In 1911, Marie Curie won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her discovery of two new elements: radium and polonium. Her work revolutionized cancer treatment and paved the way for mobile X-Ray machines used in World War 1. The Nobel academy deemed Mrs. Curie “worthy” of the world’s most prestigious scientific award. The process for selecting winners is rigorous and involves the judgment of several thousand experts spread over the globe. It takes a full year to determine a single winner.
In Psalm 18 verse 3 we read:
I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, And I am saved from my enemies.
The term “worthy” is the hebrew word מִשְׁפָּט (mishpat) which means “a process of executing fitting judgment according to ordinances and laws.” It is not a poetic term. It is a technical achievement. It is the exact same stated procedure applied by the Nobel Committee.We tend to forget the precision of words in the biblical psalter. These are not loosely organized open mic night beatnick ramblings, they are the elevation of mathematically precise terminology arching over us in song.
Years ago I read a Scientific American article detailing university research on music. The conclusion stated that our most popular classical music achieved a symmetry and proportion of sound that were “mathematics in motion.” When we understand the Psalms we see a series of doctrinal statements that parallel the Old and New Testaments. Rising rhythmically without violating the laws of either.
God is worthy of our praise.
Otherwise put, when we seriously study the true nature of God and His work around us, in us and for us, the most logical conclusion is to give him our praise.
Nobel Laureates are praised for advancing our understanding of the mysteries of God’s genius. We look upon our fellow human beings who have climbed farther up into the wonder of God’s works and all our eyes are on them. Yet the God who laid these works down and knows every facet of them is worthy of a higher praise. He gave us minds that could think. He gave us worlds to think about. What prize should we give Him? Logically, plainly speaking?
The bible says He wants our praise. Praise in the hebrew means “to comment on.”
How does one “comment on” the works of God? He unfolded the nebulas and galaxies that make Hubble telescope images breathtaking. He lays down the laws which give us the Animal Kingdom, babies in the womb, sunsets and full moons.
God wants us to see these things and then to see Him as freely giving them to us. God wants us to see our sin and then to see Him hanging, nailed to two pieces of lumbar, suffocating to death so He could absorb our disease. To set us free to eventually run and play with the carefree abandonment of children.
How do you “comment on” those things? I don’t think I’ll ever truly know. But I will start with a bent knee and a joyful, sober amazement. It’s the best I can do. It’s also the least.