PRAISE AND WORSHIP DYNAMICS©
Praising God is not a very complex concept in the Word of God, although it is hard for many a believer to accept. Praise has a simple meaning that I'm sure you will find in most any dictionary. It means to express admiration; to honor or exalt someone. Praising God is simply an expression of our love and adoration for God, yet there's a thought of reservation in the minds of some that says "we do not need to praise God" and "why should we praise God?"
We must come to realize that God is our Creator and we are His creation. Satan did not want to accept this thought, and because he wanted the praises of God and exalted himself, he fell. Isaiah 14:12, "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High," and Genesis 3:4-5, "And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." Satan has sown his seed into the minds of men and now mankind in general, does not want to give glory to the Creator of the Universe.
Yet praise, in its simplest form, is used daily by every human being on the face of the earth, whether to praise one's self or others. Whenever you recognize a deed well done by anyone and compliment them in any way, you have given them praise.
If one is willing to raise their level of consciousness or awareness, they would find that God is doing something every second, of every minute, of every hour, of every day, not only in their life, but in the lives of people all over the world. One need only to look at the universe and the vastness of God's creation; from the giant quasars in the distant space billions of light years away, down to the atom, both invisible to the naked eye.
The only reason that one need know in order to praise the Living God is simply this... that we are His creation and He is our Creator. He is greater than us beyond our comprehension or understanding! If the born again believer is to accept the concept and practice of praising God and giving Him glory, it must begin with humility and faith; the humility it takes to allow one's self to believe that God is greater than their understanding will allow them to see, and the faith that it takes to act on it. One day all of creation will see as the Word of God declares that, "Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord," and this will be to the glory of God. Even the devil himself will have to say, "Jesus Christ is the Lord." Romans 14:11, "For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God," and Philippians 2:10-11, "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Satan is a creature of pride and he has sown his seed of pride into mankind. If you seek to find what it is that holds one back from praising God, you'll most always find pride at the heart of the problem. It is the nature of fallen man to praise himself and be reluctant to praise his Creator. We can look all around us and see forms of praise and adoration being released throughout the world. When we do, we will find that it is directed largely toward mankind itself; whether in the 100,000 seat capacity football games, television shows, rock concerts, fashion shows, the unveiling of the latest model cars, the dedication of a new super-structure, etc., man is always ready to give himself praise!
In examining praise in the scriptures, you will find that it is something done more often audibly than silently. This helps us to by-pass the capsule of our flesh, releasing the human spirit. Paul said in Hebrews 13:15 for us to, "Offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name." Notice he did not say "the fruit of our thoughts," although it is assumed the thoughts are to coincide with the fruit coming from our lips. Jesus, when replying to the Pharisees who told Him to silence the crowd that was praising Him said, "If these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out," Luke 19:40. If we don't learn to praise God, someone or something is going to take our place.
It is ultimately the devil who cannot stand to hear God's people praising the Living God, as he wanted to "ascend above the heights of the clouds and be like the most High," Isaiah 14:14, and desires to be the god of this world. 2 Corinthians 4:4, "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." Considering that our carnal mind is at enmity with God, Romans 8:7, "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be," and susceptible to the nature of the enemy, it is good to bring one's body into subjection to one's spirit and express praise from the spirit openly. 1 Corinthians 9:27, "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." It is either the sophisticated, self-fulfilled individual or one who lacks an under-standing of praise that will have a struggle with praising God audibly and openly with God's people. In praising God, one must divest themselves of egotistic, self-centered reservation. In doing so, the sweet savor of the Spirit of God is released from our inner man.
The best way to overcome any inhibitions concerning praise is to learn as much as you can from God's word about it, thereby germinating and generating faith and enthusiasm that will overcome those inhibitions. Therefore, let us examine the Hebrew words for praise contained in the book of Psalms. By examining these words, you will broaden your understanding and perception of praise and, in turn, develop faith, resulting in confidence in the area of praise. The first word is:
YADAH(pronounced yaw-daw) - To revere in worship using the hands as if to throw away from one's self praises toward God (the idea would be to aim or focus one's praises toward God as if aiming at a target).
Commentary: We find this word translated into the word "praise" in Psalms 7:17. "I will praise (yadah) the Lord according to His righteousness: and will sing praise (zamar) to the name of the Lord Most High." Other examples of this word are found in Psalms 42:5, "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise (yadah) him for the help of his countenance," Psalms 138:2, "I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise (yadah) thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name," and Isaiah 12:1-4, "And in that day thou shalt say, O Lord, I will praise (yadah) thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. And in that day shall ye say, Praise (yadah) the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted."
The idea is to visualize ones praises ascending toward God; the hands being that point from which our praises are released. We find the hands used frequently in this manner throughout the world in conjunction with praise and admiration.
In athletic events and diverse festive gatherings, etc., people will often raise, wave, or applaud with the hands as an expression of admiration and joy. How much more so should we, as born again believers, use our hands unashamedly to praise the Living God? Paul says in 1 Timothy 2:8, "I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting." In other words, don't allow yourself to be angry or doubtful as a result of things not working your way, thereby inhibiting worship.
Realize that God has His timing and continue praising Him for the answer. Galatians 4:4, "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law." Praise Him in full confidence and faith that He is worthy to receive the praise and glory that is due Him by us.
ZAMAR(pronounced zaw-mar) - To strike with fingers a musical instrument accompanied by a vocalized celebration of praise. To celebrate in song or music; to give praise with instruments and voice.
Commentary: It is translated into the word "praise" in Psalms 21:13. "Be thou exalted, Lord, in thine own strength: so will we sing and praise (zamar) thy power." It is also found in Psalms 57:7, "My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise (zamar)," Psalms 108:1, "O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise (zamar), even with my glory," and Psalms 138:1, "I will praise (yadah) thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise (zamar) unto thee." All of these verses of scripture involve instrumental accompaniment. In Ephesians 5:18-19, "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord." Paul is exhorting us to speak to ourselves by singing, to make melody in our hearts unto the Lord, the result being that we will be filled with the Holy Spirit of God because of our communion with Him.
The word zamar implies that instrumentation be used in accompaniment with singing. This could be accomplished in several ways. When we gather together as a congregation in our local assembly of believers, if instruments are being used and we sing, we are fulfilling this word. If we utilize taped accompaniments in our homes on cassette tapes, instrumentation is being utilized and we may sing along with the tape.
It is worthwhile for a believer to learn an instrument in their spare time and in private moments or with gatherings to play their instruments and sing praise.
Note: If you have a problem singing in a congregational setting because of inhibitions rooted in the thought that you are unable to sing, direct all singing toward God and try not to feel conscious of those around you. If it is hard for you to sing properly, that is to sing on key, you may wish to practice singing in your car while driving or in your home singing along with taped music. The placement of earplugs or cotton in the ears will help one to hear themselves sing and increase the accuracy of their pitch. If this does not seem to help, one may want to seek moderate tutoring in the areas of singing.
HALAL(pronounced haw-lal) - To be clear or to shine, hence to make a show or boast and thus be clamorously foolish. To rave, celebrate and stultify. It pertains more to the color of praise rather than the sound of praise. In other words, the shining expressiveness of one's self.
Commentary:It is translated into the word "praise" in Psalms 22:22. "I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise (halal) thee." It is also found in Psalms 35:18, "I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise (halal) thee among much people," Psalms 63:5, "My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise (halal) thee with joyful lips," and Psalms 107:32, "Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise (halal) him in the assembly of the elders."
Notice in Psalms 22:22 that the psalmist is saying to praise the Lord with halal in the congregation. Praising God exuberantly in the congregation will many times stun or shock others around us not so inclined. But when one is filled with exceeding great joy from the Holy Spirit, Peter says it is joy unspeakable and full of glory. 1 Peter 1:8, "Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory."
Many times while worshipping God and drawing nigh unto Him, believers will be filled with the Holy Spirit to the point where it cannot be contained and great enthusiasm will be released in the form of praise unto God.
This is not something new that we should be surprised at the thought of, that is, to be rejoicing in a clamorous and enthusiastic manner before the Lord with praise. All you have to do is tune in to one of the prime time game shows and watch the response when people win thousands of dollars or view the reaction of people at various athletic events when their team wins. You may have seen a video clip of a rock concert. The reactions and reasons for them are usually absurd yet these same people may find it absurd to worship God exuberantly.
All of these things are rooted in man's strong desire to rejoice and be happy and one may not have to look too far to see this kind of expression going on in the world today. Some of it is healthy and some is unacceptable.
If people are willing to shine forth in the aforementioned settings, how much more so before the Living God? God has designated this to us that we might rejoice before Him and be filled with His glory.
TEHILLAH(pronounced teh-hil-law) - This word is rooted in the word we just examined, halal. It means to praise or commend in the form of a hymn. Being that it is rooted in the word halal, we would conclude that an enthusiastic form of singing is implied.
Commentary:It has been translated into the word "praise" in Psalms 9:14. "That I may shew forth all thy praise (tehillah) in the gates of the daughter of Zion: I will rejoice in thy salvation." It is also found in Psalms 22:25, "My praise (tehillah) shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him," Psalms 71:6, "By thee have I been holden up from the womb: thou art he that took me out of my mother's bowels: my praise (tehillah) shall be continually of thee," and Psalms 106:2,"Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? who can shew forth all his praise (tehillah)."
We see through the understanding of this word (considering that it is rooted in the word halal), that we are to sing unto God with a great deal of enthusiasm and very expressively.
When coupled together with the next Hebrew word for praise, it produces an exciting atmosphere for worship!
TOWDAH(pronounced to-daw) - It is rooted in the word yadah and it means to extend the hands in approval or adoration, specifically in a choir of worshippers.
Commentary: It is translated into the word "praise" in Psalms 42:4. "When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise (towdah), with a multitude that kept holyday."
You will also find it in Psalms 50:23, "Whoso offereth praise (towdah) glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God," and Jeremiah 17:26, "And they shall come from the cities of Judah, and from the places about Jerusalem, and from the land of Benjamin, and from the plain, and from the mountains, and from the south, bringing burnt offerings, and sacrifices, and meat offerings, and incense, and bringing sacrifices of praise (towdah), unto the house of the Lord."
From this we can visualize a congregational or choir setting wherein the people involved are lifting their hands and singing aloud unto the Lord expressing their love for God. It is no wonder why the world, in general, enjoys going to musical concerts of different sorts to feel the warmth of music and the power there is in music to hopefully capture a glimpse of fulfillment through these worldly gatherings.
We, as believers, have the highest form of musical gatherings when we come together to sing praises to our Lord and King.
SHABACH(pronounced shaw-bakh) - This word is a Hebrew root word and properly means to address in a loud tone, specifically loud and figuratively to pacify.
Commentary:It is translated into the word "praise" in Psalms 63:3,"Because thy loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise (shabach) thee." It is also found in Psalms 117:1, "O praise (halal) the Lord, all ye nations: praise (shabach) him, all ye people,"
Psalms 145:4, "One generation shall praise (shabach) thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts," and Psalms 147:12, "Praise (shabach) the Lord, O Jerusalem; praise (halal) thy God, O Zion."
Loudis the word we should note in the meaning of this word for praise. It is not always necessary for one to praise the Lord loudly but on the other hand, it is not always proper to praise quietly. Perhaps understanding the need to praise loudly sheds light upon the reason why people, at a time of great excitement or release of energy, will make loud vocal exclamatory sighs or remarks, during an athletic feat, magnificent sunrise, or a cosmic wonder. If creation in all it's grandeur induces such praise, how much more the Creator?
Note: The scripture references given to each Hebrew word mentioned do not constitute the total number of scriptures wherein these words are used.
Since praising God brings us into communion with God, it also causes us to become a channel or conduit of His power. If one will learn how to praise God on a regular basis, they are sure to experience this power in their lives. An atmosphere of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit is sure to fill, surround, and emanate from the believer who maintains an attitude and practice of praising God in their lives. Oppression or heaviness of heart is sure to be driven away. Dark clouds of confusion and despair are likewise unable to remain where the power of God is present. Isaiah 61:3, "To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise (tehillah) for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified."
We can find examples of Israel winning tremendous battles as a result of praise preluding the battle, when they thought the opposition was overwhelming. King David, who is considered to be the most victorious and triumphant king that Israel ever had, until Christ, praised God continually throughout his life. This is evident in many of the psalms that he wrote.
When we sing and praise in the midst of opposition, we are signifying that we are not in agreement with the situation we're in. By that I mean we are not allowing the environment to affect us when it is not in harmony with God's Word, but rather as we praise God, we are proclaiming victory through Jesus Christ. This opens a channel through our faith for the power of God to be released and turn an impossible situation completely around.
In Acts, Chapter 16, Paul and Silas were thrown into jail and chained. Rather than becoming depressed with their situation and blame God for it, they began to sing hymns, praise and worship God! I'm sure that those jailed with them thought them to be quite insane until they experienced the earthquake and their subsequent release from their chains and bands, verses 25-26, "And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed."
The jailer himself knew that he needed to be saved. No one had to tell him. He realized the power of God had visited that little jail and he cried, "What must I do to be saved?"
Praising God in the midst of opposition or tribulation is sure to result in some kind of deliverance. The key is to by-pass what we see and feel in the natural world and enter into praise.
PRAISE AND WORSHIP DYNAMICS
Question and Answer Section
Q. If one does not feel like praising God, should he or she do it anyway?
A. Praise is something that one must learn to do by faith and not by feelings. It will always be in your heart to praise the Lord if Christ is in your heart. Many times our spirit is ready and our flesh is weak. Mark 14:38, "Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak." If you sense weakness concerning praise, it may be that you need to bring your body under subjection and praise God by faith even though you do not feel like it. 1 Corinthians 9:27, "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection."
Q. Will praising God make God more pleased with me?
A. No, faith in the blood of Christ is what puts you in right standing with God. Praises are an expression of appreciation for the right standing that we enjoy as a result of our faith in the work of Christ. Of course God enjoys our communion with Him and inhabits our praise. Psalms 22:3, "But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel," but His favor toward us is based on faith in the blood of Christ. Romans, 3:25, "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God."
Q. Should one praise God when he or she does not want to?
A. In the Old Testament, God said, "This people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me," Isaiah 29:13. If you do not want to praise God, then you should search your heart as to the reasons why. The psalmist says, "I will praise the Lord according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the Lord most high," Psalms 7:17. Not feeling like praising God and not wanting to are two different things and one must differentiate between the two. You may have disappointment in your heart toward God that you need to deal with. Keep in mind that God is good, Psalms 73:1, "Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart," and He does not put evil on His children. James 1:13, "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man."
Q. How can one overcome their inhibitions concerning praise?
A. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen," Hebrews 11:1. One must step out in faith to praise God, whom they cannot perceive with physical senses. Through faith, we can see God with our spirit and let go of our inhibitions to praise Him!
Q. Why does God want us to praise Him?
A. Praise is an expression of our love for God; therefore, the answer to this question may be the question - Why do you need and want love and praise from others? Remember, you were created in His image and likeness. God loves us and has given us a very simple way in which to express our love and respect for Him. In addition, He desires that we partake of His benefits. Praising God for them is a means through which we can tap into them.
Q. Who do we praise when we are praising God? The Father, Son or Holy Spirit?
A. The Lord our God is one God, 1 John 5:7, "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one," and when we express praise to any person of the Godhead, we are expressing our love to God as one. Therefore, one may feel inspired to express praise to the Father, to Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit at different given moments in their times of praise. We see examples of this in the following scriptures:
2 Peter 3:18, "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen."
Hebrews 13:21, "Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."
Galatians 1:3-5, "Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."
Philippians 2:11, "And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
John 4:24, "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."
Romans 15:11, "And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people."
PRAISE AND WORSHIP DYNAMICS
1. Praising God is simply an expression of our love and _____________________ for God.
2. We must come to realize that God is our Creator and we are His ___________________.
3. If the born again believer is to accept the thought of praising God and giving Him glory, it must begin with _______________ and ____________________.
4. One day, every knee shall _____________ and every tongue _____________ that Jesus Christ is Lord.
5. Satan has sown his seed of _____________________________ into mankind.
6. If you ever wonder what it is that holds one back from praising God, you'll always find ________________________________ at the heart of the problem.
7. It is the nature of fallen man to praise _____________________ and not his Creator.
8. In the scriptures, we'll find that ______________________ praise is emphasized more than silent praise.
9. Paul said to offer a sacrifice of praise which is the ___________________________ of our lips.
10. Jesus said, "If these should hold their peace, the very _____________________ would immediately cry out".
11. It is ultimately the ____________________ who cannot stand to hear God's people praising the Living God.
12. It is good to bring the body into ____________________ to one's spirit and express praise openly to God.
13. In praising God, one must divest himself of ________________________________________________ reservations.
14. The best way to overcome any _____________________ concerning praise is to learn as much as you can from God's word about it.
15. The word _________________________ means to revere in worship using the hands as if to throw praises to God and helps us to visualize our praises ascending to God.
16. The word __________________________ means to strike with the fingers a musical instrument accompanied by a musical celebration of praise.
17. The Hebrew word that defines the kind of praise that causes one to shine, to make a show or boast and celebrate is _______________________________________________.
18. "Tehillah" means to praise or commend in the form of a _____________________ and is rooted in the word Halal.
19. Rooted in the word "Yadah", _______________________ means to extend the hands in approval or adoration; specifically in a choir of worshippers.
20. "Shabach" is a Hebrew root word and properly means to address in a ______________________tone.
21. Praising God is something we must do by ____________________ and not by feelings.
22. Jesus said concerning prayer, "The spirit is willing but the ________________________ is weak." The same can be said for praise; being it is in the same vain.
23. Through praise, oppression or heaviness of heart is sure to be ______________________ away!
24. Paul and Silas, rather than becoming ______________________ with their situation, praised God instead.
© 2003, Rev R. Johnson
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