"In His majesty [I write] victoriously for the cause of truth...for the Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary." ~ Isaiah 50:4 (ESV)
The Power of Praise
- In recent days, I've been contemplating what real praise and rejoicing looks like, based on biblical analysis and sermonistic inspirations. After refining my interpretations, here are five take-aways for thought:
1) The power of praise and the power of rejoicing are profound components to worship. While praise is accomplished in the present by aligning it to both past and future, rejoicing invests entirely into the future through the sacrifice of the present (circumstantial expectations and entitlements).
"O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure." ~ Isaiah 25:1 (ESV)
2) If illumination is to be sustained, we must see the reason to worship as essential to human existence. For praise, in purest form, surpasses all modifiers and qualifiers in a given verbal arsenal. So until we drill down on its comprehensive significance, worship will abate into a “legalistic loyalty”*, without seeking and applying supernatural discernment.
3) There are two primary solutions to break this religious liability: a) to praise in spirit and truth (John 4:24)and b) rejoice into circumstances, not “because of” them. While worshipping and proclaiming truth challenges us, worshipping in Spirit transcends all understanding and prevents praise from becoming systematic.
"Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God." ~ Psalm 43:5 (ESV)?2
"Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger through all generations? Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? Show us your unfailing love, Lord, and grant us your salvation." ~ Psalm 85:5-7 (ESV)
"With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways." ~ Psalm 119:13-15 (ESV)
"Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights." ~ Habakkuk 3:17-19 (ESV)
4) Praise is illogical to a pride-centered world, but if we’re to assume the converse – that praise is logical to its selfless counterpart, then we risk pride and false security. Pursuers of surrender can still fall into comatose service time to time.
"Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name." ~ Hebrews 13:15 (ESV)
5) Ultimately, for praise to be real, a vibrant connect must exist between the heart of man and the heart of God. Worship is more than a vertically streamlined, melodious current; it is relational intimacy in highest form, progressively refreshening an awareness of what God desires for and of us.
* Inspired by Jack Hayford’s book, ‘Prayer: Invading the Impossible”