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D. Praise to God

Sibbes quotes the passage:

‘So will we render the calves of our lips.’

1. Friendship With God

He explains the basis of our praise as “friendship”. God has given to us. We return praise to him. De Silva speaks about in terms of the patronage relationship and the concept of “grace.” Sibbes, without reference to the ancient custom bases his argument upon an even more ancient and cross-cultural concept: friendship. 

Here is the re-stipulation or promise. They return back again to God, for there is no friendship maintained without rendering. 

This is really quite beautiful:

When God hath entered into covenant with us, then there is a kind of friendship knit up betwixt him and us, he becoming our friend. 

It is set forth in the hymn, Praise to the Lord the Almighty:

Praise to the Lord, who will prosper your work and defend you;

surely his goodness and mercy shall daily attend you.

Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,

if with his love he befriends you.

Friendship is a matter of exchange: we have received good from God, we return to him. The image of the “grave” is quite striking here

We must not, therefore, be like graves, to swallow up all, and return nothing, for then the intercourse betwixt God and us is cut off. 

He supports this point by argument from Scripture, that the Spirit teaches this; and then by analogy to nature:

Therefore the same Spirit which teacheth them to pray, and to ‘take to them words,’ teacheth them likewise to take unto them words of praise, that there may be a rendering according to receiving, without which we are worse than the poorest creature that is, which rendereth according to its receipt. 

The earth, when it is ploughed and sowed, it yields us fruit. Trees being set, yield increase. Beasts being fed, render in their kind. Yea, the fiercest, untamed beasts, as we read of the lion, have been thankful in their kind. 

One might think he is overstating the analogy that nature praises God. Therefore, he proves the point by a quotation from Psalm 19:

The heavens, saith the psalmist, declare the glory of God, and the firmament shews forth his praise, Ps. 19:1.

He then makes the work one of honor: surely you will not do less than the animals:

So there must be a return, if we be not worse than beasts. Therefore the church here promiseth a return by the same Spirit which stirred her up to pray. ‘So will we render the calves of our lips.’