His Power and Presence in Praise
In light of some most recent circumstance, I have felt led to praise in prayer. This was confirmed most recently as I was reading this portion of Psalm 9.
I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works.I will be glad and I will rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High. When my enemies turn back, They shall fall and perish at Your presence.
— Psalm 9:1-3
I was also following along in the Hebrew and a difference that stood out to me was found in verse three. Rather than "When my enemies turn back" which sounds rather passive and disconnected from the acts of praise being displayed, The Hebrew text read more literally...
"In turning my enemies backward they will stumble and perish at Your presence"
The Hebrew reading more distinctly shows how our praise to God is very much connected and invitational to the presence of God that actively and aggressively turns our enemies backward.
This idea is also confirmed in the Psalm right before it.
Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength, Because of Your enemies, That You may silence the enemy and the avenger
— Psalm 8:2
Jesus quoted this very same scripture while He was healing blind and lame people in Matthew chapter 21 and being praised by the people for it. In response to the resentful Chief Priests and Scribes who questioned Him about this...
...Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected (ordained, established) praise’?”
— Matthew 21:16
The New Testament quote by Jesus translates Psalm 8 for us in that praise establishes a spiritual strength and power and the Old Testament version of this verse shows us that this power is the very presence of God that silences the enemy and the avenger.
In a previously written article "The New Jerusalem - A pattern for Living" The twelve tribes and the significance of the gems that represented them on the ephod were studied. The tribe of Judah was the 4th son of Jacob and His name meant "praise". The blessing Jacob spoke over Judah before he died was this...
"your hand will be upon the neck of your enemy"
— Genesis 49:8
We could paraphrase it like this
"Praise will be the hand upon the neck of your enemy."
Praise here is seen once again as a weapon. It is fascinating to mention as well that Judah (Praise) was the first tribe dispatched in their military order line-up indicating to us that praise should be dispatched first in all of life's battles.
Humility—Prerequisite to Praise
Who were these babes? It wasn't the Chief Priests and Scribes. They were indignant because Jesus was being praised as the Messiah (anointed, assigned, and empowered) Savior which hinted at their jealousy and exposed their blindfold of pride.
...for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God
— John 12:43
The "babes" were those whose humility and dependence enabled them to recognize in praise the God who was in their midst, as was evidenced by His compassion, exhibited in His healing touch.
“I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes
— Matthew 11:25
Could it be noted that it was their lavish praise that exhibited their faith and enabled Jesus to perform the miracles that He did in undoing the works of the enemy (I John 3:8) that were evidenced in these particular peoples lives via the ailments they suffered.
Matthew 13 illustrates the necessity of faith for God's power and presence in our lives and circumstance. Rather than praising God the people in this chapter chose to view and declare Jesus as common, familiar, and therefore ineffective. The result was...
...He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief
— Matthew 13:58
It is important to note that our enemies are not people as well stated in Ephesians
we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places
— Ephesians 6:12
Our conflicts in the natural are many times rooted in spiritual issues.
It is also worth mention that many times our own worst enemy can be ourselves. A deeper look at some of these internal enemies we face can be found in this article "The Seven Enemies of the Flesh"
A bit of a study on the Hebrew words for praise used in our opening scripture of Psalm 9 reveals some valuable specifics that sometimes appear generic in English. Note that there are five "I will's" expressing what constitutes "praise".
"I will" denotes being deliberate and decisive. Praise in this instance is not a passive act as in waiting for a feeling. The Psalmist makes a deliberate choice to praise.
The first "I will praise you" uses the Hebrew word yadah meaning to throw forth and cast out confessions and declarations of thanksgiving for all that He has done which is in agreement with the Matthew 21 version of this Psalm where the recipients of His love in the form of healing are crying out "Hosanna to the son of David". They are literally declaring Him to be their immediate salvation from their desperate plight. This particular word yadah is also explored in more detail in another article titled "Give thanks to the YHWH"
The second phrase communicating praise is "I will tell of all Your wondrous works". The literal translation of the word "tell" means to take into account, measure, or number.
Stand still and consider (take into account) the wondrous works of God
— Job 37:14
This also is in agreement with Matthew chapter 21. The text declares that He was healing the blind and lame, and that was what He was being praised for....His "Wondrous works". Wondrous works indicate the miraculous and achievement of the impossible. In light of this revelation, I would like to take an account of all the scriptures declaring this. It is these very attributes I have been considering and praising Him for.
Is anything too hard for the Lord?
— Genesis 18:4
“I know that You can do everything..."
— Job 42:2
‘Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.
— Jeremiah 32:17
“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?
— Jeremiah 32:27
"...with God all things are possible.”
— Matthew 19:26, Mark 10:27
"with God nothing will be impossible"
— Luke 1:37
“The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”
— Luke 18:27
There is simply nothing beyond the scope of His knowledge and power. There is nothing going on in our lives that He can't help us with. If that isn't worthy of consideration, praise, and declaration I don't know what is, not to mention it is invitational to the presence of God and deliverance from our enemies.
The third phrase is "I will be glad" and means to leap with joy. It even alludes to the idea of comparing this state to being merry with wine according to Gesenius' lexicon. Could we say that confessing loudly, intentionally, and maybe even a bit obnoxiously His goodness towards us, as well as taking into account all that He does and is able to do, leads to intoxicating expressions of joy?
Acts chapter two demonstrates this for us when the Holy Spirit had come upon them and the works of God were being displayed and declared. It appeared as if they were intoxicated.
...we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?” Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”
— Acts 2:11-13
I don't believe this supports the strange manifestations witnessed in the "Renewal" movement which exhibited what appeared to be seriously out of control fleshly behavior. I do however believe it to be fully supportive of, conscious, exuberant, and enthusiastic worship born from genuine admiration and adoration of the One who displays His "wonderful works" to us.
The fourth phrase from Psalm 9 is "I will rejoice in you", The Hebrew word used for rejoicing in this verse means to "triumph" or "exult in" which also reflects the theme of this study in triumphing over our enemies.
...Let not my enemies triumph (same Hebrew word translated rejoice) over me
— Psalm 25:2
Remembering that praise silences the enemy forces and operations in our lives as shown in the first part of this writing.
The fifth and final phrase of our study is "I will sing praise to your name" This particular word is associated with the playing of instruments and rhythm and is most always referenced in praise to God. It could be more accurately translated make music to Him vocally and instrumentally interestingly Gesenius defines this word to prune or cut off.
In Your mercy cut off my enemies, And destroy all those who afflict my soul; For I am Your servant
— Psalm (song) 143:12
Again we see the connection with praise to God in the form of music with instrument and or voice as a way to cut off our enemies.
The word pictograph for the Hebrew word for "sing" (zamar) as used in this verse agrees with this concept
The first letter of "zamar" is a "zayin" and is a picture of a cutting tool or weapon. Singing and making music seems like a strange tool or weapon.
the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ
— II Corinthians 10:4-5
This concept of praise as a weapon against adversity is so eloquently exampled for us in II Chronicles chapter 20 with the story of Jehoshaphat. There were at least two enemy nations along with some others, the text records, coming up against Judah the Southern kingdom. Jehoshaphat and the people seek the Lord as to what to do and this is what Jehoshaphat did...
he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: “Praise the Lord, For His mercy endures forever.”
— II Chronicles 20:21
What a surprising and an amazing military strategy to send out singers and praisers. What more could indicate their faith in the God who would save them? What more could it say for us to praise Him as our first line of battle defense in all of our daily battles?
Worship isn’t ultimately defined by my personality type or preferences, but by the Word and worthiness of the One true God.
— Bob Kauflin
The second letter of zamar is a mem. Mem is imaged by ocean waves and can sometimes indicate mighty forces and in this case, forces that are chaotic and tumultuous as the sea at times symbols for us.
A scriptural example of how waters can indicate the forces and sources of chaos in our lives is found in Psalm 18 as sung by David when he was delivered from Saul's persecution.
...He drew me out of many waters He delivered me from my strong enemy, From those who hated me, For they were too strong for me ~ Psalm (song) 18:16
We see this exampled by Jesus as well, who walks on the adverse and chaotic waters His disciples found themselves in and in another, He commands the winds and the waves to be still. In both of these cases, Jesus displays His authority over all chaotic forces natural and spiritual.
This also gives us the understanding that these battles are not ours but His as also shown in the story of Jehoshaphat
Thus says the Lord to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude (many waters-enemies), for the battle is not yours, but God’s
— II Chronicles 20:15
This will require humility once again to admit that we are not genius nor powerful enough to fight these battles. Praise acknowledges His Power and might.
Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts
— Zechariah 4:6
"Mem" confirms the idea of musical praise being a viable spiritual weapon against our enemies and the forces of chaos in our lives.
The final letter of "zamar" the Hebrew word for "sing praise" is a resh and images the profile of a person in a forward moving position, and can be connected with the idea of taking possession and having dominion and alludes to conscious forebrain activitiy
Could this revelation be showing us how praise is about us consciously moving forward via praise to our awesome and sovereign King of the universe while He pushes our enemiesbackwards and in this God is able to gain possession of the territory of our hearts and lives.
God wants to have the dominion in our lives and be glorified by them. Let us humble ourselves before Him and give Him all the praise is due Him which will give invitation to His presence, scatter our enemies, and give Him that place in our lives.
To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever
— I Peter 5:11
In conclusion It is my personal desire for the territory of my life and the lives of my family members to be conquered and occupied by the One and only Lord God Almighty. I face battles daily on these very fronts from which this study was born. I am praising Him today that there is nothing too difficult for Him. Nope! no personality unreachable. God can do this!! Amen!
Let God arise, Let His enemies be scattered
— Psalm 68:1
© 2013 Tamarajo