Monday, November 1, 2010

Make His Praise Glorious! International Sunday School Lesson for November 7, 2010 by Jed Greenough

Make His Praise Glorious!
International Sunday School Lesson for November 7, 2010
Jed Greenough

Psalm 66:1-12 

 1 Shout with joy to God, all the earth!
 2 Sing the glory of his name;
       make his praise glorious!
 3 Say to God, "How awesome are your deeds!
       So great is your power
       that your enemies cringe before you.
 4 All the earth bows down to you;
       they sing praise to you,
       they sing praise to your name."
 5 Come and see what God has done,
       how awesome his works in man's behalf!
 6 He turned the sea into dry land,
       they passed through the waters on foot—
       come, let us rejoice in him.
 7 He rules forever by his power,
       his eyes watch the nations—
       let not the rebellious rise up against him.
 8 Praise our God, O peoples,
       let the sound of his praise be heard;
 9 he has preserved our lives
       and kept our feet from slipping.
 10 For you, O God, tested us;
       you refined us like silver.
 11 You brought us into prison
       and laid burdens on our backs.
 12 You let men ride over our heads;
       we went through fire and water,
       but you brought us to a place of abundance.

As I have said elsewhere in this blog, you don’t have to be a member of a church or Sunday School class that follows the ISSL to use this schedule for studying His word, but I do hope that what we discuss today will result in your sharing it with others.

I think that God, like you, enjoys being praised!  I hope that it hasn’t been so long since you were praised that you have forgotten how good it feels!  Some praise is of such a nature that it can carry you along, smooth out some rough days and be played back in your head when things aren’t so great.  Thinking about your self, consider that God might not be so different.

The vast numbers of people are broken down into different categories:

Those that give God no consideration
Those that curse God
Those that only ask things of God
Those that have a relationship with God

The final group is the one we want to belong to of course.  When we are in a relationship with Him, He is in our thoughts always, we ask and He answers and we thank Him.

Our psalm for today’s International Sunday School Lesson begins with “Shout with joy to God” and “make His praise glorious”.  Do I, do you, do that as well as we should?

The next time you attend worship service, and those going forward, make an effort to keep the words of this psalm in mind as you are singing praises to Him.  Don’t let your mind drift to the roast at home, or the fact that your neighbor is a little off key.  Instead, use the voices of the others so that you feel less conspicuous and make your joyful noise to God.  Make it as glorious a praise as your ability allows!

And it isn’t just worshiping with others that calls for this level of praise.  You might be in the quiet of your room or even the space of your mind and you can still praise Him in the spirit of this type of praise.  Lift up your heart to Him in ways that words cannot even express, for the Spirit that is within you will convey it to Him!

The next thing I would like you to notice from today’s psalm are verses 5 and 6.  Here we see God being praised for a long past deliverance.  The people remembered and they gave praise and thanks.  We would be remiss if we ourselves do not learn from this example.

I am happy to say that there are things that I still thank God for concerning matters from several years ago in which He answered my prayers, but yet I am also sad to say that there are things that I have forgotten to thank Him for at all.

This brings to mind the lyrics I remember from a Garth Brook’s song, “Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers”.  Sometimes I remember to give thanks for those things unanswered as well.  Unfortunately, it might take a little while, sometimes years for me to be grateful I am afraid, but you know “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

So remember what He has done for you and yours, those things known and the unknown both now and forever and praise Him!

If we look ahead to verses 10-12 we read, “For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver.  You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs.  You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.”

We could certainly do much with the word refine, but alas I said last week we wouldn’t go into prophecy and I would have to in order to give the subject its due but I think we can give these verses the attention they need by again visiting the book of Romans.

1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, wehave peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. (Romans 5:1-5)


2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)

As is often the case when those that choose the verses we study for the ISSL leave off part of a chapter I have to consider all of it.  (Why do they do that?)  Anyway, I look at the remaining verses and would like to pull out verses 16-20 to add to today’s lesson.

 16 “Come and listen, all you who fear God;
       let me tell you what he has done for me.
 17 I cried out to him with my mouth;
       his praise was on my tongue.
 18 If I had cherished sin in my heart,
       the Lord would not have listened;
 19 but God has surely listened
       and heard my voice in prayer.
 20 Praise be to God,
       who has not rejected my prayer
       or withheld his love from me!

To summarize these 5 verses, may we remember to speak to others about what God does for us, that “the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16a), that God answers prayers according to His infinite wisdom, and that we need to praise Him for doing so.

So as we close today, let’s recall how I broke down people into those groups, and consider how few in the world really praise Him and thank Him and unfortunately how that number includes those He has blessed. 

Let’s take the time to praise Him without asking Him for anything, thank Him when He answers our prayers and remember to praise Him long afterwards!

For Discussion:

  1. The deliverance of Israel from Pharaoh in the Red Sea is mentioned in verse 6 and God is praised all this time later.  Share praise to God for a past deliverance and encourage others in the class to praise Him in this way.
  2. Discuss with your class the need to consider verses 16 through 20 as we discussed them.
  3. Discuss with your class how we are encouraged to sing hymns and psalms in our worship as individuals. (as seen in today’s psalm and many others including Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16)
  4. Is this still possible with all forms of contemporary worship today?
  5. Consider verse 9 and ways you may not have considered previously that God may have kept your “feet from slipping”.
  6. How has God refined or how is God refining you?

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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