To acclaim is to applaud or praise. This verb includes both attitude and action. We applaud something by expressing our approval. A common act of applauding is to clap hands together. We praise someone by expressing favorable judgment. We might even praise someone at a level that actually glorifies that person because we attribute perfection in some area. It may be out of order to attribute any area of perfection to a human being, but it is the least we can do for God.
This verse implies that we must learn to acclaim the Lord. It doesn’t come naturally. What have you learned recently about acclaiming the Lord that you did not know ten years ago?
It is always good to look at verses that precede and follow a focus text. The context may be enlightening. In this case, the context builds and enhances the meaning of the focus verse. The verse before it reads,
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.
What basis for acclaim is attributed to God in this verse?
Many translations use the phrase “steadfast love” in this verse and others where the Hebrew word ‘hesed’ appears. One such instance is a verse describing God’s work in the life of Joseph.
The Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor. Genesis 39:21
How is your understanding of the phrase “love and faithfulness go before you,” enhanced by the recognition that this is the same sort of steadfast love God showed to Joseph when he was enslaved?
The verse after the focus verse reads,
They rejoice in your name all day long; they exult in your righteousness. Psalm 89:16
This verse is about the people who have learned to acclaim the Lord. Do you know anybody who consistently acclaims the Lord and exults in his righteousness? Do you think that people who frequently say, “Praise the Lord!” are doing that? What makes you believe they are sincere? Or what makes you think it is fake?
14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
love and faithfulness go before you.
15 Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you,
who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord.
16 They rejoice in your name all day long;
they exult in your righteousness.
The culture insists that to express faith in God publicly is offensive to people who do not believe. Is it ungodly to offend people who do not believe? God creates us to love and serve him, but he gives us the freedom to do it by choice, not by coercion. The US Constitution also gives us that freedom. If our choice to serve God in a way that is visible or audible to others upsets them, does that reaction invalidate our freedom before God or in the Constitution? Does either the Bible or the Constitution say that one person’s freedom is invalidated by the hurt feelings of someone else? Does the Bible or the Constitution give a person the right to use hurt feelings to suppress someone else’s God-given freedom?