There I was, minding my own business, innocently browsing through endless Facebook posts from my infinite number of friends (never been more popular in my entire life!), and I noticed that one buddy in a moment of excitement and adoration wrote out the doxology as his status.
“Praise God to whom all blessings flow. Praise him all creatures here below.
Praise him above, ye heavenly hosts. Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.”
Only he got one word wrong — as some of you may have already noticed.
I grew up in church where we sang this almost every Sunday, so it jumped off the screen at me. And it’s always those little windows of time when you see something old in a new light that spark fresh insights. That one little word makes a huge difference.
“From whom” not “to whom.”
Big deal; who cares?
Okay, call me knit-picky, but it effects how we view God, how we view our relationship to him — how we view life. God deserves our praise, to be sure. And my mom taught me at a young age the incredible power that is released into our lives when we praise God in the middle of our difficult circumstances. There’s value in that; it’s honorable to send your blessings to God. As that cranky old oatmeal commercial guy used to say, “it’s the right thing to do.”
But we miss a powerful point about the character of God and his amazing love for us if we get that one word wrong. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like the shifting shadows”, James tells us. God is a generous God, a giving God. One who pours out good stuff on us, just because he loves us. And he doesn’t quit when we mess up. He doesn’t change his mind. Like that powerful revelation in Exodus when he proclaims his name to Moses: “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love … (Ex 34:6).
That good stuff is for us.
And if we miss that point, we’re missing out on some jaw-dropping grace,
some amazing love,
some unheard-of favor.
Not because of who we are, or the fact that we’re constantly buttering him up with our praise.
Just because that’s who he is.
“Praise God from whom all blessings flow.” That’s your heritage. That’s your birthright. We can love him all the more because of his love for us, because he is constantly pouring out blessings — even when we don’t see or feel them.
“Praise God from whom all blessings flow.” That one little word can turn your whole day around.
This blog was orignally posted on Cafe Inspirado, Aug 15, 2011.
STEVE SCHMIDT serves on the pastoral staff of Expressions Church in Oklahoma City. He is a graduate of the seminary at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK, and holds two masters degrees in Biblical Literature and Divinity. He did his doctoral research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York.