Psalm 145

I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever.

Everyday I will bless you, and praise your name forever and ever.

I confess that sometimes, when reading passages, my eyes see the words and my mind skims though them without much consideration.

That happened the first time I read the first two verses of Psalm 145 this morning. My brain caught up with itself when it come to the second occurrence of the phrase “forever and ever.” I though- wait, didn’t I just read that?

So I consciously made a decision to attend to each word and quickly realized that- as many of us who read well will do- I had never stopped to learn the definition of a word I thought I knew because I always accepted the contextual understanding.

Not only that, but I was intrigued by the pattern of the language: extol, bless; bless, praise. Noticing the pattern made me realize that these words- extol, bless, praise- were not merely synonymous, but had distinct meanings.

The word extol specifically has deeper meaning than I expected. It means lavish praise with the added element of expressing heroic virtue (not deeds- virtue). In Latin it comes from ex– outward and tollare– to uplift.

So- a different quality of praise for a specific purpose.

The word bless also has more meaning than simply speaking nice things about something. It means to confer divine favor or endow with a cherished attribute.

(I love graduations, so the word confer really spoke to me. My favorite part of the ceremony is the conferral of degrees when candidates are granted the status of graduate “with all the rights and privileges thereto appertaining.”).

So- more than nice words- a blessing comes with the rights and privileges conferred upon the person being blessed according to their station.

Praise also- doesn’t just mean- I think you are the coolest!- it means an offering of grateful homage, and agreement with a judgement of righteousness.

So- I agree that the one I praise has the right to my gratitude.

Such simple words that we use all the time, but they aren’t simple at all- they are burgeoning with the overflow of our hearts in response to God.

God my hero, who has the right to my favor and gratitude.

Lord, I commit in my heart to always remember the deeper meaning of these familiar yet mysterious words. I too will extol your virtue and bless you forever and ever and praise you everyday forever and ever.

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