Praise is words that glorify God. The English word “praise” comes from the Latin word “pretium”, which means “value”. We speak or sing in such a way that we express that we value God. The important concept to understand is value. If all you were to hear from a person was, “thanks for (all) the gift(s),” at some point you would question whether they actually value the gifts or you (i.e., see your worth, and want to have a relationship with you).
It is in Psalm 145:1-13 that we see this spirit of praise. Then in verses 14-21 we see more gratitude and thankfulness, though verse 17 gets back to praise. The psalmist speaks more of who God is and what God is like in comparison to what God has done. When we speak only of what God has done, we put God the Action Hero box. God becomes someone who does something for us. Our relationship becomes shallow and transactional, rather than relational and transformational.
Isaiah’s song of praise (Isaiah 12) starts with relational restoration. As it continues, there are acts yet everything revolves around the restored relationship. This is especially important in the time of Isaiah as the exile of the people was ultimately the result of a destroyed relationship. At this point, the Lord’s salvation was primarily viewed as a physical salvation. Be that as it may, the physical salvation was a result of relational salvation, which lead into full salvation in Christ.
Underlying the passage in Hebrews is the concept that full relationship (and thus salvation) was so important to God, that—in the form of Jesus of Nazareth—incarnational (i.e., God physically being present) relationship between God and Man was not only possible…it actually happened! In Hebrews it goes on from “just” relational to “familial,”…becoming the family of God!
1) What do you think of the “praise” definition above? Does it match or conflict with your understanding?
2) How was physical salvation a spiritual “trap” for the exiles? Do you see that same “trap” alive today? If yes, where? If no, what do you think it would look like?
3/FD) Jesus thought it was important for us to know we are his brothers and sisters. Why do you think Jesus thought it was important that we are (and know that we are) part of his family?