Matthew 21:16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.
“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,
“‘From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise’ ?”
This is a verse that was used extensively in the early days of the Charismatic Movement to justify and promote energetic praise music, which seemed “unseemly” to many traditional Christians. Today such music is found in probably the majority of churches, including some that seemingly pay no attention to what they are singing! Likewise, there are “praise” songs that are man-centered, rather than God-centered, and thus are largely a waste of time, unless they actively encourage believers to be more obedient to Christ. Psalm 8:2, which Jesus quotes here, can also be translated “you have ordained strength.” It is undeniable that actively praising God strengthens believers, but it’s much deeper than that. Genuine praise and worship not only proclaim but establish the rule and reign, that is the kingdom, of God. Worship in spirit and in truth is powerful spiritual warfare! It isn’t a cure-all – Jesus went through scourging and crucifixion after this – but it is more powerful than most people realize. Today many are trying to deny the authority of Christ and the Bible, just as the priests and the teachers of the law were here, but genuine believers need to stand strong and praise God, even when we can’t see how He’s going to resolve whatever situation we’re in. The recent court victory in Finland is a good case in point, where a bishop and a national politician were attacked for stating the truth of Scripture in relation to sex and gender, and were in danger of prison terms for it. That was just a skirmish in the battle that is currently raging. We have got to keep our eyes on Jesus and use all of the armor and weapons He provides, to see His victory in His time for His glory.
This certainly applies to me! All the time, but particularly when I recognize I am under attack, I need to be intentional and heartfelt in praising God. Even when my emotions are in the dumps, I need to choose to praise God. That’s not hypocrisy, it’s faith. I need to remember that God is infinitely greater than my circumstances, however those circumstances might appear to me, and praise Him for His greatness and His love. If I will do that, I will experience His victory that He has provided for me, for His glory.
Father, keep me from just saying the right things and failing to put them into practice. Help me live out Your truth that You have placed in me, so that the lies of the enemy may be destroyed and many be set free, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!