I’ve been to many banquets over the years; each one is a great celebration. In today’s verse, it speaks about “a banquet of praise.” The NIV says, “Sacrifice thank offerings to God.”
Now today we do not sacrifice thank offerings like they once did; however, we still should offer praise to God. He alone deserves praise. In verse 15, God says, “Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” Call on Him. He will help. We will honor Him. It seems so simple but yet it gets neglected again and again.
We can never praise God enough. We can never offer Him enough thanks for what He has done for us, what He has given us. When I think of spreading out a banquet feast, I think of the big table of food at a wedding celebration or birthday dinner. I think of a Christmas family dinner or a picnic spread on a beautiful summer day. Those feasts we give a lot to make happen. We prepare. We spend. We plan. We pour a lot out for those banquets. A banquet is elaborate. A banquet is large. So when we think of a banquet of praise, it should never be only a “thank you for my food” before your meal and nothing more for the rest of the day. Imagine tomorrow morning, waking up and only having what you thanked God for today. Wow! There’s so much more to be thankful for, so much more opportunity to praise Him. Start spreading out that banquet. Honor Him.
“Spread for me a banquet of praise,
serve High God a feast of kept promises,
And call for help when you’re in trouble—
I’ll help you, and you’ll honor me.”
-Psalm 50:14-15 [MSG]
When you yell at the top of your lungs, people pay attention. It is loud. It is usually uninhibited. When I think of someone screaming at the top of their lungs, I consider two things: screaming in delight after receiving some great news or screaming in fear when in danger. These moments are typically moments we do not forget.
When all of Judah and Jerusalem followed Jehoshaphat’s actions, worshiping God together, the Bible says that the Levites were on their feet praising God. How did they praise Him? They praised God “at the top of their lungs.”
This reminds me of my car rides when I have the windows down and I am in the middle of uninhibited worship. I am praising God. I have one hand off the steering wheel raised (which is a no no). I get loud but I don’t care. Once I was even yelled at by a young boy to quiet down. But I kept praising Him for He alone deserves honor and glory and praise. Today I challenge you to get out of your comfort zone. Praise God at the top of your lungs. Aren’t you delighted by Him? Let us jump to our feet and shout! Thank you Lord! Praise you Lord!
“Then Jehoshaphat knelt down, bowing with his face to the ground. All Judah and Jerusalem did the same, worshiping God. The Levites (both Kohathites and Korahites) stood to their feet to praise God, the God of Israel; they praised at the top of their lungs!”
-2 Chronicles 20:18-19 [MSG]
In Daniel 4, King Nebuchadnezzar was told he would “eat grass like a cow” if he did not repent and do the right thing (v. 32 NLT). He had twelve months to make the choice but instead he stood on the roof of the palace and overlooked what God had given him.
As the king “looked out across the city, he said, ‘Look at this great city of Babylon! By MY own mighty power, I have built this beautiful city as MY royal residence to display MY majestic splendor.” Who gave him the position? Who gave him the city? Who gave him life? Who gave him food? Who? The king believed in his own strength. He acknowledged himself alone.
When you are overlooking your own life, is it a my, my, my world, or do you acknowledge the Lord? When you examine your own life are you pointing to Christ and boasting about the Lord (see 2 Corinthians 10), or are you claiming you are a self made success?
“As he looked out across the city, he said, ‘Look at this great city of Babylon! By my own mighty power, I have built this beautiful city as my royal residence to display my majestic splendor.’” – Daniel 4:30 [NLT]
When we are babies, we are focused only on ourselves. When we get older, we start saying things are “MINE.” There comes a time in life when we will start agreeing that everything is from God – that He created everything, that He gave us everything. We thank Him for His provision. We thank Him for providing all we need. For some of us, this we learn in Sunday School; for others, it is something we learn later in life.
As David delivers this prayer, praising God and saying, “But who am I?” we should consider this as well. We live in a culture that expects things; we say, “I am ENTITLED” or “I have RIGHTS.” David recognized, whether he was hiding out from Saul or whether he was gathering materials for Solomon to one day build the Temple, that God created everything and God gave us everything.
We need to remind ourselves of this daily. We need to remember that everything came from God. We need to also remember that everything we give, we were given by God. It was never ours. Remind yourself today—“It all belongs to (God).” Let us continue to praise Him for Who He is and give Him the honor that He alone deserves.
“But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us! O LORD our God, even this material we have gathered to build a Temple to honor your holy name comes from you! It all belongs to you!” – 1 Chronicles 29:14, 16 [NLT]
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” – Acts 16:25 [NIV]
Something stood out to me while seeing the news coverage of the Boston Marathon Bombing and the devastating Oklahoma Tornado. I witnessed so many people praising God amidst the storm. It reminded me of Paul and Silas singing hymns and praying to God amidst their own storm, while locked away in prison. They praised God during the storm and then came an earthquake which freed them from their chains.
Perhaps we haven’t experienced what the people of Boston and Oklahoma experienced, but we all have storms of some magnitude in our lives. We have suffering. We have pain. We have situations. We have troubles. We have difficulties. We have struggles. We have diseases. We have injuries. We have problems. These storms, small and large, come. Do we praise God during the storms? Do we sing to the Lord during the good and bad?
Paul and Silas sang to God and there came an earthquake. The news coverage showed a Boston victim praising God and walking the next week despite a leg amputation. A lady prayed to God amidst the storm and gave Him glory during the interview, and her missing dog was found in the rubble on live television.
Whatever storm you are going through today or whatever storm may soon come your way—keep on praising our heavenly Father. He is always good. He is always worthy of praise.