Talking About God

While reading Psalm 145 this morning I couldn’t help but notice how often the psalmist was talking about talking. The talking is about God’s glory and majesty. The typical statements of praise are peppered with statements about how everyone and everything God made will give Him praise. “One generation will commend your works to another, they will tell of your mighty acts, they will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty…They will tell… They will sing…All you have made will praise you.” The psalm is bookended with a personal vow: “I will praise you…My mouth will speak in praise.” And the final line calls everything into the chorus: “Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.”

Some people wonder if God somehow “needs” to be praised. We don’t like that idea but in one sense it is true. Majesty unnoticed is lacking something. God’s glory and power are on display but if the stadium is empty, the silence is deafening. I know of a Bible scholar who lost his faith. He confided in a friend, “Although I can’t believe in God anymore, I still don’t know what to do when I see the sunrise over the lake in the morning. The colors, the mist, the grandeur. I have no place to go with that emotionally.” The more important question is if we need praise. If we don’t somehow reckon with the incredible works of God in nature and in our own experience, we become cold. The standing ovation, the call for an encore, the take-your-breath-away gasp – these are necessary for us. Praise keeps our perspective aligned with the reality of God around us. Talking about God’s wonders keeps our faith vibrant and warm. Talking about Him keeps us “speechless.”

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