I don’t remember a time that I wasn’t either singing or playing an instrument. And although I’ve sang and played a variety of music genres and instruments, at the center of my repertoire….at the center of my very being…is praise. I’ve made it through some of the hardest times in my life with praise! We live in tenuous times. Financially and politically, we as a nation, and as a church, are going through some of the hardest times many of us have seen in this country. Our tendency is to talk about it, gather at Starbuck’s and commiserate with our friends while we hash and rehash the problems over and over, but what does that accomplish? What should we do instead?
I want you to know that when the going gets tough, the tough start praising! God ordained praise to help us overcome the challenges and obstacles that our enemy Satan, who goes about like a roaring lion, puts in our way everyday. It doesn’t matter which form your praise takes, as long as you are worshipping in spirit and truth. Praise can be sung, played, shouted and danced as we see throughout the Old and New Testament.
Where Did Praise Begin?
The Bible indicates in Ezekiel 28 that Lucifer, or Satan, was the chief musician of Heaven before he became jealous of God and aspired to be like Him. In verse 14, we are told that his “timbrels and pipes” were set in gold and created in his very workmanship, or being, on the day God created him. Imagine how beautiful Lucifer must have been! A timbrel is a tambourine and a pipe is a flute or woodwind instrument. Music was not something Lucifer created with an external instrument – he WAS the instrument! Apparently, he had the ability to make orchestral sounds within himself, and his body was at least partly made of gold. But Lucifer despised God and wanted to take his place, so he was cast to the earth because of his war against God. And when he hit the earth, a fire came out of Lucifer and consumed his beautiful form to ash, taking away the music that was meant from the beginning to glorify God.
Worship Overcomes the Enemy
How fitting it is then, that God uses worship music to overcome the enemy! His word teaches us that when we praise, He sets ambushes against the enemy. (II Chronicles 20:22.) It also tells us that God inhabits, or dwells, in the praises of his people. (Psalm 22:3) Now we already know that if God is for us, no one can be against us! So when we praise, we are inhabited by God himself, and the enemy doesn’t stand a chance.
When we praise God, He comes to our rescue!
Paul and Silas
Consider the story of Paul and Silas in prison. (Acts 16:16-25.) The two men had been beaten and abused for their ministry, then chained and thrown in prison. Verse 25 says that at about midnight they were praying and singing hymns to God, when an earthquake caused their chains to fall and the doors to swing open. Not only were they freed, but ALL the prisoners were freed, and the jailer and his family accepted Christ because of this act. At a time when most people would be singing Poor Poor Pitiful Me, these two men of God were praising, and God defeated the enemy’s plan in that moment! And not only did their praise affect their own circumstances, it brought freedom to those around them.
It Can Work for You!
Be assured that no matter how big the wall in your life is, no matter how tight the prison door is locked or the chains are wrapped around you, God inhabits your praise. God ascends to His throne amid your shouts of joy, and he sets ambushes for your enemy. If you have a heavy heart, or you’re facing obstacles you don’t feel you’ll ever overcome, I want you to have hope. GOD wants you to have hope! Worship God with all your heart. Throw your hands up in the air and shout your hallelujahs. Don’t look at the circumstance, but look at the Deliverer and thank him for his soon-coming rescue! Sing songs of praise and let faith rise up in you. Trust God that, just as he did with Paul and Silas, he will deliver you from your chains, too!