Today I’ve been thinking about how praise of often is often the “just right” remedy for a downcast heart. I remember a scripture song from my childhood, about “putting on a garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness”. This actually comes from Isaiah 61, a familiar passage that Jesus quoted at the beginning of His ministry.
1The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
4They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
5Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
6And you will be called priests of the Lord,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.
7Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.
8“For I, the Lord, love justice;
I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
In my faithfulness I will reward my people
and make an everlasting covenant with them.
9Their descendants will be known among the nations
and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
that they are a people the Lord has blessed.”
10I delight greatly in the Lord;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations.
As I read this, a few things occur to me
Praise magnifies God and the work of Christ, proclaiming a reality that breaks through the storm clouds of our own despair to the unrelenting sun above.
Praise is a spiritual weapon of our warfare, raising a banner against any thought or principality that exalts itself against the truth. Praise weaponizes us to carry out God’s kingdom on the earth as it is in heaven
Praise changes us. It brings us into synch, into harmony with the truest truths and scatters the deception of our foes. It defies physical reality in favor of what is really real.
But what is it?
Praise is giving thanks and honor to the One who is worthy.
According to the Psalms: skillfully, with music, with a variety of instruments, with dance
Because the Lord is good, His mercy endures forever, His truth–His reality–endures to all generations.