God Shows Up When We Praise Him
by Impact Church
But you are holy, O you that inhabit the praises of Israel. (NKJV) …
Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. (NLT)
If you have been a part of any vibrant, worshiping church for more than a week or two, you’ve probably heard the declaration that “God inhabits the praises of His people.” How many times at Impact Church have we felt the tangible presence of our wonderful Lord as we are exalting Him through our singing and proclaiming His truth!
Don’t be thrown off by the fact that the phrase found in Psalms 22:3 was penned by King David about a thousand years before Jesus was born. Or that the verse in virtually every translation reads “the praises of Israel.” While there is debate over using the term “spiritual Israel” to describe the Church instituted in the New Testament, there is no question what Paul meant when he wrote the Galatians: “And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.” (Gal. 3:29 – New Living Translation)
The message is clear. If God inhabits the praises of His people Israel, we can rest assured that He does the same for us who are the seed of Abraham, his heirs by faith! Our all-powerful God shows up and dwells among us when we lift our hands, our hearts and our voices in praise unto Him!
We at Impact Church have much to praise God for in the summer of 2014, don’t we? We’re making a difference in the lives of children with autism and their families through our summer camp, the upcoming Extravaganza and our weekly Impact Junior ministry. We’re reaching out to families in the community through our VBS on Fridays. We’re preparing to serve destitute people in the inner city of Los Angeles through our Dream Center trip only a few weeks away. And we’re still standing in awe of God’s favor in enlarging our borders here on Clifton Road! God has been good to us! He is so faithful!
If the truth is known, however, we as individuals may feel that we haven’t experienced the benefits of God’s blessings lately. Christians are not immune to sickness, job loss, relationship struggles or grief. We live in a fallen world, and we have our share of heartbreaks and setbacks, don’t we?
Most folks don’t think about the context of David’s declaration. The sweet Psalmist of Israel wasn’t having one of those serene, gently melodic, harp-stroking sessions with the Father on this day. On the contrary, the messianic Psalm 22 is a graphic picture of death by crucifixion centuries before the Romans perfected the torturous form of execution. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (v. 1) was David’s guttural cry long before Jesus uttered those words from the cross.
“O my God, I cry in the daytime, but you hear not; and in the night season, and am not silent” (v. 2). Have you ever been there? Have you had those dry seasons when you felt like God was nowhere to be found, that He had turned a deaf ear to your cries? David certainly knew the intimacy of communion with the Creator, but he also experienced times when even his own son tried to have him killed.
Many Bible translations of verse 3 say God is “enthroned on” our praises. The Japanese translation literally states that we build a big chair for God to sit on for a while as we exalt His name. Oh my, where is the “LOVE” button?!? Puny praise means a small chair for our great God to sit on,… powerful, joyful, raucous praise builds Him a giant throne to inhabit! Is He not worthy? Yes! Great and mighty is our God!!!
So whether the summer has found you on a mountaintop or in a personal valley, praise and worship is an act of your will. Rather than waiting to praise God “when things get better,” why not start today to build him the biggest chair you can imagine and invite Him to dwell in the praises of your lips! You don’t even have to wait until the weekend,…fill your house and your vehicle with His praises, and you will find that He hasn’t forsaken you after all!