Inhabiting Our Praises

Last week, my friend Christina was leading prayer for our Worship with the Word set, and as she opened in prayer, she said something that the Holy Spirit sparked in my heart, 

“Jesus, would you come inhabit our praises (Psalm 22:3) as we praise you?”

 The verse itself is translated a couple of different ways, but mine reads,

 “Yet you are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel” (emphasis mine). 

Our worship of God sets up His rule over our lives and our circumstances. Since we have also been seated with Christ in heavenly places (Eph. 1:20), from this vantage point, we can operate in the authority He’s given us, which is another reason why intercession is so effective from the place of worship. But if the alternative is that He inhabits our praises, not only is His authority established, it makes the possibility of His kingdom a present reality because of the nearness of His governance. He is not a distant king ruling over distant lands; because He inhabits our praises, He gets involved directly with our circumstances. What an incredible verse!

 But it most incredible because of the contrast

 “You are holy” and “You inhabit our praises”

It’s almost as absurd as God living inside a human being! But, remarkably, that’s true, too! God lives inside of me because Jesus made a way through His death and resurrection. When Allen Hood visited IHOP-NW in July, he asked us, “When was the last time you woke up and thanked God for not blowing up?” The reality of this is so unfathomable.

 This contrast is also found in Isaiah 57:15,

 “For thus says the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.”

 Those are the only two places that the Lord dwells. Who has ever heard of a God like this?

 I see the proud silence of the gods of this age, demonic principalities that stand aloof while their subjects grovel and beg and plead and groan for satisfaction with no relief. These “gods” gobble up praises without relenting their demands, and without any reward. I consider the cultures that have lived in terror every moment of their lives that the fickle god they serve will change its mind at a whim and destroy their crops or their families.

 But watch this God. Here is the picture of a God who not only receives love with joy, but asks for it so that he can participate in His praise. He establishes praise as a gateway for His activity. In the midst of His own worship, He shows that He is even more faithful than His worshipers supposed, which incites even more worship! What a hilarious, jubilant cycle! As we give to Him, He gives to us. As we seek Him on a high and holy hill, He humbles Himself to come and join us. Instead of devouring His worship, He uses it as a resource to give back to us. Again, I say,

 “Who is like the Lord our God,
Who is enthroned on high,
Who humbles Himself to behold
The things that are in heaven and in the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust
And lifts the needy from the ash heap,
To make them sit with princes,
With the princes of His people.” (Psalm 113:5-8)

 Once more, we see the picture of a God who uses the praises of His people to give them authority in His presence.

 I had this wonderful picture in my head when my friend prayed this. Many have heard the precious verse in Zephaniah,

 “The Lord your God is in your midst,…
He will exult over you with joy,…
He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy!”
(Zeph. 3:17)

 The word for “rejoice” is an extravagant, jubilant word implying spinning and twirling and leaping and playing! I had this amazing picture that our praises created a structure or a house for Him to move about in freely so that He could come close and perform this verse–dancing and leaping and creating as we worshiped Him. I know that my own house is one of the most comfortable places for me to let loose and dance with freedom and without obstacles.

 I believe this is one of the amazing reasons why we worship, as we are invited to help in creating a place for Him to be able to move freely without hindrance. Sometimes I think that God’s governance over my life is a staunch duty that He is obligated to perform. However, it is probably more like the verse in Zephaniah–not a laborious task, but the jubilant creativity of a wholly passionate and zealous God!

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