Thursday, April 17, 2014

Praise and Worship is an invitation for God to come

There are 2 aspects to praise and worship:  One, we praise and worship God for who He is, and two, we praise and worship Him for what He has done for us.

We, for example, do NOT praise and worship Satan, although some people do(!), and the reason we don’t is because of who he, Satan, is.  We praise and worship God because of His character, and is good and unchanging character, and so, reliable and dependable.  We praise and worship God because of what He stands for (in fact, who He is), holiness.  This is apart from what He has or has NOT done for us, specifically, say, today, this week or this month. 

Because of who He is, we know already, He has done and is doing much in the “backdrops”, and what He did and is doing in such, were and are for our good.  It is absolutely right to say there is no day where God has NOT done good to me.  I woke up this morning, alive, God has sustained me; the sun is still in its place and shining, God has done good to me, even though, this good is also done for others, that the sun is still in its place and shining as before.  God has put the celestial bodies in their place, and that act of God is providing good to me, all the time. 

Many take such for granted, and they would NOT think they ought to be thankful to God, and so, won’t  praise and worship God (re Romans 1:19-21).   Some would NOT even notice it, if they have missed a heartbeat, so to speak; hopefully, something, and to different people, different thing, something/happening will make them sit up to the goodness of God. Some are so hardened of heart, I suppose, even when the sun drops from the sky, so to speak, they still don’t realise how God has been good to us, men, because of who He is.

David recognised the goodness of God towards us, men, can you? David’s psalm 8:3-4 -  When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?”

Oh, God, how we take for granted your quiet grace flowing out to us, all the time.

Next, we also give thank-giving praise and worship to God, for what He has specifically done in our lives.  Is it enough to have praised and worshiped Him for who He is or even for what He has done for us, generically (with other people also receiving along with us)?  The answer is no; NOT enough.  I give a simple illustration:

You have good parents, and I hope you have or have had (if you don’t, I pray you can learn to look to the Father God, for He is the perfect father; and He can be that perfect father to you, if you allow Him to).  Good parents being good, they of course, do all the base things, like they will provide you (FOC) good food, clothing and shelter, and if possible, education, and if they are believing parents, teach you and encourage you in the things of the faith.  When you were small, the breakfast was made ready waiting for you to eat; your school uniform ironed and ready for you to wear, before you go to school, and when you come back home, lunch or dinner were also provided for you.  These formed some of the “backdrops” of your life.  Many of us then, did NOT think very much about how good our parents have been.  Some of us might have even considered it natural of them, the parents, to do all of those backdrops, for that was what they were – good parents and good parents do those things-what!

The more appreciative ones amongst us, might have thanked our parents from time to time, for all the goodness they did in the “background things”.  But over and on top of these, there are many other things good parents do for their children, which their children ought to have noted and expressed their appreciation, too.  For example, I did this:

My kids (or even your kids or any school kid) were supposed to take care of this: to bring whatever books, files, homework or project work, etc, to school according to their school timetables.  One of my kids, repeatedly, forgotten to bring this and that, to school, and he would be punished for the oversight.  Some of the times, I would separately bring the stuff to school for him; that was really NOT what I was supposed to do; it was the kid’s reasonable duty to take care of that.  Shouldn’t he, my boy, be thankful for my coming to his aid for the specific problems he got himself into, which reasonably he ought NOT have gotten into?! 

The process of him realising he was NOT doing his part, and then asking for help, and then learning, albeit over multiple occasions, to be appreciative and thankful, did him good.  Especially, the last bit of it, the appreciation and thankfulness bit, when he repeatedly did that (for he repeated his mistakes), it NOT only showed his attitude (that he took NOT, his father for granted, after some time), it tenderised his heart (heart gets hardened when we numb our conscience) as he was before his father, and expressed his appreciation, each time. 

I am NOT God, and so, occasionally, I would tell him I could NOT make it (can be that particular time, the punishment would NOT be too serious for the boy; or it could be I really I had something very important to attend to).  That too, he soon learned to be appreciative.  Do you know that God, sometimes, does the same, although NOT for the reason that He cannot be omni-present (or that He cannot send his angel); only I am limited, God is NOT; but God does want us to appreciate there is such thing as our reasonable duty that we ought to learn to take care.

Thanking God, praising Him and worshiping Him for it, the “He gone out of His way to help you, specifically”, is important.  First, we need to understand that thanking, praising and worshiping, they are NOT blind, meaning you cannot say you express thanks when you thank nobody, you cannot say you praised and worshipped when you praised and worshipped nobody.  Who do you express thanks, praise and worship to?  If you are sincere, God will be right there, to receive your thanks, praise or worship. 

When our child wants to express thanks to us, parents, do you tell your child, “My boy, when you express your thanks, just face any tree you can find, and say it to the tree, or if you cannot find a tree, just say to the grass!”?  No; the same is with God, when you thank Him, praise Him and worship Him, it is NOT you are here, in this church hall, and God is light years away, in some corner of the universe, can’t see or hear you!  When your heart is right, He is right there in the room with you, to give ear to your expression. 

Nowadays, on the internet many interpretations are written for various verses in the Bible, and NOT surprising, Ps 22:3 is NOT spared.  But I will still say Ps 22:3 fits right in here.  And the version that fits it in, is the KJV: “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.

Some people, being legalistic, they would say, “If God has to inhabit the praises of God’s people, then we are bigger than God!” or “If God lives on the praises of His people, then God is here when we praise, AND God is NOT here when we do all of the other stuff, like praying, etc”.  Some even suggested that mutual exclusivity of verses implied this cannot be translation, that God inhabits the praises of people, arguing that Scripture has this verse of, when 2 or 3 are gathered in His name, God will be in their midst, with no praise mentioned in this “gathering” verse!  Or another said, “If God inhabits the praises of the people, we could manipulate God!”

To me, what David was trying to express was that despite, he then, NOT seeing the hand of God for him (Ps 22:1-2) (NOT yet), God was righteous (I use a lesser word to holy, just to make it easier to understand), and God was always being praised (or thankfully praised) (by the Israelites, the people of God).  Was David saying God was present, “evidenced” by the praises of the people?  Yes.  The Tabernacle and the Temple with presence of God in the Tabernacle or Temple, it primed people to have that understanding, and David was with that understanding, and David came up with the Tabernacle of Praise.  What do you think motivated David to set up the Tabernacle of Praise; I say, it is because he understood God inhabits the praises of the people.  And where God is truly enthroned, there is bound to be praises as an element of His glory (I explain this a little further down this article).

Now if I eat plain bread always (like for every meal), it is either I love plain bread, like it so much, that when you say there is plain bread, I would come to devour it, or I really don’t like it, but it is about the cheapest stuff I can afford, so, I eat it so very often!  Now, God is NOT me, the latter (reason) cannot be the case for God; if He doesn’t like, He does NOT need to eat it, does He?!  Of course, NOT.  It (His inhabiting the praises) is because God loves it, the praises.  If He does NOT like it, He can, NOT eat it, silly; He is God! 

We just had Palm Sunday (and Easter is coming).  In the first Palm Sunday (Luke 19:37-40), when Jesus was entering Jerusalem, and when multitudes and Jesus’ disciples praised God, some Pharisees told Jesus to stop His disciples.  Jesus answered, “"I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out."

Jesus said the very stones would praise God.  In other words, God wants the praises; if there was no praise, God would make the stones praise Him. 

True praises speak of who God is.  This scene was an “enthroning” scene.  Where God is truly enthroned, who He is, just necessarily “occupies” or “fills” the place or atmosphere.  The same was shown us of the throne in Heaven.  But before we look there, I remind that when Jesus first came, was born, there was praise; Luke 2:13 – “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

In the Book of Revelation, God was shown enthroned, and praise was in the air – the 4 heavenly creatures (although NOT stones) were praising God, 24/7 (day and night).  Praises and worship of Him show who God is; where He is truly enthroned, there you will find praise and worship.  It is so wrong to insinuate we, men, are bigger, because God “needs” us to praise Him, or that we could manipulate God!  So very silly, God “needs” you to share the Gospel or do the Great Commission, you are bigger than God; you can manipulate God?

An acceptable way of viewing praise and worship is that it is part of or an element of His manifold glory.  Scripture speaks about us to ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name.  How do we do that?  Ps 29:2 gives us one important way – “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.  It is part of God’s glory, if you don’t give it, He may make the creatures or even the stones, to cry out the praise and worship.  So, it is right and proper for us, and we should do it, to ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name, whenever there has been a specific works God done for us, and the way we do that includes giving thanksgiving praise.

What we are to go away with, on this (this revelation on “God inhabits the praises and worship”), is: Where God is enthroned, praises and worship will most likely to be present, as a manifest of His glory; and when there are praises and worship done in spirit and in truth, God is most likely to come there.  We don’t manipulate Him (and don’t do that, please); we invite Him to come to take the seat of highest honor in the house, so to speak, with our praise and worship, and He will come.

Bro Anthony, can you give us a precise example from Scripture where praise and worship was employed to usher the coming of God, and God came and acted in favour? Yes, I can:

There was a time when Judah, under King Jehoshaphat, was about to be invaded by a vast army made up of men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir; and the King was at a loss of how they could defeat the enemy.  The King and the Israelites went before God, and a prophet received the assurance that God would be on their side and that they should NOT be afraid to face the enemy, the next day. 2 Chronicles 20:21-22 reads,

“21 After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever.” 22 As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.”

Have you heard it said, praise and worship is for our good? Why praise and worship is for our good!  One angle to look at this, is: Because He is invited, and when He comes, who He is, is here.  One manifest of who He is, we have talked about, is praise and worship is present when He is present (praise and worship itself can be spirit-lifting for those present; that too, is a reason why I praise and worship God like there is no tomorrow, in church services; blessing to the body); other elements of who He is, are likely to manifest, too, and it will be good and goodness to us. 

If you cannot picture it (how it can only be good to us), picture the horrible Satan gate-crashes your party; what would happen.  Now, think about God is here, in your party. 

Now, if you still cannot get the picture, think of yourselves as children having family time with our parents; what would the loving parents do? Their love manifest forth.  The mother will go to the kitchen and see if she could come up with some food and drinks.  Dad may say, “Son, I remembered you wanted this nice backpack that you could use to go mountain-climbing.  Here, I did get it for you.  I thought I will give it to you sometime, but well, you can have it now!” When God is here, who He is manifests; His glory manifests, His holiness manifests, His love manifests, His goodness manifest, His grace and mercy manifests.  How can you be in all of these, brought on, because God is here, because you have invited Him by your praise and worship, when the sweet aroma of it reaches Him, but will NOT be touched by God, if you allow Him to; and that (allowing) must include allowing God to “do to us” what He considers best for us.  The good parents, when they know how certain food is NOT good for you, they would bring out, none, to you, for they stock none of it, in the fridge!  Only good can come to you when you truly praise and worship Him, the good God, because He comes.

You want God to come; you invite Him, by praising and worshiping Him.  You don’t manipulate Him; rather you give Him the seat of highest honor.  And you wait upon Him, and you can petition consistent to His will.

Anthony Chia, high.expression - Lord, I learn, even as I pen this article.  Thank you, Lord. Amen.

Comments are welcome here. Alternatively, email them to me @: Or just email me your email address so that I can put you on my blog (new entry) notification list. To go back to blog main page, click here

No comments:

Post a Comment

I welcome comments.