God wants us to REST! He wants to solve our problems and fight our battles for us without our getting in the way and hindering Him! Hebrews 4:9-10 reveals that there is a rest to the people of God, and that when we rest, we cease from our own works. That is, we stop trying to do everything by ourselves without God’s help. In Matthew 11:29-30, Jesus gives us an invitation to cast our heavy load of life on Him!
John the Baptist gave an applicable word for our day when he declared, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). The only fight that we should be involved in is the fight of faith! And a lifestyle of praise and worship is the key to walking in rest and in the abiding presence of God. He increases in our lives when we step back from the work of problem solving alone!
In God’s presence there is exquisite joy (Psalm 16:11). Nehemiah 8:10 reveals that joy brings strength! Psalm 8:2 reads, “Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants, You have ordained strength.” Jesus quoted this verse in Matthew 21:16, and substituted the word “praise” for the word “strength;” “.Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants you have perfected PRAISE!” In the theology of Jesus, praise meant strength.
Psalm 22:3 informs us, “But you are Holy, Enthroned on the praises of Israel.” The Hebrew word for enthroned is yawshab and it means to remain, to settle, or marry! When we praise God, His presence comes and settles upon us! His kingdom power and glory manifest wherever God dwells or “settles.” And there is joy IN HIS PRESENCE! That’s the reason we renew our strength when we take the time to wait on God or to spend time in praise and worship (See Isaiah 40: 29-31).
The Father is seeking people who will enter into a lifestyle of praise and worship and quit living in their own limited strength! Jesus told the woman at the well of Samaria, “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24). Just think, God actually seeks you when you decide to live a lifestyle of praise! It’s one thing for us to seek God, but just think of having God seek you!
We are to offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually (Heb. 13:15)! The Old Testament sacrifices were consumed on the altar by fire! And the fire of God’s presence consumes our sacrifices of worship today!
Several powerful spiritual benefits occur simultaneously when we enter into praise and worship. First of all, Satan and his horde of demon forces that are arrayed against us (Ephesians 6:12) to hinder our lives and ministry are stopped dead in their tracks!
Notice Psalm 149: 6-9: “Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand, (7) To execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples; (8) To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; (9) To execute on them the written judgment – This honor have all His saints.”
Satan has already been defeated by the Lord Jesus (See Colossians 2:15; Eph. 1:17-23), and we share His victory over the forces of darkness (Ephesians 2:6)! When we begin to praise and worship God, we enforce that defeat in our current situation. They have to back up in their schemes to hinder us! “Vengeance on the nations; punishments on the peoples; binding their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron; all of these phrases refer to the principalities and powers mentioned in Ephesians 6 that seek to thwart God’s purposes in us. When we praise, THEY STOP! God’s kingdom power is manifested! And we experience freedom and joy!
This is demonstrated in 2 Chronicles 20 when enemy armies surrounded Judah to defeat them. After a time of fasting and prayer, the spirit of prophecy came on one of the priests who told them not to be afraid of the great multitude that was ready to attack. He told them that the battle was God’s, and that they would not be fighting alone. Hearing this, King Jehoshaphat instructed those who lead praise to form the front line of battle. And when they began to praise God, the Lord defeated the enemy for them, without their entering into the battle themselves! They praised, and God did the fighting!
Praise as a weapon is seen also in Paul’s deliverance from the prison as he and Silas began to pray and sing praises to God. In the midnight hour of our lives, when all hope seems lost, we too can tap into God’s delivering power by praising instead of complaining. Praising brings a display of God’s power into our circumstances, while complaining enables the enemy to defeat us!
Praise also keeps us in an attitude of faith and expectancy when trusting God for the manifestation of an answered to prayer! Psalm 106:12 reads, “then they believed His words; they sang His praise.” This principle of standing in faith through praise is well illustrated in Abraham’s life as “he did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform (Romans 4:20-21). As Abraham gave glory to God, or praised Him, God’s promise to him came to pass.
Praise also helps us keep our eyes on the Lord and off of our circumstances in the difficulties of life. In 1 Samuel 30:1-6, while David and his men were away, their families were taken as hostages and the city where they had been staying was burned! As David and his army grieved, his men decided the whole thing was David’s fault and talked about killing him! David’s response to his circumstance was to strengthen himself in the Lord his God (See 1 Samuel 30:6)! And remember strength comes from joy, which is found in God’s presence, which manifests when we choose praise as our response to life’s troubles!
Allow the kingdom of God to envelop your life today by making a choice to offer up continually the sacrifice of praise. Choose to walk in the rest that God has provided for you by living a lifestyle of praise. “Through Him therefore let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name” (Hebrews 13:15, Amplified)!
Source: Mitch Horton, Pastor of Victory Church (victorychurch.nu) Published: 2003
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