Leah was Jacob’s first wife.  It was by trickery from Laban (Leah’s father) that Jacob had Leah for a wife.  I encourage you to read of that event in Genesis 29:15-28.  Verse 30 tells us that Jacob “loved also Rachel more than Leah.”  It was a sad state for Leah.  Her father tricked Jacob into marrying her, she was not as pretty as her sister, Rachel (verse 17), and she was hated (verse 31).  Yet, the Lord was merciful to Leah and she bore four sons to Jacob…Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah.  Let’s read of Leah in Genesis 29:35, “And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, NOW WILL I PRAISE THE LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.”  Remarkably, this is the first time the word “praise” is mentioned in the Bible.

Praise is normally associated with thankfulness, so we see that Leah praised the Lord for giving her Judah, whose name means praise!  We often read of thanksgiving and praise together:

  • 1 Chronicles 29:13, “Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.”
  • Daniel 2:23, “I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter.”
  • Hebrews 13:15, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.”

Although it was Leah who first used the word ‘praise’, it was Abraham who first used the word ‘worship’.  We read in Genesis 22:5, “And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.”  Worship means to bow down to or to reverence.  We sometimes read of worship and praise together:

  • Psalm 138:2, “I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
  • 2 Chronicles 7:3, “And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.” 

C.S. Lewis once remarked that “just as men spontaneously praise whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it.”  So, we see verses encouraging us to join in praise and worship to the Lord:

  • Psalm 29:2, “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.”
  • Psalm 150:6, “Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.”
  • Romans 15:11, “And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people.”

Does God demand our praise?  Certainly His works demand our praise.  His love and mercy demand our praise.  Everyone who has experienced the grace of God, has had the Lord answer their prayers, has enjoyed fellowship with the Lord will greatly desire to praise Him.  He is worthy, and He desires our thanksgiving, praise, and worship.

John 4:23-24 says, “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”  (CC)  (551.2)