intended as an adjective, describing God’s state as “blessed”. The same can be said regarding the similar clause in 2 Corinthians 11:31 below.

2Cor 11:31  The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. ▤ 

Rev 5:13  And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” ▤ 

In speaking of blessing being “to” God “forever and ever” this verse and 7:11-12 below may be acknowledging God as having and/or being deserving forever of blessing. Alternatively or in conjunction with this, the verses may be meaning or implying that we are to bless God forever (as per the theme of this subsection). Note that making such statements is in itself offering a blessing.

Rev 7:11-12  And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” ▤ 

Give thanks to God

As with praising God, thanking God for things exalts him, for by doing so we attribute praiseworthy things to him.

Ps 92:1  It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; … ▤ 

Ps 95:2  Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! ▤ 

Ps 100:4  Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! ▤ 

The gates and courts – as with the “gates of righteousness” (Ps 118:19 ) – are those of the temple.

Ps 109:30  With my mouth I will give great thanks to the Lord; I will praise him in the midst of the throng. ▤ 

Ps 118:19, 28  Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord. ▤ 28You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you. ▤ 

Ps 136:1-3, 26  Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. 2Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. 3Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; ▤ 26Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever. ▤ 

Jonah 2:9  But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord! ▤ 

Eph 5:4  Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. ▤ 

Col 1:11-12  May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12giving thanksq to the Father, who has qualified your to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. ▤ 

q Or patience, with joy giving thanks

r Some manuscripts us

Col 3:15-16  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. ▤ 

Col 4:2  Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. ▤ 

Give thanks to God always

See also:

Eph 5:19-20  … addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, … ▤ 

In v. 20 “everything” may be intended to include even bad things; Paul at least appears to be indicating that we should give thanks to God amidst everything that happens (cf. 1Thes 5:18 ). If one is able to find something to be thankful for in regard to bad things – particularly if one can continue on giving thanks – one’s spirit will be rejuvenated and strengthened.

1Thes 5:18  … give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. ▤ 

Col 2:7  … rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. ▤ 

We should be “abounding and overflowing … with thanksgiving” (AMP). As such we should “always be thankful” (NCV™).

Col 3:17  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. ▤ 

Even while we do other things we should give thanks to God (cf. NCV, NLT). Note that Paul exhorts the Colossians to be thankful in each of three consecutive verses (cf. vv. 15-16 ), highlighting its importance.

1Chr 23:30  And they were to stand every morning, thanking and praising the Lord, and likewise at evening, … ▤ 

These duties of the Levites provide an example of regular thanksgiving.

Ps 30:12b  O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever! ▤ 

Ps 44:8  In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to your name forever. Selah ▤ 

  • Thanksgiving is to be made for all people:

1Tim 2:1  First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, … ▤ 

This appears to be saying that we should give thanks for everyone (cf. CEV). Alternatively, it could possibly be speaking of giving thanks on behalf of others.

Blessings of giving praise and thanks to God

Ps 50:14-15  Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,s and perform your vows to the Most High, 15and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me. ▤ 

s Or Make thanksgiving your sacrifice to God

Ps 63:4-5  So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. 5My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, … ▤ 

In saying that his “soul will be satisfied” (v. 5a), David may well be referring to the satisfaction that praising God (vv. 4, 5b) brought to him. Alternatively he could have in view God satisfying his needs as one of God’s people, who praises him.

Ps 89:15-16  Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face, 16who exult in your name all the day and in your righteousness are exalted. ▤ 

Those who participate in enthusiastic worship of God are blessed (v. 15a). Persistently exulting or reveling in God (v. 16a) is itself a blessing, for it involves much joy. Moreover, God exalts them (v. 16b).

Ps 92:1-3  It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; 2to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night, 3to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre. ▤ 

In saying that it is “good” to praise God, the psalmist probably primarily means that it is appropriate and right to do so, because of who God is and what he has done. However he may also be pointing to the fact that praising God is good for us. As such the verse would be particularly pertinent to this subsection. The following references similarly speak of the pleasantness of praising God.

Ps 135:3  Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; sing to his name, for it is pleasant!t ▤ 

t Or for he is beautiful

Ps 147:1  Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant,u and a song of praise is fitting. ▤ 

u Or for he is beautiful

Note: God has formed his people to bring himself praise and honor

God has formed his people to bring himself praise and honor. This praise and honor occurs through such things as: the praise that they themselves give God; the things that God does for them, drawing praise from themselves and others; and that what God makes them to become reflects God’s greatness, bringing him renown, praise and honor.

Isa 43:20-21  The wild beasts will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches, for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, 21the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise. ▤ 

In v. 20 the wild animals are figuratively said to honor God, to reflect the honor and praise given to God for his provision of water for his people as they returned from exile through desolate land. Verse 21 then speaks of the people themselves praising God, with presumably his provision being largely in view.

1Pet 2:9  But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. ▤ 

Isa 60:21  Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified.v ▤ 

v Or that I might display my beauty

The future renewed Israel is in view here and below in the verses from Isaiah and Jeremiah 33:8-9. What God will make Israel will reflect his splendor (cf. Isa 61:3 ), no doubt bringing him praise and honor.

Isa 61:3  … to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.w ▤ 

w Or that he may display his beauty

Isa 61:10-11  I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 11For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations. ▤ 

The phrase “righteousness and praise” (v. 11b) probably refers to the righteousness and praise of all nations (cf. CEV, GNT, NCV, NIrV, NLT). As such this speaks of God bringing himself praise in the sight of and even from other nations (v. 11) through what he has done for his people (v. 10b). Correspondingly, his people themselves exult in him (v. 10a). For comment on the term “robe of righteousness” (v. 10), see Isa 61:10 – under . . . in which we should rejoice and exult.

Jer 33:8-9  I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me. 9And this cityx shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for them. They shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it. ▤ 

x Hebrew And it

Eph 1:4b-6, 11-14  In love 5he predestined usy for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. ▤ 11In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is the guaranteez of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,a to the praise of his glory. ▤ 

y Or before him in love, having predestined us

z Or down payment

a Or until God redeems his possession

Note that the final clause (v. 14b) may have in view God sealing believers with the Holy Spirit (v. 13b), as well as them acquiring their inheritance (v. 14a) – or his redemption of them (cf. text note) – “to the praise of his glory”.

Jer 13:11  For as the loincloth clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, declares the Lord, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory, but they would not listen. ▤ 

God formed Israel in part to bring himself praise and glory, but they largely failed to live up to this goal.

  • God seeks glory for himself:

John 8:50  Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it, and he is the judge. ▤ 

Here Jesus is speaking, stating that God seeks glory.

Pray for persecuted Christians

How to Give Praise and Thanks (I): General

See also:

Note that in this and the following section there are a handful of references to glorifying and honoring God as the topics are also relevant to doing them, with praise and thanksgiving being a major part of glorifying and honoring God.

In righteousness

See also:

For our praise and thanksgiving to be valid and acceptable to God, it is critical that we be righteous, striving to live righteous lives.

Ps 119:7  I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous rules.b ▤ 

b Or your just and righteous decrees; also verses 62, 106, 160, 164

Ps 33:1  Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright. ▤ 

Ps 97:12  Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name! ▤ 

Ps 26:6-7  I wash my hands in innocence and go around your altar, O Lord, 7proclaiming thanksgiving aloud, and telling all your wondrous deeds. ▤ 

In the first clause the psalmist speaks, perhaps figuratively, of declaring or showing his innocence (CEV, GNT, NCV, NLT), indicative of his righteousness.

Wholeheartedly

Ps 9:1  I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. ▤ 

Ps 111:1  c Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation. ▤ 

c This psalm is an acrostic poem, each line beginning with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet

Ps 103:1  Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! ▤ 

Ps 108:1  My heart is steadfast, O God! I will sing and make melody with all my being!d ▤ 

d Hebrew with my glory

2Sam 6:14  And David danced before the Lord with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod. ▤ 

David’s dancing before God was part of a celebration before God – an act of worship in praise and honor of God.

2Chr 30:21  And the people of Israel who were present at Jerusalem kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with great gladness, and the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day by day, singing with all their mighte to the Lord. ▤ 

e Compare 1 Chronicles 13:8; Hebrew with instruments of might

  • Praise to God should be given willingly:

Ps 119:108  Accept my freewill offerings of praise, O Lord, and teach me your rules. ▤ 

Through prayer

See also:

Phil 4:6  … do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. ▤ 

Col 4:2  Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. ▤ 

Philem 1:4  I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, … ▤ 

Dan 6:10b  He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. ▤ 

Ps 42:8  By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life. ▤ 

The psalmist’s prayer takes the form of a song (cf. CEV, GNT, NLT), presumably in praise of God.

Dan 2:23  To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of you, for you have made known to us the king’s matter. ▤ 

This is an example of thanksgiving and praise being given to God in prayer, in this case for what God had done.

In singing . . .

See also:

Ps 40:3  He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord. ▤ 

Ps 47:6-7  Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! 7For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm!f ▤ 

f Hebrew maskil

Ps 96:1-2  Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! 2Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. ▤ 

Ps 28:7  The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. ▤ 

Ps 100:2, 4  Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! ▤ 4Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! ▤ 

Ps 147:7  Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre! ▤ 

Jer 30:19  Out of them shall come songs of thanksgiving, and the voices of those who celebrate. I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will make them honored, and they shall not be small. ▤ 

Jonah 2:9  But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord! ▤ 

Eph 5:18-20  And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, … ▤ 

The singing and melody we make to the Lord should not just be the literal, audible kind. Our hearts and minds should consistently overflow with singing and melody to him.

Col 3:16  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. ▤ 

James 5:13  Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. ▤ 

2Chr 20:21  And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say, “Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever.” ▤ 

Choirs singing songs of praise and thanksgiving were an important part of formal worship in the OT – as shown in the following verses and in the following subsection.

2Chr 30:21  And the people of Israel who were present at Jerusalem kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with great gladness, and the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day by day, singing with all their mightg to the Lord. ▤ 

g Compare 1 Chronicles 13:8; Hebrew with instruments of might

Ezra 3:11a  And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.” ▤ 

Neh 12:8, 31, 46  And the Levites: Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, and Mattaniah, who with his brothers was in charge of the songs of thanksgiving. ▤ 31Then I brought the leaders of Judah up onto the wall and appointed two great choirs that gave thanks. One went to the south on the wall to the Dung Gate. ▤ 46For long ago in the days of David and Asaph there were directors of the singers, and there were songsh of praise and thanksgiving to God. ▤ 

h Or leaders

. . . along with making music

See also:

Ps 57:7-9  My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody! 8Awake, my glory!i Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn! 9I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. ▤ 

i Or my whole being

Here “awake the dawn” (v. 8b) refers to greeting either the rising of the sun or possibly the time of salvation, with songs and music of praise.

Ps 33:2-3  Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings! 3Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts. ▤ 

Ps 81:1-2  Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob! 2Raise a song; sound the tambourine, the sweet lyre with the harp. ▤ 

Ps 150:3-5  Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! 4Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! 5Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! ▤ 

Isa 38:19-20  The living, the living, he thanks you, as I do this day; the father makes known to the children your faithfulness. 20The Lord will save me, and we will play my music on stringed instruments all the days of our lives, at the house of the Lord. ▤ 

1Chr 25:3, 6-7  Of Jeduthun, the sons of Jeduthun: Gedaliah, Zeri, Jeshaiah, Shimei,j Hashabiah, and Mattithiah, six, under the direction of their father Jeduthun, who prophesied with the lyre in thanksgiving and praise to the Lord. ▤ 6They were all under the direction of their father in the music in the house of the Lord with cymbals, harps, and lyres for the service of the house of God. Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman were under the order of the king. 7The number of them along with their brothers, who were trained in singing to the Lord, all who were skillful, was 288. ▤ 

j One Hebrew manuscript, Septuagint; most Hebrew manuscripts lack Shimei

Note that in v. 3 “prophesied” appears to speak of proclaiming God’s message (cf. GNT, NCV, NLT), in this case in song.

2Chr 5:13  … and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord), and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the Lord, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever,” the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, … ▤ 

2Chr 7:6  The priests stood at their posts; the Levites also, with the instruments for music to the Lord that King David had made for giving thanks to the Lord—for his steadfast love endures forever—whenever David offered praises by their ministry;k opposite them the priests sounded trumpets, and all Israel stood. ▤ 

k Hebrew by their hand

  • God is his people’s song:

Ex 15:2  The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. ▤ 

The Lord is called “my song” because he is the subject and stimulus for the Israelites’ song – “the reason for my song” (CEV); he “makes me sing” (NCV™).

With dancing

Ps 149:3  Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre! ▤ 

Ps 150:4  Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! ▤ 

2Sam 6:14-16  And David danced before the Lord with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod. 15So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the horn. 16As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, and she despised him in her heart. ▤ 

David danced “to honour the Lord” (GNT), expressing his joy in the spirit of this celebration, which was in worship of the Lord. Note that David’s wife Michal’s reaction (v. 16b) was entirely inappropriate, as later implied (cf. vv. 21-23).

Ex 15:20-21  Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing. 21And Miriam sang to them: “Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.” ▤ 

  • On being healed, a previously crippled man walked and leaped as he praised God:

Acts 3:8  And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. ▤ 

With lifting up of hands

Neh 8:6  And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground. ▤ 

Ps 63:4  So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. ▤ 

Given the context, in the latter part of the verse David may well be speaking of lifting up his hands in praise and honor of God’s name. However it could be referring more generally to prayer (cf. CEV, GNT, NCV, NIrV, NLT; cf. 1Tim 2:8 ).

Ps 134:2  Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the Lord! ▤ 

  • A call to lift up hands in prayer:

1Tim 2:8  I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; … ▤ 

Loudly and with shouts

See also:

2Chr 20:19  And the Levites, of the Kohathites and the Korahites, stood up to praise the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice. ▤ 

Ps 26:6-7  I wash my hands in innocence and go around your altar, O Lord, 7proclaiming thanksgiving aloud, and telling all your wondrous deeds. ▤ 

Ps 66:8  Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of his praise be heard, … ▤ 

Ps 95:1  Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! ▤ 

Luke 17:15  Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; … ▤ 

Ezra 3:11  And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.” And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. ▤ 

Ps 33:3  Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts. ▤ 

Ps 81:1  Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob! ▤ 

By making offerings

See also:

The OT practices of making formal offerings (or sacrifices) as expressions of thanksgiving, parallel – and are applicable to – the giving of our resources to God and his work as expressions of our thankfulness for his goodness.

Lev 7:11-12  And this is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings that one may offer to the Lord. 12If he offers it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the thanksgiving sacrifice unleavened loaves mixed with oil, unleavened wafers smeared with oil, and loaves of fine flour well mixed with oil. ▤ 

2Chr 29:31  Then Hezekiah said, “You have now consecrated yourselves tol the Lord. Come near; bring sacrifices and thank offerings to the house of the Lord.” And the assembly brought sacrifices and thank offerings, and all who were of a willing heart brought burnt offerings. ▤ 

l Hebrew filled your hand for

Ps 50:14, 23  Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,m and perform your vows to the Most High, ▤ 23The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God! ▤ 

m Or Make thanksgiving your sacrifice to God

Ps 56:12-13  I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you. 13For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life. ▤ 

Ps 107:21-22  Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! 22And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of his deeds in songs of joy! ▤ 

Note that this speaks of the sacrifice of thank offerings (v. 22) supplementing thanksgiving to God (v. 21).

Ps 116:12, 17  What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me? ▤ 17I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord. ▤ 

Offerings are not only an expression of our thankfulness to God (v. 17), but in a sense they are to a small extent a repayment for all his goodness (v. 12).

Jer 33:10b-11  … there shall be heard again 11the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voices of those who sing, as they bring thank offerings to the house of the Lord: “‘Give thanks to the Lord of hosts, for the Lord is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!’ For I will restore the fortunes of the land as at first, says the Lord. ▤ 

  • Offering a song of thanksgiving as a sacrifice:

Jonah 2:9  But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord! ▤ 

Note: Give praise and thanks to God with and among other people

See also:

As well as doing so by ourselves, we should also give praise and thanks to God with and among other people. Note that the things spoken of in the preceding subsections are applicable to praising and thanking God both individually and with others.

Neh 12:24  And the chiefs of the Levites: Hashabiah, Sherebiah, and Jeshua the son of Kadmiel, with their brothers who stood opposite them, to praise and to give thanks, according to the commandment of David the man of God, watch by watch. ▤ 

Ps 34:3  Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! ▤ 

Ps 35:18  I will thank you in the great congregation; in the mighty throng I will praise you. ▤ 

The “great congregation” (cf. Ps 111:1 ; Ps 40:9-10 ; Ps 68:26 ; Ps 107:32 ) and the “mighty throng” refer to the great company of the people gathered for worship at the tabernacle or temple.

Ps 68:26  “Bless God in the great congregation, the Lord, O youn who are of Israel’s fountain!” ▤ 

n The Hebrew for you is plural here

Ps 111:1  o Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation. ▤ 

o This psalm is an acrostic poem, each line beginning with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet

Ps 40:9-10  I have told the glad news of deliverancep in the great congregation; behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O Lord. 10I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation. ▤ 

p Hebrew righteousness; also verse 10

David would not hide what he knew of God – notably God’s wonderful characteristics, reflected in his deeds. Rather David proclaimed these things to other worshipers. As such he was effectively praising God amongst others.

Ps 57:9  I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. ▤ 

This may well have an evangelical thrust (cf. What God is like and what he has done . . .; and . . . including what God has done for you). It certainly has such an application.

Ps 71:16-18  With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come; I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone. 17O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. 18So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come. ▤ 

As with David in 40:9-10 above, in v. 16 the psalmist speaks of going to the place of worship and proclaiming God’s acts and righteousness to others gathered there. Such public praise would also appear to be what is spoken of in the subsequent verses (vv. 17-18).

Ps 107:32  Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders. ▤ 

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How to Give Praise and Thanks (II): Rejoicing

See also:

To rejoice is to be glad or joyful. By focusing on God, his promises and the wonderful things he has done – in the world, for others and for ourselves (including his many blessings) – we cannot help but be filled with joy, and so we rejoice. This is typically done in conjunction with praising and thanking God.

Rejoice and be glad in God and Jesus Christ

Ps 97:12  Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name! ▤ 

Ps 32:11  Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart! ▤ 

Ps 33:1  Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright. ▤ 

Ps 33:21  For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. ▤ 

Ps 70:4  May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!” ▤ 

Psalm 40:16 likewise says: “… may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you …”

Ps 104:34  May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord. ▤ 

Ps 105:3  Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice! ▤ 

Ps 149:2  Let Israel be glad in his Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King! ▤ 

Phil 3:1a  Finally, my brothers,q rejoice in the Lord. ▤ 

q Or brothers and sisters; also verses 13, 17

Here “rejoice in the Lord” (cf. 4:4) appears to have a subtly different meaning to similar phrases in the other verses in this subsection – in addition to it referring to Jesus Christ instead of God. Rather than meaning rejoice in or because of the Lord, it probably more specifically means rejoice “in your union with the Lord” (GNT). See Rejoice and take pride “in” Jesus Christ.

Rom 5:11  More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. ▤ 

The phrase “through our Lord Jesus Christ” is referring to either how we rejoice in God (cf. Epilogue: God’s People Relate to God through Jesus Christ) or the reason why we can, as per the remainder of the verse.

Rom 12:12  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. ▤ 

We are to rejoice in or because of the hope we have due to God, with his promises and what he has done for us, in particular what he has done through Jesus Christ.

Ps 2:11  Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. ▤ 

This indicates that rejoicing is not incompatible with fearing God and trembling before him.

Ps 34:2  My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. ▤ 

Lev 23:40  And you shall take on the first day the fruit of splendid trees, branches of palm trees and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. ▤ 

Note that these instructions were in regard to celebrating the Feast of Booths.

Neh 12:43  And they offered great sacrifices that day and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and children also rejoiced. And the joy of Jerusalem was heard far away. ▤ 

Rejoice in God and Jesus Christ always

See also:

Phil 4:4  Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. ▤ 

See the comment on Phil 3:1a, in the previous subsection.

1Thes 5:16  Rejoice always, … ▤ 

2Cor 6:8b-10  We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; 10as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything. ▤ 

Even amidst the sorrow Paul encountered in his work, Paul always had reason to rejoice (cf. Hab 3:16-19 ).

Deut 12:18b  And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God in all that you undertake. ▤ 

This rendering points to the fact that God’s people should rejoice before God in everything they do (cf. NIrV). However, although the verse is applicable to this, note that the context suggests that it is probably more specifically speaking of the people being gathered together before God and rejoicing over everything that they had done or worked for (cf. GNT, NCV).

Deut 33:18  And of Zebulun he said, “Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going out, and Issachar, in your tents. ▤ 

The phrase “in your going out” is often understood to denote one’s outside activities – particularly those regarding one’s occupation – and “in your tents” probably refers to one’s home life. Together they appear to be intended to encompass all of life and all one does. As such this verse indicates that we are to rejoice always, in everything we do.

Ps 5:11  But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. ▤ 

We should sing for joy “always” (CEV, GNT) and “forever” (NCV™, NLT).

Hab 3:16-19a  I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me. Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us. 17Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, 18yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. 19God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. ▤ 

Even in affliction one can – and should – rejoice in God (cf. 2Cor 6:10 ).

  • “The joy of the Lord is your strength”:

Neh 8:10  Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” ▤ 

The people would draw strength from the joy that they had in the Lord, or the “joy that the Lord gives” (GNT, cf. CEV).

Exult and glory in God

See also:

To exult in God is to rejoice in him with a sense of triumph and celebration. To “glory” in God is similar; it also involves taking pride in God. As such it is akin to boasting in God.

Ps 9:2  I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. ▤ 

Ps 64:10  Let the righteous one rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him! Let all the upright in heart exult! ▤ 

Ps 68:3-4  But the righteous shall be glad; they shall exult before God; they shall be jubilant with joy! 4Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the Lord; exult before him! ▤ 

Ps 89:15-16  Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face, 16who exult in your name all the day and in your righteousness are exalted. ▤ 

Zeph 3:14  Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! ▤ 

This is from a prophecy of the restoration and redemption of Jerusalem and the remnant of Israel (cf. v. 13).

Ps 35:9  Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord, exulting in his salvation. ▤ 

Ps 105:3  Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice! ▤ 

Isa 41:16b  And you shall rejoice in the Lord; in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory. ▤ 

Phil 3:3  For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of Godr and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— ▤ 

r Some manuscripts God in spirit

  • The godly should exult in “glory”:

Ps 149:5  Let the godly exult in glory; let them sing for joy on their beds. ▤ 

This appears to be speaking of God’s people exulting in the glory that is theirs in their relationship with God. As such “glory” has a different sense here to the above verses.

Rejoice and exult when giving praise and thanks to God

Ps 9:2  I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. ▤ 

Ps 28:7  The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. ▤ 

Ps 97:12  Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name! ▤ 

Ps 68:4  Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the Lord; exult before him! ▤ 

Ps 106:47  Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise. ▤ 

The last clause is probably speaking of glorying in praising God (cf. AMP).

Luke 1:46-47  And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, … ▤ 

Rev 19:7  Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; … ▤ 

The call in v. 7a is given in view of the impending consummation of Jesus Christ’s relationship or union with his people (v. 7b).

Be glad and joyful when praising and thanking God

See also:

2Chr 29:30  And Hezekiah the king and the officials commanded the Levites to sing praises to the Lord with the words of David and of Asaph the seer. And they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed down and worshiped. ▤ 

Neh 12:27  And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites in all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication with gladness, with thanksgivings and with singing, with cymbals, harps, and lyres. ▤ 

Ps 42:4  These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival. ▤ 

Ps 43:4  Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God. ▤ 

Ps 63:5  My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, … ▤ 

Ps 71:23  My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed. ▤ 

Ps 95:2  Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! ▤ 

Luke 19:37-38  As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” ▤ 

Acts 2:46-47  And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. ▤ 

Col 1:11-12  May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12giving thankss to the Father, who has qualified yout to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. ▤ 

s Or patience, with joy giving thanks

t Some manuscripts us

  • The great gladness and praise in the celebration of the Passover under Hezekiah:

2Chr 30:21, 23, 25-26  And the people of Israel who were present at Jerusalem kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with great gladness, and the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day by day, singing with all their mightu to the Lord. ▤ 23Then the whole assembly agreed together to keep the feast for another seven days. So they kept it for another seven days with gladness. ▤ 25The whole assembly of Judah, and the priests and the Levites, and the whole assembly that came out of Israel, and the sojourners who came out of the land of Israel, and the sojourners who lived in Judah, rejoiced. 26So there was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem. ▤ 

u Compare 1 Chronicles 13:8; Hebrew with instruments of might

Joy should characterize singing and shouting to God

See also:

Singing for joy to God and shouting for joy to God not only expresses our joy (or rejoicing) in praising and thanking God, but also supplements and even intensifies our joy.

1Chr 15:16  David also commanded the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their brothers as the singers who should play loudly on musical instruments, on harps and lyres and cymbals, to raise sounds of joy. ▤ 

Ps 5:11  But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. ▤ 

Ps 33:1  Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright. ▤ 

Ps 47:1  Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy! ▤ 

Ps 66:1  Shout for joy to God, all the earth; … ▤ 

Ps 81:1  Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob! ▤ 

Ps 84:2  My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. ▤ 

Ps 98:4-9  Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises! 5Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody! 6With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord! 7Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it! 8Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together 9before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity. ▤ 

In vv. 7-8 nature is figuratively called upon to join in the rejoicing of God’s people – expressing a totality of rejoicing in God by his creation.

Ps 107:22  And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of his deeds in songs of joy! ▤ 

Isa 35:2a  … it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. ▤ 

Isa 42:11  Let the desert and its cities lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar inhabits; let the habitants of Sela sing for joy, let them shout from the top of the mountains. ▤ 

  • David and the people made merry before God, with singing and music:

2Sam 6:5  And David and all the house of Israel were making merry before the Lord, with songsv and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals. ▤ 

v Septuagint, 1 Chronicles 13:8; Hebrew fir trees

Note: Delight in God and in things of God

See also:

To delight yourself in God is to make him your desire, your prime source of pleasure and joy.

Ps 37:4  Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. ▤ 

Neh 1:11a  O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. ▤ 

Job 22:23-26  If you return to the Almighty you will be built up; if you remove injustice far from your tents, 24if you lay gold in the dust, and gold of Ophir among the stones of the torrent-bed, 25then the Almighty will be your gold and your precious silver. 26For then you will delight yourself in the Almighty and lift up your face to God. ▤ 

What Eliphaz actually says is sound, indicating that one should spurn such things and instead delight in God. But note that he was wrong to imply that Job was guilty of wickedness and in giving such priority to riches.

Ps 40:8  I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart. ▤ 

Ps 111:2  Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them. ▤ 

Ps 119:14, 16, 24, 35, 47  In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. ▤ 16I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word. ▤ 24Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors. ▤ 35Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it. ▤ 47for I find my delight in your commandments, which I love. ▤ 

Isa 55:1-2  Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 2Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. ▤ 

Delight yourself in the things of God, which satisfy spiritual thirst and hunger.

Isa 58:13-14  “If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasurew on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure,x or talking idly;y 14then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;z I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” ▤ 

w Or business

x Or pursuing your own business

y Hebrew or speaking a word

z Or of the land

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