Imagine Jesus and His disciples singing, “This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad” mere moments before His violent arrest, just days before His crucifixion. “And when they had sung a hymn, [specifically from Psalms 115-118 celebrating triumph and deliverance], they went out to the Mount of Olives” (Matthew 26:30).
Why was Jesus singing under impending horrific circumstances?
Praise at the Passover was not only Hebrew tradition; for Jesus it was also soul preparation. Preparing Him for unjust physical and emotional abuse during His trials and crucifixion. Jesus prepared well. Humble and mostly silent without a hint of anger, praise had given Jesus a sense of absolute, composed surrender to His Father’s will.
This inner strength, this serenity is offered us, too. “You have taught children and nursing infants to give you praise. They silence your enemies who were seeking revenge,” (Psalm 8:2 NLT). Weak and dependent, helpless infants giving praise have the power to quiet visible and invisible enemies. Praise may also be translated “strength”. Consider this unusual image as a prototype for us. Praise cultivates fortitude and patience within to meet every adversity.
Do we praise for the wrong itself? For tragedy? Certainly not.
*We praise, realizing our Father is wise and good. He can be trusted. (Psalm 8)
*We praise, valuing God’s authority and His redemptive plan above our own comfort and safety. (Psalm 33:10-12 and Romans 8:28-29)
*We praise, refusing our fear, doubt, anxiety and self-pity to make room for faith decisions. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
*We praise, looking away from all trials, hardships and sorrow and “looking unto Jesus”. He promises life, hope, and glory. (Hebrews 12:2)
Genuine praise invites God’s presence. Yes, God is present everywhere, but when you and I praise Him, it’s like throwing open the doors of our heart to welcome Him to “sit down” within us. (Psalm 22:3) Imagine God Almighty taking rest in you! Faith ignites, causing all our pesky enemies to take flight.
God is looking for us who will offer Him praise, sometimes sacrificial praise because we don’t feel like praising. God is waiting to give us a strength to maintain, even thrive in times when we feel alone, deserted or depressed.
Compose your own spontaneous song of praise! How it sounds doesn’t matter. Only that it comes from your heart, a sincere expression of love for Him.