Get your praise on

How do you respond to something that went well? How about something big you just accomplished? I often take a big breath in relief or admire the awesome outcome or take a nap. It varies. But I generally want to admire the work and invite someone to come admire it with me. I’ll tell what I usually don’t do: break out in song. But the Israelites did when they finished rebuilding the wall in the book of Nehemiah.

Nehemiah 12:27 At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, the Levites were sought out from where they lived and were brought to Jerusalem to celebrate joyfully the dedication with songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, harps, and lyres. 

“We just finished a huge construction project. Let’s have a praise party!” And a praise party they had. Rather than walking around the city and admiring their work, they got a band and a choir together and praised on it. They got their praise on! They did more than gather in the middle of the city and say a quick prayer of thanks. Literally, they walked around the entire wall and praised over it. Some of them even praised on the wall.

What’s remarkable to me was the decision to take the time to praise God. Even more, they praised Him for every square inch of their success. They had prayed to Him for the provision and safety of this project and now they were praising Him for it’s completion. We should be doing the same thing in our own lives. Has God come through for you? Praise Him. Has He answered your prayer? Praise Him. Start singing, grab some cymbals, lift your voice. Praise Him for what He has done. Give Him the credit. Rather than admire the work, admire the one who made that work happen.

Get your praise on, people! 

When you hear from God

Daniel 2:17-20  17 Then Daniel went to his house and told his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah about the matter, 18 urging them to ask the God of heaven for mercy concerning this mystery, so Daniel and his friends would not be killed with the rest of Babylon’s wise men. 19 The mystery was then revealed to Daniel in a vision at night, and Daniel praised the God of heaven 20 and declared: May the name of God be praised forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him. 

God speaks.  But it isn’t always easy to hear Him, is it?  It isn’t always easy to know what direction He is leading us.  So we keep on praying, keep on asking, keep on seeking.  It can be tiring and requires patience.  Then it comes, that still small voice.  Or maybe He gives us a dream or a vision.  It is a glorious thing to hear from our God, a marvelous feeling to hear His direction.

So what do you do when you hear from God?  What is your response?  There are some obvious answers like “obey His instructions” or “have peace in my situation.”  But there is a response that should come before all that.  It was Daniel’s response and we can learn from it.  You see, Daniel declared, “May the name of God be praised.”   His first response was to praise God and bring glory to Him.  He made it known that the wisdom he was about to share was from the Lord, not him.

This is the proper response to hearing from God: praise Him.  Thank Him for loving you and for speaking to you.  Give Him glory and honor.  Doing so will keep you heart in the right place, a place of surrender to Him.  And as you walk out a surrendered heart, you are setting yourself up for hearing from Him over and over again.

Sheba Googles Solomon

1 Kings 10:4-9 When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the LORD, she was overwhelmed. She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard. How happy your men must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! Praise be to the LORD your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the LORD’S eternal love for Israel, he has made you king, to maintain justice and righteousness.” 

Sometimes, you just have to see it to believe it.  Just the other day, my wife and I spent some time driving around looking at possible hotels for an upcoming marriage retreat.  We looked online ahead of time at prices and pictures, so we knew where we wanted to go.  There was one hotel in particular that we were excited to look at.  It looked amazing online!  When we arrived, we had high expectations and were sure this was going to be the one.  However, it turned out they had a REALLY good photographer.  The place was terrible!   Boy, were we glad that we went and looked at it in person.

The Queen of Sheba had a journey of exploration, too.  She had heard all about Solomon and his leadership.  She had been told about his wisdom, his riches, and his great kingdom.  If she could have, she probably would have looked up the pictures online, read stories on google, and watched videos on youtube.  Can’t you just see it?  “Sheba Googles Solomon.”  But regardless of what she had heard, she wanted to see this in person.  She had to know for herself if all the rumors were true.

What she found is that all she had heard didn’t come close to the greatness of Solomon’s kingship.  She found great wisdom in him and he personally touched her life as he answered life’s mysteries for her.  She was astounded and overwhelmed.  In short, he took her breath away.  But check this out: her response to his greatness was to praise his God!  

How do people respond to your successes?  Do they praise you or the Lord?  I find it phenomenal that Sheba sees Solomon’s greatness and gives praise to his God.  I want people to celebrate my successes that way, too.  I want them to see the Lord’s work evident in my life and recognize that all of my successes, blessings, and triumphs are from Him.