April 10, 2016
READ: Ezra 3:1-13
He is so good! His faithful love for Israel endures forever! (v.11).
“I do not know whether anyone has ever succeeded in not enjoying praise. And, if he enjoys it, he naturally wants to receive it. And if he wants to receive it, he cannot help but being distraught at losing it. Those who are in love with applause have their spirits starved not only when they are blamed off—hand, but even when they fail to be constantly praised.” —John Chrysostom
Those words from an early church leader reveal that our heads can swell when we receive praise. And once we get a “hit,” we can begin craving even more. So should we ignore the kind words and commendations from others? No. But as we receive them, it’s vital for us to acknowledge the One who is worthy of all our worship.
Ezra wrote of a time when the Levites praised God. “With praise and thanks, they sang this song to the Lord: ‘He is so good! His faithful love for Israel endures forever!’ Then all the people gave a great shout, praising the Lord because the foundation of the Lord’s Temple had been laid” (Ezra 3:11).
Now wait a minute, you might be thinking. Didn’t the Israelites who returned from their captivity rebuild the temple foundation by expending their own blood, sweat, and tears? Well, yes . . . and no.
Instead of praising one another for a job well done, they knew that the Source of their accomplishment—the One who truly provided for and empowered the work—was God. Just as the people had been presenting “offerings” to the Lord even “before they had started to lay the foundation” (vv.2—6), they now offered Him a sacrifice of praise!
What a great example of what to do when we receive kind words—praise—for something we’ve done: Humbly thank God and give Him the glory. For “He is so good!” (v.11).
365-day-plan: 2 Samuel 18:1-18
Read John 12:43 and consider the dangers of desiring human praise more than God’s.
How do you normally respond when you receive praise from others? How can we appropriately thank others for their kind words while also honoring God forwhat He did through us?