Sound His Praises
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. -Psalms 95:2-3
As Christians our praise is one of the most powerful weapons that we have. However, what is praise? Praise is the act of expressing admiration. It is also the offering of grateful homage in words or songs as an act of worship. When we praise God we are telling him that we admire Him; we admire his intervention in our lives and we admire his creations.
When facing an impending crisis at work, most of us do not think to pause and praise God. To many the thought of praising God during a crisis seems nonsensical, but much of what seems strange to the world actually makes sense to God.
To praise God after he performs a miracle is one thing, but to praise God in anticipation of his miracle is different. This principle of praising God in anticipation of his intervention, is the core message of Jehoshaphat’s story recorded in 2 Chronicles 20:1-22.
The Bible describes Jehoshaphat as a highly respected leader. He became King of Judah when only thirty-five years old. He was honourable and blessed—a man of influence and accomplishment.
Late in his reign, Jehoshaphat faced his greatest challenge when a large enemy army gathered to attack the nation of Judah. The way Jehoshaphat responded to this challenge demonstrates the power of praising God in times of crisis.
Before he did anything, Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast and inquired of God what his next move should be. - 2 Chronicles 20:3 He repeated the promises from the word of God and claimed those promises.
God sent His word to Jehoshaphat comforting him. The Lord said to Him “...Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow go down against them. They will surely come up by the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the [a]brook before the Wilderness of Jeruel. 17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.” - 2 Chronicles 20:15-17
Jehoshaphat heeded the word of the Lord and assembled his people. He then did something decisive; he placed the singers in front. It wasn’t the warriors, but the singers, the worship leaders, who would usher in the presence of God. Jehoshaphat knew that God resides in the praises of his people so he set up a praise. By the time they neared the enemy, their camp was in disarray. The allied army began to fight among themselves. God used the praises of his people to confuse the enemy and they were defeated without the Israelites having to fight.
Eight (8) reminders from God’s word of what the power of praise can do:
We have so much to praise God for; there's great power in giving honour to Him. However, at times it takes much effort offer praise; in those instances it feels more like a sacrifice. We just don’t feel like it.
Maybe we’re struggling; we're weary. It could be that we feel God has let us down. God may seem distant, far away; It’s as though He doesn't really care about what's troubling us. Let's examine the words in the SDA Hymnal 181
Does Jesus Care?
Does Jesus care when my heart is pained Too deeply for mirth and song; As the burdens press, and the cares distress, And the way grows weary and long?
O yes, He cares; I know He cares! His heart is touched with my grief; When the days are weary, the long nights dreary, I know my Savior cares.
Does Jesus care when my way is dark With a nameless dread and fear? As the daylight fades into deep night shades, Does He care enough to be near?
Does Jesus care when I've said goodbye To the dearest on earth to me, And my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks Is it aught to Him? does He see?
1. Praise gets our focus off ourselves and back on God.
In our often “selfie” focused world, we need this constant reminder- life is not all about us. We may know that in our heads, but yet our hearts think differently so often. “Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness!” – Psalms 150:2
2. Praise brings us to a place of humility.
We remember our dependency on God, as we acknowledge our need for Him. As we praise Him as Creator and King of this world, we admit and recognize that we’re not in control, but He is. He is above all. “Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.” -Psalms 95:2-3
"I will give you thanks in the great congregation: I will praise you among much people." -Psalms 35:18
3. Praise makes the enemy flee.
It pushes back the darkness that surrounds, and blocks the enemy’s advances. Evil will not stick around if we’re praising our God, who will fight our battles for us.
4. Praise leaves no room for complaining and negativity.
Sometimes even within our prayers, we can tend to complain about our problems. God knows our hearts. He cares about all that concerns us. Through praise, we’re focused on Him, no longer allowing too much attention to be centered on the struggles. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy.” -Psalms 103:2-4
5. Praise makes room for God’s blessings over our lives.
He will not hold back His goodness, praise opens the gateway of blessing as we come into the Presence of our King.
6. Praise invites God’s presence.
God dwells close to us when we praise Him; He lives there; He looks for it. “He inhabits the praises of His people.” -Psalms 22:3
7. Our spirits are refreshed and renewed in His presence.
We're strengthened by His peace and refueled by His joy. Through a heart of praise, we realize that God doesn’t just change our situations and work through our problems, He changes our hearts. "Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands." -Psalms 63:3-4
8. Praise paves the way for God's power to be displayed and for miracles to happen.
People's lives are affected and changed. God shakes things up through praise. As Paul and Silas sat in prison, shackled, and chained, they kept right on praising God. God sent an earthquake that shook the cells and broke the chains. The jailer and all his family came to know Christ that very night.
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened.” - Acts 16:25-26
We have a daily choice. We can choose to live absorbed in worry and stress. We can journey on the busy fast track, focused only on what surrounds us, while tuned in to the roar of the world. Or, we can ask God to help us to take our eyes off all that may be swirling around. We can seek His help in taking our minds off our problems, the mess around us, and the voices of others.
We can look up...to Him, the One who holds it all together, and who holds us in His hands. May He help us to look up...to lift up our voices...and sound His praises.