A prayer of deliverance. Against conniving forces. Especially those with a false face. And joyful praise at being answered by the Shepherd. I felt the joy coming from David right at the start of verse 6, so it was not much surprise to see the phrase, “my heart leaps for joy” in the next verse. So, if it is not a surprise, what am I reading?
As I continue read the notes, and re-read the chapter multiple times, I start thinking about ‘The Joy of Praise.’ I like that. So what is the Joy of Praise? Wow, is that a can of worms I just opened. Praise is an outward expression. If we have a great meal, we share that experience with others, we might even go online and review the restaurant. A good book. Our kid placing first at a track meet. Our child having a lead role in the school play. A friend finally succeeding at a challenge. We offer praise for all their accomplishments. We share the accomplishments with our friends, and even on Facebook.
In my journey today, I found a CS Lewis quote constantly referenced. He pointed out that ‘all enjoyment spontaneously flows into praise’ (Reflections on the Psalms, Harvest Books, 1964). I love that. Remember that joy is a key part of the word enjoyment. When we take the time to enjoy the little things around us, I can easily slip into praise. Especially if I see a stunning sunset. It is so easy to offer praise to God for that creation. That beauty. Then it’s real easy to thank God. And I have actually found myself slipping into praise to Jesus for the little things in my life at random times. Without meaning to, without focusing on God, a praise slips out. And when I consciously realize that, I am even more thankful to be closer to God.
There are also references to praise without joy. How do you praise God when your life is anything but happy? Without the feeling of Joy? David leads the way. He cries out to God. He prays to God. He is honest with God. And when you start a conversation with God, you come into His presence. Even reluctantly sometimes. By crying out to Jesus, you are inviting the Holy Spirit in. Spending time talking to God, or crying to God is still a sacrifice of your time to speak with God.
And slowly. Sometimes too slowly. Our time with God, even in sorrow and pain, results is a slight lifting of our darkness. For Satan and the enemies cannot abide the presence of God. The prayers turn to praise. And the praise turns to joy which turns to praise again. Psalm 18:3 is perfect, “I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies.“ Sometimes this cycle takes weeks, months or even years. But having a strong faith in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit will always eventually bring joy. And when we have joy we need to share it with others or we will burst. Whether it is the joy of a flower, a child, an accomplishment, or a sunset, we share our joy with praise. And I love it.
This personal journey I am on, is a joy, and in some cases a huge praise to God for nudging me in this direction. My growth gives me goosebumps when I think about it sometimes, and I just have to share. And because I feel inspired to share, I am inspired to learn better. It really is a pretty cool trick that God has done with me here. And I love it.
Praise be to God and blessings to anyone that reads this now or in the distant future. God Bless.