Growing Up In Praise – Allow me to begin by asking you a series of questions just to make you think. Should mature believers praise God the way the Bible instructs them to praise God? Do mature believers praise God in the bad times as well as the good times? Do mature believers desire other believers to praise God? Why? Why is it important to me that you praise God? Why is it important to God you praise God? So, there must be some reason(s) he wants us to GROW UP IN PRAISE.
by Pastor Delbert Young
Growing Up in Praise
Growing Up in Praise
Scriptures: Hebrews 5:12, Psalms 47:7, Psalms 18:3, Psalms 18:14, Psalms 18:16-17, Psalms 47:1, Psalms 63:4, Psalms 150:4, 2 Chronicles 20:19, 1 Chronicles 25:1, 2 Chronicles 20:21-22, 2 Chronicles 20:25
We have begun a new series titled GROWING UP.
Hebrews 5:12 IN FACT, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an INFANT, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the MATURE, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and GO ON TO MATURITY…
A fact is that many (most) Christ followers never GO ON TO MATURITY. These Hebrew believers were suffering from Arrested Development syndrome at the elementary level. IN FACT, they acted as INFANTS and could not ingest the SOLID FOOD of GOD’S WORD, which would take them on to RIGHTEOUSNESS and the best life they could possibly experience. God desires we TRAIN ourselves and GO ON TO MATURITY. That is what our series is about. We are looking at some things that mature Christ followers do and comparing ourselves to see where we individually and corporately posture.
Last time we talked about Growing Up in Giving. We saw that a major problem that believers have in maturing with their finances is allowing their minds to control their giving and not their hearts. Today I want to talk about GROWING UP IN PRAISE. Allow me to begin by asking you a series of questions just to make you think. Should mature believers praise God the way the Bible instructs them to praise God? Do mature believers praise God in the bad times as well as the good times? Do mature believers desire other believers to praise God? Why? Why is it important to me that you praise God? Why is it important to God that you praise God? Does he need it for some ego trip? Of course not! So, there must be some reason(s) that he wants us to GROW UP IN PRAISE. Let’s take a look.
PRAISE IS TO BE GIVEN WITH UNDERSTANDING.
KJV Psalms 47:7 For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises WITH UNDERSTANDING.
TLB Psalms 47:7 Yes, sing your highest praises to our King, the King of all the earth. Sing THOUGHTFUL PRAISES!
NAS Psalms 47:7 For God is the King of all the earth; Sing praises with a SKILLFUL PSALM.
The Bible teaches us in Psalm 47:7 to praise the Lord WITH UNDERSTANDING (KJV) and to sing SKILLFUL (NAS) THOUGHTFUL PRAISE (TLB). The Hebrew word translated understanding in the KJV is sakal (Strong’s #7919) meaning to be circumspect [careful and calculating] and hence intelligent. Our praise to God should be with careful calculating thought and with intelligence. My point is that mature believers praise God with skill, understanding, thought, and intelligence (KJV).
How many people actually enter a praise service with any thought at all or any understanding of what is happening? What is there to understand about praise? What intelligence could be possibly involved in praise?
There are ten different Hebrew/Aramaic words (Old Testament) translated as our one English word praise in the King James’ Version:
(1) halal – (92 times) – make a show, to rave
(2) yadah – (52 times) – to use the hand
(3) tehillah – (51 times) – laudation, hymn
(4) zamar – (4 times) – to celebrate, song and music
(5) shabach – (4 times) – address in a loud tone
(6) towdah – (4 times) – an extension of the hand
(7) shebach – (2 times) – to adore
(8) barak – (1 time) – to kneel
(9) hilluwl – (1 time) – celebration
(10) mahalal – (1 time) – fame
In addition, there are seven different Greek (New Testament) words translated as praise.
(1) epainos – (11 times) – high praise, commendation
(2) doxa – (4 times) – give glory
(3) epaineo – (4 times) – to applaud
(4) aineo – (3 times) – to praise
(5) ainos – (2 times) – a story
(6) ainesis – (1 time) – the act of praising, thanking
(7) humneo – (1 time) – to hymn, celebrate in song
That totals seventeen different words translated as our one English word praise. We learn by studying these seventeen words that (1) THERE ARE DIFFERENT WAYS TO PRAISE AND (2) THERE ARE DIFFERENT REASONS TO PRAISE. We need to know these two things if we are going to praise with intelligence and maturity.
We do not have time to study each of those seventeen styles of praise and reasons for praise, but we will look at two or three that will help all of us to mature.
The word in our Bible, no matter what translation we read, translated as praise more times than any other (92 times in KJV) is halal (Strong’s #1984) and means to be clear (of sound or color); to shine; hence to make a show, to boast; and thus to be (clamorously) foolish; to rave; to celebrate. What would be halal praise? Do you know anyone who praises God that way? Would it be the “crazy praise” like the Life Gate pastor does – lifting of hands, waving of hands, jumping, dancing, shouting, twirling etc.? I think so.
If God used halal the most then it is obvious it is the one God desires we do the most. Why is that? It is because of what halal praise does. Let’s look at a passage where halal is used and become intelligent (mature) with our praise.
Psalms 18:3 I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised [halal]: SO SHALL I BE SAVED FROM MINE ENEMIES.
In Psalm 18, David is recounting a time when he was sick and near death.
Psalms 18:4-5 The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me.
Nonetheless, though sick, David summoned the energy to halal God! It takes a mature believer to halal God in dark times. Remember that halal praise is raving, foolish, celebrating, making a show praise.
Verse 6 said that God heard David. Then God began to shake mountains, part the heavens, and came down (v.9) riding the cherubim (Ezekiel 1:5) and cloud. The sea opened (v. 15) David said.
Psalms 18:14 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemies, great bolts of lightning and routed them.
Of course, we know that all this is figurative and apocalyptic style writing. David showed us what happens in the spiritual dimension when we halal.
Psalms 18:16-17 He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. HE RESCUED ME FROM MY POWERFUL ENEMY, from my foes, who were too strong for me.
What powerful enemy do you face? What foes do you have? Do they seem too strong for you? Are things crazy at home? How are your finances, or children? How is your health, or work? What dark time are you experiencing? Would you like some arrows or maybe some bolts of lightning thrown at something? THE ONLY WAY I KNOW THAT WILL HAPPEN IS TO GIVE GOD HALAL PRAISE.
But Delbert, I am bashful. I have never praised like that. That is exactly what I am talking about. We need to GROW UP IN PRAISE. LEARN TO PRAISE! EVERYONE BEGINS PRAISING AT THE SAME PLACE – THE BEGINNING. Begin by putting yourself in an environment where halal praise is given. Begin by clapping. Then lift your hands. Move your feet. Give a little shout when it is noisy so that you will not feel embarrassed. One day you will clap, lift, dance, and shout with all your might no matter who is around.
Psalms 47:1 O CLAP your hands, all ye people; SHOUT unto God with the voice of triumph.
Psalms 63:4 I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will LIFT UP MY HANDS.
Psalms 150:4 praise [halal] him with tambourine and DANCING, praise [halal] him with the strings and flute
Halal praise will change things that nothing else will change. I have done halal praise and I have watched people in our congregation do halal praise. Some had bad reports from the doctor, but they summoned the energy to halal. God reached down and RESCUED THEM FROM THAT POWERFUL ENEMY.
We are told a most interesting account of the power of halal praise in 2 Chronicles 20. Jehoshaphat was the king of Judah. Enemies (plural) had come to destroy the people of God. The Bible says that Jehoshaphat PRAYED, but the enemies remained. Jehoshaphat began toast, but the enemies remained. Jehoshaphat proclaimed a time for the entire nation to pray and fast together, but the enemies remained as strong and numerous as ever.
Have you ever experienced that? Have you ever prayed, but nothing changed? You went on a fast, but nothing changed. Have you gotten others to pray and fast with you, but nothing changed? Eventually, Jehoshaphat called for a corporate gathering in the temple in an attempt to hear from God.
2 Chronicles 20:19 Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites STOOD UP and PRAISED [halal] the LORD, the God of Israel, with VERY LOUD VOICE.
I love it! There is a time when we cannot be concerned about how dignified we appear. Do not misunderstand me. There is a time to be dignified, but sometimes we need to halal with a VERY LOUD VOICE.
As the people gave halal praise to God, a prophet named Jahaziel, a descendent of Asaph (the Bible makes a point of that, 1Chr 15:19; 1Chr 25:1) was in the temple. Asaph, Jahaziel’s ancestor, went back generations to King David’s day.
1 Chronicles 25:1 David, together with the commanders of the army, set apart some of the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun for the ministry of prophesying, ACCOMPANIED BY harps, lyres and cymbals…
As I said, this is not a praise seminar and I can only mention this, but a primary purpose of musical instruments in a praise/worship service is to bring the prophetic word of God. Music stirs up the supernatural in both light and darkness. So, parents be cautious concerning the music to which your children listen.
Jahaziel understood praise. Praise was in Jahaziel’s genealogy (DNA). We need to instill intelligent praise into our children and grandchildren.
The Bible says that the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel (v.14) and Jahaziel gave a prophetic word (song).
2 Chronicles 20:21-22 And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should PRAISE [halal] the beauty of holiness, AS THEY WENT OUT BEFORE THE ARMY, and to say, Praise [yadah] the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever. And when they began to sing and to praise [tehillah], THE LORD SET AMBUSHMENTS AGAINST THE CHILDREN OF AMMON, MOAB, AND MOUNT SEIR, WHICH WERE COME AGAINST JUDAH; AND THEY WERE SMITTEN.
In 2 Chronicles 20:17, the Lord’s instructions were to “set yourselves…” (NIV – take up your positions). In alignment with God’s instructions, Jehoshaphat positioned praise BEFORE THE ARMY. Do you remember at Jericho that the Lord put the trumpets (shofar) before the ark (Jos 6:13)? My point is that praise is to be an “out front” priority. Praise supernaturally goes before us and will bring down walls (Jericho) and defeat enemies. That is why we do praise first in our services.
There are three (3) different Hebrew words translated as our English word praise in the previous verses. Notice how it began with halal – crazy praise. Then they added yadah praise – (Strong’s #3034) means to revere or worship (with extended hands); be thankful. They lifted their hands and sang, “Yadah the Lord, for his mercy endureth for ever.” Then they added tehillah praise (Strong’s #8416) which means “a hymn.” It is not as important to know all these Hebrew words as it is to understand that we are to combine different ways of praise. Don’t get stuck in just one. This is how we attempt to do our praise and worship services. There should be exuberance, thanksgiving, and hymns.
What happened when the people of God praised correctly? The enemies destroyed each other. Also, the people of God collected the spoils after praise defeated the enemies.
2 Chronicles 20:25 And when Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away the spoil of them, they found among them in abundance both riches… and precious jewels… more than they could carry away: and they were three days ingathering OF THE SPOIL, it was so much.
I told you earlier of a very dark time in my life when I faced destruction. After we praised God and God turned it all around, we also took the plunder. That same year we paid off our building, paved our parking lot, and put in new carpet. A reason God’s people suffer defeat is because they do not PRAISE with intelligent praise.
What enemies surround you today? I know you have prayed. Some of you have fasted. You have probably gotten others to pray for and with you. However, have you praised the Lord with halal, yadah, and tehillah praise? Have you put praise out front? If you will, God will move the enemy for you and give you the plunder.
Praise is a huge, huge doctrine in the Bible of which we have not scratched the surface. Perhaps sometime we can get even more intelligent in our praise, but for today, let’s GROW UP in what we have learned. Last week I gave us the opportunity to activate in our giving. Today let’s activate in praise.
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