I went about studying Psalms 135 in a way I haven’t before. Last summer I picked up a book about the words we use, in speech or in writing, and what they reveal about our psychology and personality. The authors found a number of interesting trends such as male’s tendencies to use more nouns than women, increased rates of first-person pronouns to be associated with clinical depression, and the like.
I decided to run Psalms 135 through a word counter when I—couldn’t help—but notice the use of the word “praise.” “Praise” occurs five times in the Psalms, and behind the verb “is,” is the most frequently used verb. The second most used verb behind “praise” is “bless” which is used four times. The second most frequently used phrase, occurring 17 times, is “the Lord.” The verbs “praise,” “bless,” and the phrase “the Lord,” account for nearly 10% of the 319 words in the Psalm.
I think this experiment would be interesting to apply to my own speech and thought life. What percent of my thoughts and words go in to praising the Lord? 1%? 2% when I go to church? Lower numbers wouldn’t surprise me.
One of my favorite books is by Andrew Murray simply entitled Humility. The book does a thorough job examining the essential nature of humility to our faith, its centrality to growth, life, and maturity. However, the cover of the book stays with me more than any quote. It’s just a plain white bowl perhaps for some ordinary use, empty—waiting to be filled. The image is meant to represent our utility to God—just empty dishes to be filled and used again.
If I am a vessel, created in the image of God, whom God has predestined to be conformed more in His image in Christ, why would I only leak 1% of His praise?
Bless the Lord, O my Soul. Bless the Lord.