Lesson 6 – Praising
THE IMPORTANCE OF PRAISING
Praise is the highest work carried out by God’s children. We can say that the highest expression of a saint’s spiritual life is his praise to God. God’s throne is the highest point in the universe, yet He sits “enthroned upon the praises of Israel” (Psa. 22:3). God’s name and even God Himself are exalted through praise.
Praising is the way to overcome spiritual attacks. Many people say that Satan is afraid of the prayers of God’s children; he flees whenever God’s children kneel down to pray. This is why he often attacks God’s children and frustrates them from praying. This is a common attack. But we will point out another fact: Satan’s greatest attacks are not aimed at prayers; his greatest attacks are aimed at praise.…Satan does not attack just prayer; he also attacks the praise of God’s children. The ultimate goal of Satan is to stop all praises to God. Prayer is a warfare, but praise is a victory. Prayer signifies spiritual warfare, but praise signifies spiritual victory.
When you pray, you are still in the midst of your situation. But when you praise, you soar above your situation….Many times praise works where prayer fails. This is a very basic principle. If you cannot pray, why not praise? The Lord has placed another item in your hands for your victory and for you to boast in victory.…We need to learn to maintain this lofty spirit, this spirit that surpasses all attacks. Prayers may not bring us to the throne, but praise surely brings us to the throne at any time. Prayers may not enable us to overcome every time, but praise does not fail even once.…Nothing moves the Lord’s hand as quickly as praise. Prayer is not the fastest way to move the Lord’s hand; praise is the fastest way.…Here we see that spiritual victory does not depend on warfare but on praising. We need to learn to overcome Satan by our praise. We overcome Satan not only by prayer but also by praise. Many people are conscious of Satan’s ferocity and their own weaknesses, and they resolve to struggle and pray. However, we find a very unique principle here: Spiritual victory does not depend on warfare but on praise.
THE SACRIFICE OF PRAISING
However, the Psalms contain chapters not only of praises but also of suffering. God wants His people to know that the praising ones are the very ones who have been led through trying situations and whose feelings have been wounded. These psalms show us men led by God through shadows of darkness. They were rejected, slandered, and persecuted. “All Your waves and Your billows / Pass over me” (42:7). Yet God perfected praises out of these ones.
Words of praise do not always come from the mouths of the smooth-sailing ones. They come much more from those who are under discipline and trial. In the Psalms we can touch the most wounded feelings, and in the Psalms we also can find the greatest and highest praises.…This shows us the nature of praise in the eyes of God. The nature of praise is an offering, a sacrifice. In other words, praise comes from pain and suffering. Hebrews 13:15 says, “Through Him then let us offer up a sacrifice of praise continually to God, that is, the fruit of lips confessing His name.” What is a sacrifice? A sacrifice is an offering. An offering means death and loss. The person who offers an offering must suffer some loss. An offering, a sacrifice, must be offered up. This offering up constitutes a loss.…In other words, God inflicts wounds; He breaks and cuts a person deeply, yet at the same time, such a person turns to Him and praises Him. Suffering for the sake of offering God praise is a kind of offering. God likes men to praise Him in this way. God likes to be enthroned upon this kind of praise.
THE PRODUCING OF PRAISING
Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings the Lord has established strength (praise—Matt. 21:16) because of His adversaries, to stop the enemy and the avenger (Psa. 8:2). We have seen that babes and sucklings are the youngest, smallest, and weakest among men, indicating the highest consummation of the Lord’s work in His redemption. In God’s salvation, the top consummation is to perfect the smallest and the weakest to praise God. When we enjoy Christ’s redemption to the uttermost, we will be bold to praise the Lord. When we are discouraged and disappointed, we may sigh and groan. But when we praise the Lord, this is the highest experience of our enjoyment of Christ. The enjoyment of Christ will make us so strong to utter a complete and a perfected praise to the Lord. We all have to learn how to praise. This is the highest consummation that God has completed in His redemption through Christ.
The babes and sucklings are produced through regeneration in the initial stage. Then they continue to be produced in full through their sanctification, renewing, and transformation. Through transformation they are perfected in praising the Lord. This is the Lord’s recovery and the Lord’s victory. God overcomes His enemy through these babes and sucklings. The work of Christianity is to produce active ones; they endeavor to produce “giants.” Our work is to produce babes and sucklings.
THE CONTENT OF PRAISING
The Psalms were written according to two kinds of concepts.…The first concept, according to which the Psalms were written, is the human concept of the holy writers. Their human concept was produced out of their good nature created by God, formed with the traditions of their holy race, constituted with the teachings of their holy Scriptures, promoted by their practice of a holy life, and uttered out of their holy sentiments and impressions.…The Psalms were also written according to the divine concept of God as the divine revelation. This divine concept of God as the divine revelation is concerning His eternal economy in Christ, taking Christ as its centrality and universality. It is also concerning Christ in His divinity, humanity, human living, all-inclusive death, life-imparting and seed-producing resurrection, glorification, ascension, appearing in glory, and reigning forever. All these points are clearly, and even in detail, revealed in the Psalms. The divine concept in the Psalms is also concerning God’s heart’s desire, His good pleasure in Christ as His centrality and universality, in the church as His fullness for His expression, in the kingdom for His eternal administration, and in the recovery of the earth for His eternal kingdom in eternity. This divine concept of God was uttered from the godly writers of the Psalms as a part of the utterance in their holy writings. The same writers uttered two kinds of concepts—the human concept and the divine concept.
This short psalm [Psalm 8] reveals so much. It speaks of the heavens, the earth, babes and sucklings, man, three categories of enemies, and the Lord’s incarnation, human living, death, resurrection, ascension, coming back, and kingdom. We Christians may praise the Lord, but our praise needs to be perfected. We need to praise Him for His splendor above the heavens and His excellency on earth. Then we can praise Him for His incarnation for Him to come to visit us. Then we should go on to praise Him for His human living, for His death, for His resurrection, for His ascension, and for His kingdom. We have to praise Him with all these matters. Then our praises will be perfected, completed. This praise is the strength out of the mouths of babes and sucklings. Such perfected praise is the ultimate consummation of the Lord’s work of incarnation, human living, death, resurrection, ascension, and coming back to rule on this earth.
THE PRACTICE OF PRAISING
We should not only pray to God but also learn all the more to praise God. We need to see the significance of praise at the very beginning of our Christian walk. We must praise God unceasingly. David received grace from God to praise seven times a day. It is a good exercise, a very good lesson, and a very good spiritual practice to praise God every day. We should learn to praise God when we get up early in the morning. We should learn to praise Him when we encounter problems, when we are at a meeting, or when we are alone. We should praise God at least seven times a day. Do not let David beat us in his praise. If we have not learned to praise God every day, it is hard to have the kind of sacrifice of praise spoken of in Hebrews 13.