The Reason for Praise
1 Praise YHWH, all you nations!
Extol him, all you peoples!
2 For his loving kindness is great toward us.
YHWH's faithfulness endures forever.
World English Bible
Has anyone ever asked why you were a Christian? How did you answer?
While I was in college, an acquaintance asked why I was majoring in Religious Studies. This person knew me before I had my "conversion" experience and couldn't understand why I would spend all this money and time learning about God. My answer was honest, but, to him, obtuse. I said, "I know there was love out there. I want to study love." Of course, God is love.
Why do we believe? Why do we praise a God many people ignore? Psalm 117 gives us an answer. This simple psalm contained three parts: 1) a universal exhortation to praise YHWH (117:1), the reason to praise God in his covenant (his steadfast love and his fidelity; 117:2a), 3) a short doxology (117:2b). The psalm formed an "A-B-A" structure that highlighted God's attitude toward and activity among his people. In other words, we should believe in God and praise him for what he does for us!
I studied and continue to study about God because I experienced him and I know he loves me. That reason has stood over the centuries as a primary impetus for praise. I have faith, not because of what I can do for him, but because of what he does for me, day after day. That is reason enough to be a Christian.
Point to experiences of God's love in your life. How has his love sustained you and brought you closer to him?