PRAISE the first time this word was mentioned in the Bible was in Genesis 29:35 when Leah gave birth to a son and she said in thanksgiving “This time I will Praise the Lord” and named her Son “Judah”.
Praise started as a result of trust in God, but you cannot trust someone unless there is a record of their good deeds/love or works. Imagine walking into a gathering and you hear people praising God and you don’t know HIM neither have you been a witness to HIS works or love and many times can’t relate to Praise because of this.
So, does this mean you only Praise God when you receive a blessing/promise?
Well the Bible begs to differ since our ancestors right from the times of Abraham, Moses, Kings & Prophets witnessed the glorious works and wonders of God first hand and recorded the same in the form of scripture that was inspired by the spirit of God, hence, in times of hopelessness, grief, fear etc the Israelites or Gods people would bring to mind the works of God from the beginning and Praise him with the hope of God showing up once again and keeping the covenants He had promised to his people.
One of my favourite encounters of Praise in the Old Testament is in 2 Chronicles 20; King Jehoshaphat of Judah was up against two nations Ammon & Mount Seir who wanted to invade Judah. But the king sent his Praise and Worship team before the army and they sang “Give Thanks to the LORD for his love endures forever”. As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.
What amazed me is the King put the Singers before the Army… this is one of the attitudes in Praise that God looks for, to put aside dependence on one’s own strengths and to simply trust God. It is this very attitude that brings about Gods intervention.
Ps 22:3; God is enthroned on the Praises of His people;
The above scripture on “God is enthroned” personally means that every other throne in your life is now second or non-existent when you Praise God, He becomes enthroned i.e the Lord of your life.
What one could easily miss is the words “HIS PEOPLE” it tells us that when you praise God its personal not just for you but also for God.
In the world we live in we find at many times blocks both physical & spiritual (financial, past experiences, unforgiveness, fears, sickness, broken marriages/families etc), and many dead ends which reason, knowledge, own strength or help from others just have no impact on. It is in these situations when the believer is called up to stand firm and stand tall, lift up his/her hands and acknowledge God as it is written in Zechariah 4:6-7,
Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord of hosts. What are you, O great mountain? you shall become a plain.
Today, I look at Praise as the beginning of the journey of seeking God and when I have surrendered and acknowledged that my battles belong to him, I am drawn into the rest of God, the stillness of the Lord, a place of shelter and refuge that no one can pull me out of, a fortress that’s guarded by the living God himself.
New Testament on Praising Jesus
Jesus the son of God came down and walked this broken road so that He may mend it. He took upon every sin since the first Adam and put it to death in His body on the cross that the curtain maybe torn and that Our relationship with the Father by His blood be restored, as the book of Revelations 5:9 says “ You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slaughtered and by your blood you ransomed for God saints from every tribe and language and people and nation.
Today we Praise God with trust in His Son Jesus, who has become the revealed Lord in our lives and who the Bible says is the way to the Father in John 14:6 “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”. Jesus in turn has given us the Holy Spirit through whom we can communicate with God. The spirit has given us his gifts that the believer uses in his/her prayer life or a community in a church/prayer meeting. Some of the most common being tongues, visions, prophecy and knowledge.
The power of Praise always depends on the Grace of God and the belief of the person/community that God will come through. The believer comes before the Lord lifting his hands as an act of surrender knowing fully well that he/she will be heard, will be comforted, will be healed and will be loved. Praise breaks the inner walls (our hearts) and outer walls (the world) of Jericho and makes ready the way for the believer to enter the promised land.
Finally, if as Christians, we are found to be living in darkness but proclaim that we are in the light then we end up lying to ourselves and such gatherings are found to be dead with no spirit and no demonstration of God’s power. Many Christian look for a method or formula to Praise and Worship, but in truth there is none that can be jotted down and followed. As the Word says we are called to worship in Spirit & Truth and if both are missing, we would truly miss being first-hand witnesses to the power of God through Praise & Worship.