Praise!; July 2, 2019

Deuteronomy 10:21 He is your praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes.

The first phrase in this verse jumps out at me: “He is your praise.” In Japanese it says, “The Lord is your praise,” explicitly using the term that is used to apply to singing to God. That brings to mind the famous line from Psalm 22:3, “Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel.[enthroned on the praises of Israel]” The King James says, “inhabits the praises of Israel.” Something very special happens when we praise God. It can’t really be explained in human terms, but when our hearts are turned to Him in praise, omnipresent God manifests Himself in a special way. I think that’s why Moses said what he did. If you want to encounter God, try praising Him from your heart! Just going through the motions doesn’t do much good, but conversely, failing to praise God because “you don’t feel like it” is self-defeating. It is interestingly true that choosing to praise God, especially when you don’t feel like it, can really change your attitude and draw you close to Him. The devil will try to discourage that, telling you it’s hypocritical, but it works. Many people have discovered that reading through some of the Psalms can be powerful indeed, especially when you are depressed or lonely or afraid or in any of a number of negative states. As I tell people frequently, being self-centered never leads to peace and happiness because it blinds us to our Creator who loves us. Conversely, praising Him changes our focus to Him and opens us up to all that He has for us on every level.

This is something I really started understanding after I was exposed to the Charismatic Movement in 1973. I’ve always loved to sing, and particularly to sing to God, but I hadn’t understood the mechanism of it all before that. Since then, I couldn’t begin to count how many times I’ve “sung myself out of a slump,” so to speak. My wife and others who have been to heaven report that everything there, even the grass and trees, sings praise to God. That’s really something to look forward to! I am greatly blessed from having been raised in a musical family, but others haven’t had that experience. I’ve read that true tone deafness, being physically unable to distinguish between different frequencies, is an extremely rare phenomenon. However, environment has a very great influence. We once had a young man (an American) ask, “How do you make your voice go up and down like that?” He was certainly not tone deaf, but he had no idea how to sing. That was sad! It is my experience that there are many musical styles, and virtually all of them can be used to praise God. (There may be exceptions!) As I try to encourage the people in this congregation, the important thing is heart focus. Beautiful performances can be completely sterile. As the song says, “I love You, Lord, and I lift my voice.” When we sing out of faith and love for God, He manifests Himself for our blessing and His glory.

Father, thank You for this reminder. It’s something I practice constantly, but something I want to be more effective in leading others into. I ask for Your wisdom and anointing so that we may be a praising people indeed, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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