God Is Worthy of Public Praise
"Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes; I, even I, will sing unto the LORD; I will sing praise to the LORD God of Israel." (Judges 5:3)
During this Christmas season, some people are going out to do "caroling." "Caroling" is when a group of people gather together and visit the homes of their family and friends, where they sing Christmas carols – songs about Jesus' birth. Sometimes they bring cookies or hot chocolate or presents to give to the people they visit. But most of all, they give their time – they come sing as a way of saying "Merry Christmas!" and cheering up people who might be feeling sad or lonely. Often, groups of carolers will visit nursing homes or hospitals, in hopes of bringing some Christmas cheer to the residents and patients. Elderly people or sick people are usually unable to get out around town, or else they may not have friends and family – which is especially hard during the holiday season.
Some carolers even go out into the streets or public shopping malls and stand together and sing as crowds of people walk by. Unlike other times of the year, Christmas is a time where it is considered acceptable to sing religious songs in public. Even people who do not really know Jesus as their personal Savior are happy to hear Christmas carols as they go about their errands and do their last-minute Christmas shopping.
Have you ever gone caroling? Some of the more popular carols are very familiar songs to us – like "Silent Night" or "Joy to the World" or "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing." Have you ever gotten so excited about singing Christmas carols that you discover you have forgotten to listen to the words you have been singing? In all the hustle and bustle of Christmastime, it can be easy to forget why we have so many popular songs about Jesus' birth.
The whole celebration of Christmas is a very big reminder that God does exist, that we are a world full of natural sinners, and that we need a Savior. For some people, Christmastime is a very difficult season because it brings them face-to-face with the reality of God and their sins against Him. But it is also a time of great hope, because Jesus came to Earth to seek and save sinners like us.
During Israel's early years as a nation, the people were ruled by judges whom God appointed. During the time of the judges, the Israelites often behaved very wickedly. They did not act like God's people at all. The world was full of sinners, people who did whatever they thought was right for themselves – not even caring whether God thought their choices were right. But there were some people who knew God and loved Him. Deborah was a godly leader during the time of the judges. In the book of Judges, chapter 5, we can read a song that Deborah sang publicly in praise to God.
In Judges 5:3, Deborah sang, "Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes; I, even I, will sing unto the LORD; I will sing praise to the LORD God of Israel." She did not mind who heard her. Even the greatest rulers alive back then (kings and princes of other nations) could not compare to the Israelites' God, Jehovah. From her heart, Deborah sang about God and all that He had done for His people, because she knew He was worthy of public praise.
This Christmas, you might have an opportunity to sing in public. Not just in front of the church and people who know and love your LORD, but maybe even in front of unbelievers who do not know Him. Isn't it good news that God has come to Earth to seek and save sinners like you, and like those sick people or those shoppers at the mall? A God like that is worth singing about. We should not be bashful or scared when it comes to praising God. No one compares to Him, not even the greatest of human beings. We should listen to the words we sing, and we should mean them from our hearts, because God is worthy of genuine, heart-felt praise from His people.
God deserves to be praised publicly by His people.
» Am I acting like a worldly person even though I say I am a Christian?
» How can I praise God publicly with my actions and words (and even songs)?
» Is there someone I can encourage today with the good news of the Savior?
Truth In Real Life
“Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!”
John Newton was born in London, the son of a hardworking shipmaster. Because of his father’s influence in his life, John Newton knew that he wanted to work on a ship one day.
John’s mother was a wonderful Christian lady who taught him much about God and the Bible. Unfortunately, John would not listen. This choice would cost him greatly as he grew older.
The life of a man who lives on a ship is often very difficult – and life for the young John Newton was no exception. In fact, things became so difficult, that he actually ran away. He was captured and sold to a slave ship were he was treated very harshly by his commander.
Once, during a terrible storm, John Newton knew that he was going to die. The waves crashed against the ship and everything was hopeless. He went to his cabin and wrote in his journal, “Lord, have mercy upon us.” Miraculously, he was spared. On May 10, 1748, God took hold of his heart and saved him. Ever after that, John would always speak of May 10, 1748, as the day that changed his life. He celebrated May 10th every year. He gave up drinking alcohol, gambling, and cussing. He spent his time studying the Bible and learning everything he could about his God.
A friend of John Newton’s father eventually rescued John and gave him the opportunity to own his own slave ship. He kept the ship for only a short time before he came to realize that the slavery trade was wrong. He chose to believe instead that every person has been made by God, every person is equal before God, and every person ought to be treated as a creation of God.
John Newton is most famous for writing the hymn “Amazing Grace.” He considered it the song that best described his own experience of God’s grace. What song most closely describes your Christian testimony?
John 9:25 – He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.”