“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. “Hebrews 13:15
In the book of Hebrews we learn that Jesus Christ is the High Priest for all who believe in him for their salvation. He is the mediator between God the Father and mankind. We also learn in Hebrews 13:10 that there is an altar. Of this altar, Charles Spurgeon says in his book “The Practice of Praise”:
“Brothers and sisters, can we imagine that this altar is given to us by the Lord never to be used? Is no sacrifice to be presented on the best of altars? “We have an altar.” What then? If we have an altar, do not allow it to be neglected, deserted, unused. It is not for spiders to spin their webs upon. It is not fitting that it should be smothered with the dust of neglect. “We have an altar.” What then? “Let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually.” Do you not see the force of the argument? Obey it.
Beside the altar, we have a High Priest. There is the Lord Jesus Christ, dressed in his robes of glory and beauty, standing within the veil at this moment, ready to present our offerings. Should he stand there and have nothing to do? What would you think of our Great High Priest waiting at the altar with nothing to present to God from his redeemed?.. People of God, bring your praises, your prayers, your thank offerings, and present them to the Almighty!”
This passage really made me think about how little praise I offer to God. Often times I pray for the safety of my children as they go about their day at school, yet I forget to thank God by the time I tuck them into bed. What if we really grasped the concept of Jesus as our High Priest? What if we really understood that every single good thing we have in our lives is a gift from the Father of lights, who delights in giving His children good gifts? If you have children, praise Him. If you can walk, praise Him. If you can see, hear, taste, touch, and smell then praise Him! We can’t even take one breath without Him providing both the lungs and the oxygen necessary to breathe.
It’s tempting to think that if we had the perfect circumstances we wouldn’t fail to give God the praise He so deserves. If we had a larger house, or better health, or lived in a different place, etc. Yet we have to remember that in the beginning Adam and Eve were in a perfect paradise, and yet they suffered from a lack of praise. All it took was one suggestion that God was holding out on them and they were biting that forbidden fruit. The problem is not our circumstances; the problem lies within our sinful hearts.
May we all hold that image of Jesus Christ, our High Priest, standing before the altar in our minds as we pray. God wants us to ask. He wants to provide our every need. Yet He also knows how imperative it is that we are thankful for what He does provide. Nothing dulls a spiritual walk with the Lord quicker than a thankless heart. A bitter heart. A heart full of unbelief. A heart that doubts. A heart half in love with the world and half in love with Christ. A heart that feels entitled. Let us never forget the sacrifice Jesus made to make this relationship with God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) possible in the first place. Let’s pile the altar high with our praises and thankfulness and requests this holiday season, and in the seasons to come.
As the Apostle Paul said, in the power of the Holy Spirit in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”