Summary: There is a time for reverent silence, a time to meditate on the goodness of God. But silent meditation, as good as it is, and even though it definitely has a Scriptural place in our relationship and communication with God, is not praise. Praise is an ac
While watching the fourth quarter of the 2008 Super Bowl, I was sitting in my chair, and I witnessed Eli Manning break loose from what looked like was surely going to be “sack the quarterback” situation and a loss of yards in a crucial time of the game. Instead, he broke loose, ran a few steps, threw the ball and the receiver made what looked like an impossible catch. Without realizing I had done it, I came up out of my chair and expressed my excitement with my voice.
When I compare the importance of that ball game to the importance of the victory that Jesus won for me, and the way He did it, the ball game doesn’t even register a comparison.
There are many places, in the Bible, where we are commanded to praise the Lord. The word praise means to express approval or commendation; to give applause. C.S. Lewis said, “ I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed.”There is a time for reverent silence, a time to meditate on the goodness of God. But silent meditation, as good as it is, and even though it definitely has a Scriptural place in our relationship and communication with God, is not praise. Praise is an active expression.
In many places, we are commanded to praise the Lord. On one occasion, Jesus said that if the people didn’t praise Him, the rocks and hills would cry out in praise. He was saying that He must be praised.
I want to suggest four great benefits of praise:
PRAISE TURNS YOUR FOCUS
We have a tendency to focus on ourselves first and foremost. Our praying often becomes nothing more than complaining.
In times of trouble, we need to praise the Lord more than ever. Praise turns our attention away from ourselves and our problems, and turns us toward God. I heard one preacher say, “The praising person is not talking to God about his problems, he is talking to his problems about God!” This is a way of saying that the praising person is standing on the promises of God, no matter how the circumstances of life are looking.
Philippians 4:4-7 is one of many wonderful passages that speak of the power of praise. In the end, the passage says that the praising person will have a peace that surpasses understanding. When your focus is on your troubles, your headed for a depressed, stressed out condition, but when your focus is on the One who is the solution to every problem you’ve got, you’re headed for joy, peace and a victorious life.
PRAISE BUILDS YOUR FAITH
When you praise the Lord, you are praising Him concerning what you know about Him. You know what you know about Him because He has revealed Himself to you through His word, and the Holy Spirit’s confirmation of that word.
Praise has a way of pushing you over into the spiritual realm, and that’s where worship is. You can sing a thousand songs, pray a thousand prayers, and hear a thousand sermons, and it is entirely possible that you might still not really worship God. You only worship Him in the spirit, according to John 4:24. Nothing opens your heart to truly hear, or receive, the word of God like praising God. When that happens, your faith is built up, because “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God,” according to Romans 10:17.
PRAISE DEFEATS THE DEVIL
Jesus showed us how to defeat the devil by telling him what God’s word says. We know that the devil is able to quote Scripture better than we can, but when our quoting of Scripture joins hands with our praising God, the devil has no defense. Paul and Silas sang praises to God at midnight, in the Philippian jail. When they did, the very power of God was released on their situation, and they were set free.
In 2 Chronicles 20:21-22, singers were appointed to go before the army of Israel into battle. They went forth, praising God, saying, “Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever,” and when they did, their enemies were ambushed by God Himself!
It has been proven that people who are happy and upbeat enjoy better overall health than the person who is down and defeated all the time. Nothing will move you to happy and upbeat like praising the Lord.
It is true that the devil is our enemy, and he would love to see us defeated and destroyed, but he is no match for God. That’s why Romans 8:31 says, “...if God is for us, who can be against us?”