"It came even to pass as the trumpeters and singers were as ONE, (emphasis mine) to make ONE sound to be heard in PRAISING and THANKING the LORD; and when they lifted up their VOICE (singular) with trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endures for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD; So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God." - II Chronicles 5:13–14:
After you read those verses ask yourself a few questions: How often does the glory of the LORD fill the house of God that you attend? Has it ever manifested as a cloud before your congregation? Do you, in your heart, even believe that it is possible to bring the glory of the LORD down among us in such a way today? King David, the Psalmist, said in Psalms 22:3, “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabits the praises of Israel.” What does it mean that he inhabited their praises? Well, see the scripture above. No better description exists. As we praise, the Holy Spirit draws nearer to us. In the instance above it even manifests itself as a cloud, and not for the first time.
In Exodus 13:21, when God was leading the Israelites out of Egypt, out of bondage, slavery, and affliction of 430 years, the bible says, “And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light; to go by day and night.” What an awesome sight; the glory of the Lord as a literal compass, leading the way through the muck and the mire to guide His people to the promise land! We are His people today just as the Israelites were then. We have a compass today to guide us just the way God guided them, personally; the Holy Bible, the book that contains the glory of God. They had signs and wonders in those days, physical manifestations of the power of the Almighty God they served. As man has become exceedingly more wicked and has turned away from God, what a blessing it is to have a compass, a road map if you will, to lead us back to the glory of God.
The words “sing” and “praise” are used more than 60 times in the Bible in either description of the children of Israel worshiping or direct commands to the children of Israel. The exact words “sing praises” occur 44 times. What would you say is the reason for the repetitiveness of these two words? Well, simply stated, because it is pleasing to God! He not only inhabits the praises of his people, he delights in them! To me, the power of praise works like this: We sing our praises to the Lord and it is pleasant to him. He then rewards us by inhabiting those praises, drawing closer to us to bless us by allowing us to bask in the power and presence of his glory. What a blessing indeed and oh how we need that more and more in these days.
I attend Spirit of Truth Church in Enon/Springfield Ohio. We are ushered in to the presence of the Lord every Sunday evening by the praise team, all beautifully gifted and anointed of God. They lead the praise and obey God and the presence of the glory of the Lord is well and truly established in our house of worship. I am sure in many of your houses of worship it is the same. In the days of Solomon, when the glory of the Lord came down as a cloud from heaven, the entire nation of Israel came together to sing praises to the Lord, for he is good and his mercy endures forever. Imagine an entire nation of people singing praises to the Lord and what that could accomplish for such a nation.
That is my vision. I see the glory of the Lord returning to us as in the days of Solomon, when he commanded the priests and people to sing praises with one voice, in one mind, and one accord. Not a day goes by that I do not offer up my praise in song. In the car, at the office, or at home, our praises need to be continual for our joy to be full. The joy of the Lord is our strength, our refuge, our ever present help in times of trouble!
I have heard the phrase “put on an attitude of gratitude” many times. That is just what the church, the church being us, not the building, needs to do today. We need to praise God for who He is, our Creator, our Redeemer, the Author and Finisher of our faith. We need to praise God for what he has done. He has claimed us, redeemed us, and called us His own. We need to praise God for what He will do, for saving the lost loved ones we all hold so dear, for sending His son to call his church home one day, and for His great mercy, the mercy that will endure forever. I challenge you to put your praise to work in your life. Praise Him in every situation and every circumstance. Praise Him when it makes no earthly sense, when the worst part of your day begins, when your plans fall through, when you get the bad report from the doctor. I promise you, if you praise Him, He will show up in your life and you will see the mighty hand of God at work in ways you never dreamed possible!
Let everything that hath breath praise the LORD.
Praise ye the LORD!