A Confession of Praise

A study Bible footnote unexpectedly intersected with thoughts about Thanksgiving.

I’m not a Hebrew scholar by any means. But the ESV Study Bible noted that the Hebrew word todah could be translated as “make confession” or “give thanks or praise,” depending on the context. The footnote goes on to say, “Some overlap of these meanings is not surprising because rightful confession is itself a kind of worship of God” (p. 820).

We don’t usually connect confession of sin with worship and praise, but the one does lead to the other, doesn’t it? Once we’ve confessed sin to the Lord and rested in His grace and forgiveness, we overflow with joy and thankfulness.

“Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit” (Psalm 32:1-2).

But I began to wonder at another connection.

I was taught that confession of sin means saying the same thing God says about it. In other words, we don’t downplay our sin. We’re honest about it. We don’t say, “Oh, I just told a little fib.” No, to adequately confess sin, we have to call it what it is and own up to it: “I lied.”

So I wonder if giving thanks or praise carries that same connotation. When we praise God, we’re agreeing with what He says about Himself. It’s not that He needs the affirmation, but we need to recognize Him for who He is. And when we do, we can’t help but praise Him. And the more we behold Him, the more our cares and concerns melt away, because we remind ourselves He is more than able to handle any need we have.

Confessing also seems to carry the connotation of personal experience. I might share or rejoice in what God has done in someone else’s life. But if I am confessing, whether it’s sin or praise, I’m sharing what God has done in my life.

In Psalm 95:2, todah is the word translated thanksgiving: “Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!”

Many of the psalms combine confession of sin, thankfulness for God’s grace, amazement at His greatness, and confession of His people’s personal experience of His provision, protection.

Psalm 145 is a beautiful example of this. Part of it says:

One generation shall commend your works to another,
    and shall declare your mighty acts.
On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
    and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
    and I will declare your greatness.
They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
    and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.

The Lord is gracious and merciful,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The Lord is good to all,
    and his mercy is over all that he has made.

10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,
    and all your saints shall bless you!
11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom
    and tell of your power,
12 to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds,
    and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
    and your dominion endures throughout all generations.

Psalm 65 does as well:

Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion,
    and to you shall vows be performed.
O you who hear prayer,
    to you shall all flesh come.
When iniquities prevail against me,
    you atone for our transgressions.
Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,
    to dwell in your courts!
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
    the holiness of your temple!

These thoughts brought to mind Ron and Shelly Hamilton’s song, “Worthy of Praise”:

My heart overflows with praise to the Lord
I will lift up my voice to the King
He brought me out of the pit of despair
And taught my heart to sing

Worthy of all my praise
You are worthy of all my praise
I bow at Your throne
And I worship You alone
Lord You are worthy
Worthy of praise

I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with food, family, and praise for Him who is worthy.

(I often link up with some of these bloggers.)

Laudable Linkage

Our hearts go out to those in Uvalde, TX, with the recent mass shooting there. Our hearts are heavy with the sorrow and senselessness of it. I appreciated what Susanne had to say at the beginning of her Friday’s Fave Five this week. A couple of other posts that I found helpful:

Uvalde, HT to The Story Warren. “In these moments, everyone is searching for answers. Everyone wants to figure out something to do, something that will somehow stop the hurting. We try to find meaning in the unimaginable, try to make sense of an atrocious act. Can I offer some advice? If you know these families–or anyone facing grief–you don’t have to offer answers. You don’t have to come up with reasons. You don’t have to try to find the silver lining or the lesson to be learned. Don’t turn their tragedy into a talking point or something political. Instead, just sit with them in their grief.”

When Violence Touches a Child’s Life, HT to Challies. “Rather than react out of fear, we must help our kids by demonstrating an appropriate level of sobriety and sorrow by such events, while exhibiting that our hope is in Christ. The challenge is to find the right balance—teaching young people awareness and caution while equally encouraging trust in a sovereign God.

Here are some of the other good reads found online recently:

Abiding in Christ: A Practical Description. “The word abide is a simple term. It means to remain, stay, or dwell. To abide is to continue in the same place for some stretch of time. The meaning is uncomplicated, but how does a believer abide in a Person?”

Bend Me Toward the Light, HT to Challies. “Written into creation is God’s plan for growth. Sunlight is essential, as is water. When our plants die, it’s often because of lack of light or moisture. So, if one of those things is less accessible than it should be, a plant will lean toward what it needs. We humans, on the other hand, will bend toward whatever gives us the most pleasure, physical comfort, and approval, no matter how it affects our health and growth.”

The Psalms Know What You Feel, HT to The Story Warren. “The psalms, however, are not a simple chorus repeated over and over again, but a symphony, filled with as many experiences and emotions as humans endure and feel. The five books that make up Psalms really are a master class in human adversity.”

Loving With a Limp, HT to Challies. “But should that surprise us? That God would inflict hurt to bring healing? Many will not imagine, nor accept, a God who could act this way. But he does, and he remains good. Even as he wrenched Jacob’s hip, even as muscle and fibre tore in ways that would never recover, God was healing a heart that was hard and deceitful, crafting through the pain and discomfort that became Jacob’s constant companion, a man that would birth a nation, and even the Messiah.”

How to Spot a Wolf, HT to Challies. “The Bible commands Christians, ‘Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account’ (Heb. 13:17, NIV). But God’s Word also tells of times when we shouldn’t trust and submit to leaders. What are the circumstances when honoring God means disobeying, fleeing, or even calling out those who minister in his name?”

What’s the Best Bible for Me? “Are you about to head to the bookstore (or, more likely, your laptop) to buy a Bible? The process may overwhelm you if you’re not prepared because choosing one has never been more complicated. We have more options but fewer bookstores where we can hold a Bible and flip through its pages. I’d love to help you take out some of the guesswork so you can make your decision based on more than a pretty cover.”

A Call to Raise Daughters Who Are Wise to Domestic Abuse, HT to Challies. “Abuse is easy to discern when it looks like something everyone knows is bad—a close-fisted punch, a shove down a stairwell, a locked closet. Abuse is much harder to discern when it looks similar to something good—like assertive leadership, exclusive affection, or clear direction.”

Expectations, HT to The Story Warren. “I heard an excerpt from a Christian podcast a few days ago and it hit me wrong. Two women were talking and one said something along the lines of, ‘I wish I had lowered my expectations for my children.’ She went on to explain how that was the better, more loving thing to do–how we should make it a point to welcome people just as they are and reassure them that however they show up is good enough. I call bull (sorry if you think that’s too blunt).”

The Hidden Danger of Productivity Systems. “When we learn to depend on our ways to getting things done and accomplishing our goals, we cease to rely on God. We believe that our systems can make us successful, rather than God Himself. And if we happen to achieve success, we run the risk of becoming complacent.”

Art Fan: How to Cheer Kids On to Creative New Heights. “Performing arts like dance, music, and theater do provide athletic-like opportunities to fill theater seats and shout Bravo!, but recitals, concerts, and performances tend to come around far less often than sporting events. Then there are art forms like painting, photography, or poetry that don’t readily provide fans with stand-up-and-cheer type opportunities.” One family came up with ways to encourage their children’s artistic endeavors.