The human being was created to live and breathe in an atmosphere of worship and praise to his Creator. The way through which divine power is received should be preserved with the flow of joyful praises that are lifted up to his Maker. The rupture OD and introduced selfishness, feelings of self-pity and complaint (see Gen. 3:9-12). But now, salvation and life in Christ has come, and having received Jesus Christ as Savior, daily life calls us to pray and read the Bible for communion and wisdom. But, our daily walk with GOD in this communion should be covered with praise, "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise" (Psa. 100:4). Such a path, filled with praise, feeds our devotion, faithful obedience and constant joy. The author has established a thorough leadership dossier that exemplifies the way in which praise bears fruit of constancy in the holy life, while teaching a way to praise GOD that is neither fanatical, nor insincere, nor ritualistic, but filled with animating power, available to each believer.
1. "Judah" means "praise" (Gen. 29:35)
Jacob gave Judah the highest blessing; he would receive real and legal authority, and furthermore, the blessing of being a channel for the advent of the Messiah.
"Judah" says praise, and from this man came a great tribe of Israel. This is one of the most important verses of praise of the Bible. We note the following passages: 1) Jacob (49:8-12) pronounces a great praise upon Judah, giving him the greatest blessing. His brothers will praise him. He will triumph over all his enemies. Verse 10 says that he will have monarchal (scepter) and legal (legislator) authority. Furthermore, he will bring the Messiah. 2) From Judah, through David, comes the Christ, who praises the Father in each of the acts and details of his life (Luke 3:23-33). 3) The tribe of Judah (praise) will lead Israel through the desert (Num. 2:39). 4) It will head the conquest of Canaan (Judges 1:1-19). 5) Judah is the first tribe in praising David, proclaiming him king (II Sam. 2:1-11).
2. Praise consoles us during difficult situations (Num. 21:16,17)
In times of stress, anxiety or depression, get together with people who praise GOD.
Praise is the cure for the difficult situations that every believer faces, because it makes the wells of GOD's grace flow. Notice these four truths: 1) The divine instruction: "Gather the people". In union there is power and solidarity. 2) The divine promise: "I will give them water [life]". 3) The responsibility of the people: they sing, "Spring up, oh well; sing unto it". 4) Our lesson: In difficult moments, of anxiety or depression, don't remain alone. Gather with GOD's people, especially people who praise him. Set aside your personal concerns and praise him in a loud voice, sing to your well: the living GOD. Your song should be of thanksgiving for past blessings and of faith in the promises of GOD for the present and the future!
3. The unifying power of praise (II Chron. 5:13)
There is power in praise, thanksgiving, music; we should watch out for all that diverts us from praise and worship to GOD.
This text demonstrates the unifying power of thanksgiving, praise and music: 1) the trumpets and singers were as if they were one; 2) they played their instruments in thanksgiving and praise to the LORD, saying, "Because he is good, because his mercy is forever"; 3) the house (the temple) was filled with a cloud (the glory of the presence of GOD).
We must remember that even in praise and thanksgiving "GOD is not a GOD of confusion" (I Cor. 14:33). Anything spoken or done that calls the attention toward the one worshiping and not toward GOD, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, needs to be reconsidered.
4. Powerful praise gives rise to victory (II Chron. 20:15-22)
Confronted by mortal enemies, the Levites respond to the Word of the LORD praising "with strong and loud voice". They obtained a great victory.
Here is a great lesson about the power of praise. Judah was being confronted by its mortal enemies, Moab and Amon. The people sought GOD in prayer and with faith in his word (20:1-14). Then came the word from the prophet: "Don't fear...because the war isn't yours, but GOD's" (v.15). The victory came in a strange and powerful manner. The Levites rose up and praised "Jehovah the GOD of Israel with a loud voice on high" (v.19). Then some were designated to song to the LORD and worship him in the beauty of his holiness. They marched before the army, saying "Glorify Jehovah, because his mercy is forever" (v.21). The result of this powerful praise was a total victory!
5. Praise halts the advance of evil (Psa. 7:14-17)
Sincere, powerful, spontaneous and audible praise will bring the presence of Jesus, frightening away sinful thoughts and actions.
This passage contains two truths about praise.
First, praise is the response when evil and iniquity confront the believer. The temptation to sin and to live sinfully will disappear before sincere, powerful and audible praise. This will bring the glorious presence of Jesus and at the same time will extirpate the desire to identify oneself with a sinful act or thought.
Second, in verse 17 the writer declared, "I will praise Jehovah". Praise is an act of will, not merely a verbal expression; a voluntary declaration of gratitude, a sacrifice or offering.
Remember this about praise: 1) Don't wait until all the circumstances and conditions may be favorable, but 2) offer a praise of thanksgiving because GOD is worthy and it is right. (See also Is. 12:1-3 and Jer. 33:11).
6. Praise emphasizes GOD (Psa. 18:3)
Worthy praise emphasizes GOD and makes us shine with joy.
Here we encounter the most important reason for praising GOD. "He is worthy of being praised" (from the Hebrew halal, "Praise in a loud voice"). Halal means roughly "to make shine". With our praise we make GOD the center of our attention, worthy and deserving of being praised and glorified. The more we concentrate on GOD, the more we shine. Modern medicine has pointed out the value of bringing a depressed person to a well-lit home, recognizing thus that the light helps heal the depression in a great measure. How much more will praise do, supplying us with the light of GOD and providing us his joy!
7. Praise: pathway to GOD's presence (Psa. 22:3,4)
Praise, although easy, reminds us of GOD's eternal presence and, therefore, edifies us.
Without a doubt, one of the most exciting and notable things about honest and sincere praise is taught here: praise will bring the presence of GOD. Although GOD is present everywhere, there is a unique manifestation of his dominion, which is revealed in a particular way in an atmosphere of praise. Here we find the remedy for those moments when we feel alone, abandoned or deprived. Praise! No matter how simple it may be, compose your song and testify of GOD's goodness in your life. The result: GOD will enter! His presence will live (will dwell) in our lives. The word "dwell" (from the Hebrew yawshab) means "settle down, remain, establish oneself, or make a home". That is, GOD does more than visit us when we praise him, his presence remains with us, and we establish a stronger relationship with Him each time. Let's permit this truth to make our faith and trust grow and free us from troubles, torment and satanic bondage. Note how the text simultaneously uses these three words: "praise", "hope" (KJV-trust) and "deliver".
8. The song of praise with understanding (Psa. 47:7)
When we sing praises with understanding (intellect, wisdom), we testify of GOD's love for us and of our love for GOD; others will thus be impacted by grace.
The word "intelligence" (from the Hebrew sakal, "prudent or careful, therefore, intelligent") is linked to wisdom and prosperity. In Proverbs 21:16 is speaks of the consequences of acting carelessly: "The man that wanders out of the way of understanding shall remain in the company of the dead". But when we sing praises with intelligence, we give testimony of GOD's love for us and our love for Him. The result will be life and not death. Others, when they hear us praise GOD, will hear the testimony of our salvation and our joyous relationship with GOD, which often will lead to their salvation.
9. Praise: the road to success (Psa. 50:22,23)
GOD is the focus of our praise, but we, ourselves, are the ultimate beneficiaries by receiving power to govern our life, conduct and thoughts.
This entire chapter speaks of the divine power, majesty and glory. They are summed up in these verses, which apply as much to us as to the Israelite people. If we leave GOD out of our lives, and live in rebellion, we can expect destruction. In contrast with this, we are presented the easy way to success: 1) Praise and glorify GOD. Praise is directed toward GOD, but in its wisdom we are the beneficiaries. 2) We receive power to govern our conduct; therefore, we adopt a lifestyle obedient to GOD. 3) The result: We receive revelation (understanding), that is, profound knowledge about divine salvation. Our praise becomes a vehicle for GOD to reach us and help us.
10. Praise brings blessings and satisfaction (Psa. 63:1-5)
Praise brings blessings that are filled with GOD's passion and desire.
This classic passage teaches how the expression of praise brings blessings. Notice that this isn't a silent prayer: "And with lips of joy my mouth will praise you". And we see its fruit: 1) "GOD, my GOD, you are mine" (the relationship with GOD is affirmed); 2) "In the morning I will seek you" (clear priorities); 3) "My soul thirsts for you...my flesh longs for you" (profound intensity); 4) "To see your power and your glory...I have seen you in your sanctuary" (desire to participate along with the community); 5) "Because your mercy is better than life; my lips will praise you" (appropriate gratitude); 6) The result: "As with marrow and fatness will my soul [my inner being] be satisfied" (the satisfaction of personal needs).
11. Creative praise remains lively (Psa. 71:14)
GOD wishes us to be creative in our praise and that we don't allow ourselves to routinely drag it behind us.
Here the psalmist makes a promise: "I will praise you more and more" The idea that is expressed here is very beautiful and says, "I will find fresh and new ways to express my praise toward GOD". This doesn't mean abandoning the old forms of worship, but rather that we should be creative in our praise to GOD, as He is in satisfying our needs. Therefore, we don't offer tribute to formal praise, which comes to be tedious, obtuse and a mere repetition of phrases. GOD wants us to be creative.
12. Teach praise to your children (Psa. 145:4)
We should constantly praise GOD and educate (through words, conduct and example) future praisers.
This verse emphasizes the importance of transmitting praise to GOD from one generation to the other. Praise should be taught to our children. The Bible encourages us to rear a generation of believers who praise. We mustn't merely "suppose" that children will believe is and desire GOD. We must be careful. What we possess of the divine blessing and revelation can be lost in a generation. We must praise GOD systematically, and also teach (through words and example) our children to do so that they and their children will do the same.
13. A powerful calling to praise (Psa. 150:1-6)
We are called to praise GOD for his miracles and the wonders of his creation.
The Psalms conclude with a powerful calling to praise the LORD. Some psalms constitute cries of desperation, others are filled with thanksgiving and some contain instructions, based on theology or in history, or "praising Jehovah" for his being, holiness, power or goodness. But the climax is reached with a mandate to praise. We should praise GOD 1) in his sanctuary, that is, in his earthly temple and through the universe that He has created; 2) for his powerful works and in accordance with his excellent greatness. Later follows a relation of instruments and forms of praise. This list isn't exhaustive, but demonstrates how creative our praise should be. Finally, in case a person feels little inclination to praise him, the instruction is clear: if you have the divine gift of life, you must praise him. Halleluyah!
14. The glorious mantle of praise (Is. 61:3)
The mantle of praise repels affliction and brings hope, warmth and protection.
The Hebrew root of "mantle" ('alah) suggests that praise isn't a piece of clothing for us to use only occasionally. We are invited, literally, to "clothe ourselves" or "cover ourselves", in such a way that there is no crack through which hostile elements can penetrate. This mantle of praise repels and replaces the spirit of sorrow. This message of encouragement and hope is directed to all those oppressed by doubt and fear. "Clothe yourself" with this mantle. A piece of winter clothing only protects us from the cold when we use it. Let us clothe ourselves with the mantle of praise in difficult moments! Do what the Word of GOD says!
15. Perfected praise brings power (Matt. 21:16)
Youths, influenced by the recognition of who Jesus might be, burst into great and wonderful praise.
In response to the critics that these powerful exclamations of praise aroused, Jesus cites Psalm 8:2 and reminds us of a great secret. Perfected praise will produce strength! It is powerful! At the same moment when the scribe and priests reject Jesus, these children show themselves captivated by the full significance of his person. On understanding that revelation about the LORD, one erupts into audible and powerful praise. How comforting this must have been for Jesus while he began his march to the cross!
16. Praise opens the prison doors (Acts 16:25,26)
Praise that's directed toward GOD opens the prison doors, converts man, saves the family and puts an end to satanic captivity.
Study this example about the power of praise, power that is given even in the midst of difficult circumstances. Whipped and incarcerated, Paul and Silas responded singing a hymn of praise, and song directly to GOD's heart. We cannot allow to go unnoticed the relationship between their hymns of praise to GOD and their supernatural deliverance through the occurrence of a strong earthquake. How beautiful it is that the praise that is offered directly to GOD can produce an earthquake that opens the doors of the prison! There were other good results: a man was converted to Christ, his family was saved, and Paul delivered a girl from a spirit of divination. In our days also, joyful praise to GOD will break the chains of oppression. When you are serving GOD, and things don't happen as planned, learn the lesson that this passage offers us. Praise triumphs gloriously!
17. Encourage each other in praise (Eph. 5:18,19)
Praise is magnified when we unite with another, and mutually encourages us; thus we should meet often and praise a lot.
This text instructs the believers to praise GOD when they talk among themselves. Paul tells the Ephesians to "speak to each other", using psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. By participating in a gathering of believers, even with a small offering of praise, our worship becomes magnified. Their voices encourage us and ours inspires them. Separation from the local assembly deprives a person of this relationship. Let's congregate often and praise, thus encouraging each other in praise.
18. Praise releases the spirit of prophecy (Heb. 2:11,12)
When the people praise, Jesus joins in the song and releases the spirit of prophecy.
These verses cite the Messianic prophecy of Psalm 22:22, and show how the Spirit of Christ fills the New Testament Church, and how Christ identifies himself intimately with his people when they lift up his praises. When such praise occurs, two important things take place: 1) He himself joins the song, and 2) this praise frees the spirit of prophecy. The second is in the words, "I will announce your name to my brothers". By singing joyful praises to our GOD, Christ comes and inundates our minds with the glory of the character of the Father ("name"). There is no doubt: the praises of the people in worship frees the spirit of prophetic revelation, and the magnification of GOD through Christ Jesus. And that is how praise serves for the edification, exhortation and consolation of the entire body.
19. The sacrifice of praise (Heb. 13:10-15)
Why does praising GOD constitute a sacrifice? The word "sacrifice" (Greek, thusia) comes from the root thuo, a verb that means "to kill for a purpose". Frequent praise requires that we "kill" our pride, fear, laziness or any thing that threatens to diminish or interfere with our worship of the LORD. We also discover here the foundation of all our praise: the sacrifice of our LORD Jesus Christ. It is for Him, in Him, with Him, to Him and for Him that we offer our sacrifice of praise to GOD. Praise will never be hindered by success, always will be directed toward Him, the Author and Finisher of our salvation. His cross, his blood, his love, the gift of life and forgiveness of our sins that he has given us, makes the praise that we give him constitute a living sacrifice!
20. Walk, worshipping GOD (I Pet. 2:9)
As a chosen generation, nation and priesthood, we proclaim his praise and spread his blessings over all the earth.
This verse not only speaks of praise, but also represents a basic revelation of the Bible: GOD wants a people who walk with Him in prayer, march with Him in praise, give thanks to Him and worship Him. Notice the progression in the description that Peter gives of the people of the new covenant: 1) We are a chosen lineage: a people commencing with the selection Jesus made of the Twelve, who became 120, to those thousands whom were added on Pentecost. We are part of this generation that constantly grows, "chosen" when we received Christ. 2) We are a royal priesthood. Under the old covenant, the priesthood and the royalty were separated. We are now, in the person of our LORD, "kings and priests for GOD" (Rev. 1:6), a host that worships and a royal priesthood, people prepared to walk with Him in full light, or to fight alongside Him against the armies of darkness. 3) We are a holy nation, composed of Jews and Gentiles, from every nation under heaven. 4) We are a people acquired by GOD, His chosen people. GOD's intention, from Abraham's time, has been to choose a people, to send them out with a special mission; that of proclaiming his praise and propagating his blessing to the length and breadth of the earth.
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