"PRAISE HIM! PRAISE HIM!"
"I will sing praises unto my God…" (Ps. 146.2)
INTRO.: Because of who and what He is, we should praise the Lord God of heaven and earth. "Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of paise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name" (Heb. 13.15). This continual sacrifice of praise to God should include joyful songs to His Son, Jesus Christ for what He has done for us. One song which does exactly that is "Praise Him! Praise Him!" (#54 in Hymns for Worship Revised, and #11 in Sacred Selections for the Church).
The text was written by Mrs. Frances Jane Crosby VanAlstyne, better known by her maiden name Fanny J. Crosby (1820-1915). Perhaps one of the best known gospel song writers of late nineteenth century America, she may possibly be one of the greatest writers of gospel songs who has ever lived. Although blind from the age of six weeks, she began with poems for popular ballads. After marrying Alexander VanAlstyne in 1858, she turned from secular to sacred song and at one period in her life she was under contract to the Biglow and Main Co. to produce three hymns a week.
"Praise Him! Praise Him!" first appeared under the title "Praise, Give Thanks," in 1869, with the tune (Joyful Song) composed by Chester G. Allen, who was born in 1838. In spite of the popularity of this melody, there is very little information about this composer besides the fact that he worked with William B. Bradbury, William H. Doane, William F. Sherwin and others in the production of several Sunday school songbooks, such as Bright Jewels in which this song was originally published, for Biglow and Main. Allen died in 1878.
Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, his song appeared in the 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 edited by E. L. Jorgenson; the 1963 Abiding Hymns edited by Robert C. Welch; the 1963 Christian Hymnal edited by J. Nelson Slater; the 1965 Great Christian Hymnal No. 2 edited by Tillit S. Teddlie; and the 1978 Hymns of Praise edited by Reuel Lemmons. Today it may be found in the 1971 Songs of the Church, the 1990 Songs of the Church 21st C. Ed., and the 1994 Songs of Faith and Praise all edited by Alton H. Howard; the 1978/1983 Church Gospel Songs and Hymns edited by V. E. Howard; the 1986 Great Songs Revised edited by Forrest M. McCann; and the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; in addition to Hymns for Worship, Sacred Selections, and the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat.
It gives several reasons for praising Christ.
I. According to stanza 1 we should praise Him because He is our Shepherd.
"Praise Him! praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer!
Sing, O earth, His wonderful love proclaim!
Hail Him! hail Him! Highest archangels in glory;
Strength and honor give to His holy name!
Like a Shepherd, Jesus will guard His children;
In His arms He carries them all day long."
A. Jesus is our blessed Redeemer in that because of His wonderful love for us, He redeemed us to God: Rev. 5.9
B. Therefore, even the highest archangels in glory hail Him and give strength and honor to His holy name: Heb. 1.5-6
C. Not only is He our Redeemer, but He is also our Shepherd who guards His flock: Jn. 10.14-16
II. According to stanza 2 we should praise Him because He is our hope of salvation
"Praise Him! praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer!
For our sins He suffered and bled and died;
He, our Rock, our Hope of eternal salvation;
Hail Him! hail Him! Jesus, the crucified!
Sound His praises, Jesus who bore our sorrows,
Love unbounded, wonderful, deep, and strong."
A. Jesus suffered and bled so that through His blood He might wash us from our sins: Rev. 1.5-6
B. Therefore, by His crucifixion He offers us the hope of eternal salvation: Heb. 5.8-9
C. In doing this, He fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah who would come to bear our sorrows: Isa. 53.3-5
III. According to stanza 3 we should praise Him because He is our Prophet and Priest and King
"Praise Him! praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer;
Heavenly portals loud with hosannas ring!
Jesus, Savior, reigneth forever and ever;
Crown Him! crown Him! Prophet, and Priest, and King.
Christ is coming! over the world victorious;
Power and glory unto the Lord belong."
A. Just as the people cried Hosanna in the highest to Christ on earth (Matt. 21.9), so heavenly portals ring loud with praises to Him: Rev. 5.8-12
B. Sacred Selections changes "reigneth forever and ever" to "liveth forever and ever," probably because the editor thought that the concept of Christ’s reigning forever smacked of Premillennialism; however, the Bible specifically says of Christ that "He shall reign forever": Rev. 11.15; if the Bible says that He shall reign forever, then I do not see why we should have a problem singing that He shall reign forever. Sacred Selections also changes "Crown Him" to "Praise Him," again with the apparent objection that the idea of our crowning Christ must be premillennial since Jesus has already been crowned King. It is true that Christ has been crowned King and is now on His throne, but our crowning Him is simply a poetic way of saying that each one of us must acknowledge Him as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords in our own hearts: Rev. 19.11-16
C. So, we crown Him now as the King of our hearts and the Lord of our lives, but we also look forward to that time when He will be coming, over the world victorious, just as was promised in the scripture: Acts 1.9-11
CONCL.: The chorus completes the thought of each stanza:
"Praise Him! praise Him; tell of His excellent greatness;
Praise Him! praise Him, ever in joyful song."
Surely, Jesus, as the divine Son of God and Savior of the world, is characterized by excellent greatness (Ps. 150.1-2). Therefore, He is worthy of every good thing that we might say about Him as we "Praise Him! Praise Him!"