There’s an old turn of phrase to express something’s appropriateness. It goes something like this – That dress is becoming on you. The phrase may be awkward in our hearing, but the meaning is that something suits or complements us. It fits and amplifies something about us. The psalmist says that “Praise is becoming to the upright.”
Psalm 33 opens by declaring, “Sing for joy in the Lord, O you righteous ones; Praise is becoming to the upright. Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre; Sing praises to Him with a harp of ten strings. Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy. For the word of the Lord is upright, And all His work is done in faithfulness. He loves righteousness and justice; The earth is full of the lovingkindness of the Lord.” (Psalm 33:1–5, NASB95)
Joyfully singing and playing praise with thanksgiving to God becomes us, suits us, fits us who love God. Those moments of praise and worship are precious as we connect with God in worship. For a while, our cares and worries melt away as our hearts are focused on God. Whether alone, with a small group, a larger congregation, or a stadium full of believers, praise and worship fits and is becoming.
If we’re having trouble finding praise the psalmist helps us out. The writer provides four starters for praise and worship. The first is that God’s word is upright. His promises are sure, and His word is true. The second is that all of God’s work is done in faithfulness. We can trust God even if we don’t understand or see the outcome. He is a good father (Matthew 7:9-10). The third is that God loves righteousness and justice. He sees injustice and seeks to bring things right. We may not always be on God’s side, but God is always on our side. The fourth and last is that the earth is filled with God’s lovingkindness. This is more than feelings of love, but love in action. The brightest example of God’s love in action is in sending Jesus Christ to make the way for us (John 3:16-17). And those are just for starters.
Most of our praise and worship will fit into one of those four in some way. But this is not an academic exercise to categorize and catalog God’s praiseworthy attributes. Praise and worship should be fresh, timely, and heartfelt. That doesn’t mean that we can’t sing old or classic songs, but that they should reflect and become the praise in our hearts. New song or old song, what matters is the meaningful expression of praise and worship.
Now, some folks may be feeling left out since they can’t carry a tune in a bucket. God doesn’t care. The psalmist encourages the musicians to play skillfully while everyone else joyfully sings or shouts. If we’re doing this right our focus is on God and not whether someone is hitting a sour note.
Sing joyfully – it fits you well.