Psalm 117
Praise the Lord, all you nations;
extol Him, all you peoples. For great is his love toward us,
and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!

God calls all peoples, every tribe, every tongue, everyone on the planet to worship Him. In this shortest chapter of the Bible, the writer of the Psalm calls everyone to extol the Lord. Have you ever looked up what that word means? Wow. It is a power packed little word. Here’s how the dictionary defines it:

“praise enthusiastically”

synonyms: praise enthusiastically, go into raptures about/over, wax lyrical about, sing the praises of, praise to the skies, acclaim, exalt, eulogize, adulate, rhapsodize over, rave about, enthuse about/over, overpraise;

Check out some of those synonyms. I like “rave about” and “enthuse about/over” and “over praise”. I’m sure that you picked up that the word extol is a verb. It’s an action word, something we are supposed to do. In typical Hebrew parallelism, the writer also encourages us to “Praise the Lord” in the opening phrase. So, extol and praise are describing the same action. But as described above, there is some serious action implied in that word. God seems to delight when we acclaim, wax lyrical about or rhapsodize over Him in our worship. This is no passive, stand with your arms folded, mouth shut, unengaged worship.

This seems consistent with the rest of Scripture when we see the idea expressed in other places.

I will extol the LORD at all times; His praise will always be on my lips.” (Psalm 34:1)

Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song.” (Psalm 95:2)

With my mouth I will greatly extol the LORD; in the great throng of worshipers I will praise Him.”
(Psalm 109:30)

And the Apostle Paul brings us full circle when he declares in Romans 15:11

And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles; let all the peoples extol Him.”

As we begin 2018 let’s grow in not only our understanding of the word “extol” but also our practice of it. Isn’t it interesting that this action involves our mouths? God calls us to respond to Him with spoken, shouted and sung words of acclamation. Let’s do that this Sunday! Let’s shout, sing and speak our praise to Jesus, the one who saved and redeemed us, the one who has forgiven us all our sins, the one in whom we can delight in and enjoy forever! Because of our salvation in Christ, we have more than enough reason to enthuse about and overpraise our great God!! So, let’s extol and praise Him!