Even though I’ve heard it many times before, the phrase “sacrifice of praise” never made as much sense to me as when I heard a great message this morning using Hebrews 13:15, which says Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name.
How awesome it is when we FINALLY get the revelation of understanding! I always understood how important our praise is to the Lord, even though I didn’t really understand why it was called a sacrifice, but considering it in the context of this single verse makes it impossible to miss! How many of us CONTINUALLY offer our praise to the Lord? Do we consider praising him when our whole world seems to be turned upside-down and when all hope seems lost? Do we remember to praise Him when nothing is working out the way we hoped and prayed it would work out? Do we remember to praise Him when our back is up against the wall and we feel like He’s let us down? Do we remember to praise Him when our husbands’ or wives say vile and hateful things to us, when they disappoint us and break our children’s hearts? Do we think of praising Him when NOTHING seems to be going right or our way? Ouch! We all know the answer to that, and it’s not good, based on the rest of the verse, which says that the sacrifice of praise is “the fruit of lips that confess his name.” Now we know why it’s called a sacrifice! And since it is the fruit of our lips, we also know it’s referring to our SPOKEN words of praise, not just our thoughts, and that it’s what we’re expected to do as Christians.
In Psalm 100:4 we see Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that when everything seems to be going wrong, that’s the time we need to enter his gates and courts the most, so it stands to reason that we need to make the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving then more than ever! That makes understanding and practicing the sacrifice of praise a very important principle of faith and marriage restoration.
Then in 1 Chronicles 29:12-13, we see Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name. Who doesn’t want wealth and honor, or strength and power, and to be exalted and strengthened by the Lord’s hand! That’s another good reason to give thanks and praise His GLORIOUS name when we’re feeling weak and hopeless, dishonored, or facing financial disaster! So when we’re in pain and distress and when we really need the Lord’s salvation and protection, we need to remember what David said in Psalm 69:29-31, which says I am in pain and distress; may your salvation, O God, protect me. I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. This will please the LORD more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hoofs. Once again we see how praise and thanksgiving at the lowest times in our lives is a precious and valuable sacrifice to the Lord, and what a sacrifice it is to SING praises and thanksgiving when singing is the LAST thing we feel like doing!
And one of the greatest challenges for all of us concerning praise and thanksgiving is found in Philippians 4:6, which says Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. We’ll certainly know we have arrived when we reach the point of not being anxious about ANYTHING! But we know that is what the Lord wants from us, because that’s the only way to demonstrate genuine faith in Him and the promises in His word.
Fortunately, God always patiently waits for us to remember to praise Him, and He’s faithful to deliver and rescue us when we do, as we see in these verses from Jonah 2:
7 “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.
8 “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.
9 But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD.”
10 And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land. Perhaps we all should consider what “worthless idols” we’re clinging to that might cause us to “forfeit the grace” that could be ours. One of those idols could very easily be marriage restoration itself, because if we put that and our spouses before the Lord, we know He
is Jealous and He considers that putting another god before Him. So we need to seek marriage restoration in obedience to the Lord and His commands, and not just for our own pleasure and gain. Otherwise, the Lord may not answer our prayers according to James 4:3, which says When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
I love Jeremiah 30:19, which says From them will come songs of thanksgiving and the sound of rejoicing. I will add to their numbers, and they will not be decreased; I will bring them honor, and they will not be disdained. What an awesome promise! And it shows us why songs of thanksgiving and praising the Lord with sounds of rejoicing is SO important as we stand for our marriages, especially when we’re standing for the salvation of our husbands and wives, or anyone else watching us as we walk through this trial. We see how important thanksgiving is in the following verses from 1 Timothy 2, where it’s mentioned along with the use of prayer and intercession for living peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness, as well as being good, and pleasing God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth! 1 Timothy 2:1-4 says I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. Now that we see how important our sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving are to the Lord, we all need to focus more on it as we stand for the restoration of our marriages or the salvation of our husbands and wives, so I’m praying for the Lord to give all of us a sincere attitude of gratitude and the spirit of praise and thanksgiving!