Power of Praise

Power of Praise

The Lord is calling us to make Him our dwelling this year.

Psalm 91:1 (AMP)

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High

Will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty [whose power no enemy can withstand].

The three key aspects of practically making Him our dwelling was to live a consistent lifestyle where we:

  1. Pray
  2. Praise
  3. Proclaim

We’ll get back to the topic of offense next week.  This week, we’re going to shift our focus onto the second aspect of making the Lord our dwelling; praise.

Nothing puts our problems and the troubles of this world in proper perspective like praise!  Exalting the Lord through worship invites His manifest Presence into our lives and keeps our focus on Him throughout our day.  We even find throughout the scriptures where praise to God resulted in Him resolving their problems, too!

Worship is bowing down our lives so that God might be exalted through them.  It is setting ourselves apart for God’s plans and purposes; holiness.  It is more than a song, it is a lifestyle!

Romans 12:1

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.

Whether by song or any other of the countless expressions of worship, fill your soul with praise to God!  That will allow no room for worry, doubt, fear, or anxiety!  Sure, this world isn’t good and it’s only getting worse, but God is still good and we’ve only tasted and seen a tiny bit of His goodness!  Our best days are still yet ahead in an even greater manifestation of God’s glory and goodness!

Ephesians 5:15-20

15 Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Always give thanks for everything; the good and the bad.  Even when wrong and downright evil things are done to you, God is able to use it for good!  Joseph understood this and it enabled him to endure many hardships without getting completely discouraged or distracted.  He told his brothers:

Genesis 50:20

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

Be filled with the Spirit!  Not that one time back in the day; be continually filled with the Holy Spirit!  Remain a new wineskin always hungry and thirsty for more!  Always learning, always humble, always seeking!

Speak, sing, make music from your heart to the Lord.  It doesn’t matter if you can carry a tune or not.  It doesn’t matter if you have no sense of rhythm at all.  Speak, sing, and make music anyways!  If for no other reason, do it because God’s word commands us to do it over and over and over again! 

No matter what our circumstances are, God has not changed and He is still worthy of all praise!  Praise is actually an open invitation for the Kingdom of God to enter and transform our circumstances!  Our praise builds a throne for Jesus.  It creates a place for Him to be enthroned, exalted, high and lifted up in our lives.

When we give Jesus this exalted place, we can’t help but to also minimize our problems and even ourselves.  If you want things in your life to change, then get your praise on!  Stop trying to do it on your own and lift up your eyes to the Lord where your help will actually come from!

Acts 16:22-26

22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.

Wow, the power of praise!  Yes, worship is to be happen in an orderly manner.  However, it was never a quiet or private action.  There is a right and a wrong way to worship God. 

When handling the Presence of God, physically represented by the ark of the covenant, Uzzah lost his life because he approached God incorrectly.  He simply touched the ark when the oxen pulling the cart carrying it stumbled.

Why?  Because they were carrying the Presence of God the way that they wanted to and not the way that God said that it should be done.  Sure, it was a brand new cart and there was music and shouting and dancing.  However, God commanded that the ark was to be moved only by Levites and by carrying it using two gold covered acacia poles through the golden rings on the bottom of the ark.

It didn’t matter that David’s “heart was in the right place.”  It didn’t matter that David didn’t mean any harm.  It didn’t matter that there was no malicious intent by anyone.  Uzzah was just trying to help and to protect the ark the best way that he knew how. 

However, God said to do it a very specific way.  They disregarded that and did it in a way that seemed best to them.  It seemed innocent, but it was much more serious than that.  They exalted themselves over God.  This is to choose curses and death instead of life and blessing.  This choice remains under both old and new covenants.  It is still our choice to make today.

1 Chronicles 15:13

It was because you, the Levites, did not bring it up the first time that the Lord our God broke out in anger against us. We did not inquire of him about how to do it in the prescribed way.

What is God’s prescribed way for us to praise Him?  How does God desire to be worshipped?

Well, I’m going to really, really oversimplify things and try to make a long and complicated story quite short so that we can get to God’s main point today.

God created a covenant and invites us to enter into it.  This covenant is a promise made by God that is conditional only on our part as He cannot lie nor promise and not fulfill it.  It is a covenant to treat us not as our sins deserve, but to forgive our sin and to bless us with eternal life and much, much more! 

Both the old and new covenants were entered into by our faith.  We express our faith through our obedience to live by what He says.  It is a salvation based on faith alone, but revealed and shown and proven through our deeds.  It is a life transformation from the inside out.

A progression took place throughout time.  People first sought God and worshipped Him and presented Him offerings at altars that they made using dirt or uncut stones. 

Then, God chose a man named Moses and instructed him how to build a tabernacle, or tent, that represented the temple in Heaven.  It was a copy or shadow of the actual temple in Heaven (Hebrews 8, Colossians 2, Hebrews 10).  It was a tabernacle because it needed to be mobile so that it could travel with God’s people throughout their journey to the promised land.  God chose this as a place for His Presence to dwell.

Though in reality, the entire universe can’t contain His Presence, this was a place intentionally set apart for the purpose of God meeting with mankind.  It was a holy place.

After entering the promised land and living at peace with the surrounding nations, Solomon built a permanent temple to replace the tabernacle in 957 BC.  Within that temple, musicians worshipped day and night.  This also was a copy or shadow of the temple in Heaven.  That temple remained until 586 BC when Nebuchadnezzar II destroyed it.  The ark of the covenant was lost at that time, but according to Revelation 11:19, it’s in the real temple in Heaven.

In 515 BC, the rebuilding of this temple was completed by Zerubbabel.  Herod also further refurbished it in 20 BC, which would have been the state of the temple where Jesus was dedicated and taught and ministered.  That temple was destroyed by Rome in 70 AD. 

There will be a third temple built in Jerusalem sometime during the tribulation period following the rapture according to 2 Thessalonians 2. 

Right now, we are the temple!

1 Corinthians 3:16

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

However, back to the point this morning…  When the rebuilding of the first temple began, Ezra records that:

Ezra 3:10-13

10 When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the Lord, as prescribed by David king of Israel. 11 With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord:

“He is good;

    his love toward Israel endures forever.”

And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. 12 But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. 13 No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.

What is the prescribed way to approach God; the right way to praise Him?  Through Christ!

Hebrews 8:1-6

1 Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.

3 Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. 4 If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. 5 They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” 6 But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.

Hebrews 9:1-12

1 Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. 2 A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand and the table with its consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. 3 Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, 4 which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. 5 Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.

6 When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. 7 But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. 8 The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning. 9 This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. 10 They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings—external regulations applying until the time of the new order.

11 But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.

Hebrews 10:19-27

19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.

Hebrews 12:28-29

28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”

We enter in through our faith in who Jesus is and what He has done for us by the shedding of His blood.  He sits on the mercy seat interceding for us and defending us day and night.  As a result, we can boldly and confidently enter to praise!

Psalm 100:4

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.

How do we praise?

Our response to God’s goodness can be expressed in countless ways that we call praise.  These are expressions that we naturally do when we’re excited about something praiseworthy that happens.  You’ll see most of these happening at tonight’s game.  If we can be that expressive about a game, why not be all the more expressive about God and His great salvation?

Here are some that we find throughout the scriptures:

Singing (Exodus 15, Deuteronomy 31, Judges 5, 2 Samuel 22, 1 Chronicles 15, 1 Chronicles 16, 2 Chronicles 5, 2 Chronicles 20, 2 Chronicles 23, 2 Chronicles 29, 2 Chronicles 31, 2 Chronicles 35, Ezra 2, Nehemiah 7, Psalm 5, Psalm 7, Psalm 9, Psalm 13, Psalm 18, Psalm 21, Psalm 27, Psalm 30, Psalm 32, Psalm 33, Psalm 47, Psalm 51, Psalm 57, Psalm 59, Psalm 61, Psalm 63, Psalm 65, Psalm 66, Psalm 67, Psalm 68, Psalm 71, Psalm 75, Psalm 81, Psalm 87, Psalm 89, Psalm 90, Psalm 92, Psalm 95, Psalm 96, Psalm 98, Psalm 101, Psalm 104, Psalm 105, Psalm 108, Psalm 119, Psalm 132, Psalm 135, Psalm 137, Psalm 138, Psalm 144, Psalm 145, Psalm 146, Psalm 147, Psalm 149, Isaiah 12, Isaiah 24, Isaiah 30, Isaiah 35, Isaiah 38, Isaiah 42, Isaiah 44, Isaiah 51, Isaiah 54, Isaiah 65, Jeremiah 20, Jeremiah 31, Zephaniah 3, Acts 16, Romans 15, 1 Corinthians 14, Ephesians 5, Colossians 3, Hebrews 2, James 5)

Giving Offerings (Genesis 4, Genesis 8, Genesis 22, Genesis 35, Exodus 10, Exodus 18-40, Leviticus 1-27, Numbers 3-31, Deuteronomy 12-33, Joshua 8, Joshua 13, Joshua 22, Judges 6, Judges 11, Judges 13, Judges 20, Judges 21, 1 Samuel 2-26, 2 Samuel 6, 2 Samuel 15, 2 Samuel 24, 1 Kings 3, 1 Kings 8-13, 1 Kings 18, 2 Kings 3-16, 1 Chronicles 6, 1 Chronicles 9, 1 Chronicles 16, 1 Chronicles 21-23, 1 Chronicles 29, 2 Chronicles 1-13, 2 Chronicles 23-35, Ezra 1-10, Nehemiah 10-13, Psalm 20, Psalm 40, Psalm 50, Psalm 51, Psalm 54, Psalm 56, Psalm 66, Psalm 96, Psalm 107, Psalm 116, Proverbs 7, Isaiah 1, Isaiah 19, Isaiah 40, Isaiah 43, Isaiah 53-66, Jeremiah 6-52, Ezekiel 20, Ezekiel 36, Ezekiel 40-46, Hosea 6, Joel 1-2, Amos 4-5, Zephaniah 3, Malachi 1-3, Matthew 5, Mark 12, Luke 21, Acts 10, Acts 21, Acts 24, Romans 8, Romans 15, 2 Corinthians 8, Ephesians 5, Philippians 2, Philippians 4, 2 Timothy 4, Hebrews 1-13, 1 Peter 2)

Shouting (Leviticus 9, 2 Samuel 6, 1 Chronicles 15, Ezra 3, Psalm 20, Psalm 27, Psalm 33, Psalm 35, Psalm 42, Psalm 47, Psalm 65, Psalm 66, Psalm 71, Psalm 81, Psalm 95, Psalm 98, Psalm 100, Psalm 105, Psalm 108, Psalm 118, Isaiah 12, Isaiah 24, Isaiah 26, Isaiah 35, Isaiah 40, Isaiah 42, Isaiah 44, Isaiah 48, Isaiah 49, Isaiah 52, Isaiah 54, Isaiah 58, Jeremiah 31, Jonah 2, Zephaniah 3, Zechariah 2, Zechariah 9, Matthew 21, Mark 11, John 12, Revelation 19)

Playing Instruments (Exodus 15, 1 Chronicles 13, 1 Chronicles 15, 1 Chronicles 16, 1 Chronicles 23, 1 Chronicles 5, 2 Chronicles 7, 2 Chronicles 9, 2 Chronicles 20, 2 Chronicles 23, 2 Chronicles 25, 2 Chronicles 29, 2 Chronicles 30, 2 Chronicles 34, Nehemiah 12, Isaiah 38, 1 Samuel 105, 2 Samuel 6, Ezra 3, Psalm 33, Psalm 43, Psalm 57, Psalm 71, Psalm 81, Psalm 87, Psalm 92, Psalm 98, Psalm 144, Psalm 150, 1 Kings 10)

Bowing Down (Genesis 24, Exodus 4, Exodus 12, Exodus 34, Judges 7, 1 Kings 1, 2 Kings 17, 1 Chronicles 29, 2 Chronicles 20, 2 Chronicles 29, Nehemiah 8, Psalm 5, Psalm 22, Psalm 66, Psalm 72, Psalm 95, Psalm 138, Psalm 145, Psalm 146, Isaiah 45, Isaiah 49, Isaiah 66, Ezekiel 8, Ezekiel 46, Micah 6, Zephaniah 2, Matthew 2, Romans 14, Philippians 2)

Laying Facedown (Genesis 17, Leviticus 9, Numbers 14, Numbers 16, Numbers 20, Numbers 22, Numbers 24, Joshua 7, Ezekiel 3, Ezekiel 9, Ezekiel 11, Ezekiel 43-44, Deuteronomy 9, 1 Kings 18, Leviticus 9:24, 2 Chronicles 20, Matthew 17, 1 Corinthians 14, Revelation 4)

Standing (Genesis 18, Exodus 17, Deuteronomy 10, 1 Samuel 12, 2 Chronicles 20, 2 Chronicles 29, Jeremiah 7, Jeremiah 33, Ezekiel 22, Ezekiel 44, Psalm 119, Isaiah 29, Habakkuk 3)

Proclaim (Deuteronomy 32, 1 Chronicles 16, Psalm 9, Psalm 26, Psalm 30, Psalm 35, Psalm 79, Psalm 96, Psalm 105, Psalm 106, Isaiah 12, Isaiah 42-43, Isaiah 60)

Crying (1 Chronicles 16, Judges 20, Judges 21, 1 Samuel 30, Ezra 3, Ezra 10, Nehemiah 8, Joel 2, Malachi 2, Luke 7, John 16)

Dancing (Exodus 15, 2 Samuel 6, 1 Chronicles 15, Psalm 30, Psalm 149, 150, Ecclesiastes 3, Jeremiah 31)

Raising Hands (1 Kings 8, Nehemiah 8, Psalm 28, Psalm 63, Psalm 134, Psalm 141, Lamentations 3, 1 Timothy 2)

Banners (Psalm 20, Song of Songs 2, Isaiah 11, Isaiah 13, Isaiah 18, Isaiah 62, Jeremiah 4, Jeremiah 50-51)

Kneeling (1 Kings 8, Psalm 22, Psalm 95, Ephesians 3)

Clapping Hands (Psalm 47, Psalm 98, Isaiah 55)

Speaking (Psalm 145)

These are just a few examples that we see in the Bible of expressions used to praise and worship God.  Of course, even using spiritual gifts and creating works of art and skilled trade in woodworking and blacksmithing and masonry and tailoring and dying cloth are all found in the scriptures as well.  There countless creative ways to praise and worship God, our Creator!