Works That Testify!

John 5:36-But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me. NKJV

The greatest reference we have in the Word about the people and incidents that testify to the Sonship of Jesus is His own words spoken while He was on earth. In my previous blog, we reviewed the true witness of John the Baptist, as he pointed others to the Son of God. Jesus said:

 “If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true. There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true. You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth.

John 5:31-33 NKJV

Jesus was passing by the pool of Bethesda when he saw a multitude of sick people lying around the pool. John wrote that Jesus saw a certain man who had been sick for 38 years, waiting at the pool to be healed. After asking the man if he wanted to be made whole, Jesus told him to pick up his bed and walk. The man was immediately healed.

This caused the Jews to become angry because it was the Sabbath day, and the man was carrying his bed on the Sabbath. But we understand that it was a greater evil than religious laws being broken at the root of their issues. Anyway, they wanted to kill Jesus because He healed on the Sabbath, prompting Jesus to talk about His Sonship and the witnesses that testify of Him.

Although Jesus called John a true witness, He said that He had a greater witness than John the Baptist.

But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.

John 5:36 NKJV

Jesus, let us know that the miracles He had performed and would continue to perform were not just arbitrary works but works that spoke of Him being the Son of God! As a matter of fact, Jesus said that His works were a greater witness, outranking the witness of John the Baptist! The Greek word “megas” in this verse, rendered as greater, means to out rank, or of degree and intensity, placing the witness of His works as a more superior witness.

Nicodemus went to visit Jesus during the night hours to converse with Him about His teachings. Nicodemus made this comment to Jesus:

“Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”

John 3:2 NKJV

Nicodemus understood that the works Jesus did amongst them were not ordinary but extraordinary and supernatural in their very nature. Therefore, he acknowledged that Jesus had obviously come from God and that God was with Him.

Another aspect of the works of Jesus that was typical of God is His compassion for others. It was noted when Jesus raised the widow of Nain’s son from the dead that He was moved with compassion:

 And when He came near the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother.

Luke 7:12-15 NKJV

And again, when He healed a multitude of sick people, Matthew wrote:

And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.

Matthew 14:4 NKJV

The works that Jesus did, or the miracles He performed, astounded the people during His earthly ministry. People are still astounded at the events that took place during His three-and-a-half years of miracles. One that always causes my heart to shout, “Look at God,” can be found in John 9, when the man born blind received his sight. The Jewish leaders were so outraged that yet another miracle was performed on the Sabbath day that they put this man on the witness block to find out what had happened and who had done it! He testified beautifully to the marvelous work of Jesus:

 Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.”

John 9:32-33 NKJV

In other words, he let them know that no one else was capable of giving sight to a person born blind. Not only was he born blind, but he was now a grown man. And since Jesus had healed him of his blindness, the only logical conclusion to make is that God had done it!

Again in John 10, Jesus speaks of His works bearing witness of Him:

If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me;  but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.”

John 10:37-38 NKJV

Before John the Baptist was beheaded, when death was staring him in the face, he sent messengers to Jesus to ask Him if He truly was the One? Maybe he was feeling abandoned by God and Jesus. Or maybe he wasn’t ready to die even though he believed it was imminent. But one thing we know for sure is that he had personally witnessed to the people that Jesus was the Son of God, and in the face of his seemingly untimely death, he asked Jesus for confirmation. Jesus sent this message to John:

“Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 

Matthew 11:4-5 NKJV

I’m not clear at what point John was placed in prison. I’m not even sure if he was able to personally witness any miracles. But when he asked for proof, Jesus told the messengers to tell John about the works He was doing.

Jesus performed miracles of healing! He cleansed lepers, gave sight to the blind, healed the lame so they could walk, unstopped deaf ears, and loosed tongues so people could speak. He exercised authority over demons and raised the dead. He displayed power over nature when He spoke to the winds, and they quieted, and when He walked on the water. And when he turned water into wine and fed the five thousand, He demonstrated that at His command and at His will, He could do whatever He needed to do! And at the end of his gospel, John said this:

And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

John 20:30-31 NKJV

Truly His works speak for Him! And the wonderful news for us today is that the Son of God is yet performing miracles. If you stand in need of a miracle from the Son of God, He is able and willing to perform it! Wonderful Jesus!

A True Witness!

John 1:6-7-There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light that all through him might believe. NKJV

Photo by David Veksler on Unsplash

Growing up, I was fond of legal dramas, especially Perry Mason. Perry Mason was a defense attorney who worked with his secretary Della Street and a private investigator named Paul Drake. Between the three of them, they could effectively win cases that seemed hopeless to those charged with a crime. On the witness stand, you got to see Mason at his finest hour, for it was there he often tricked his witnesses into divulging the truth of their crimes.

The witness stand, in a courtroom, is where witnesses are called to give testimony to an event or situation that they have firsthand knowledge of. In the book of John, we encounter several witnesses that proclaim that Jesus is the Son of God. Each witness is considered a true witness with exceptional character and unquestionable knowledge. Today, I want to address the nature and evidence of our first witness. Our first witness to the stand is John the Baptist!

The apostle John wrote that John the Baptist was sent by God to bear witness to the Light.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe

John 1:6-7 NKJV

The whole purpose of John the Baptist’s prophetic ministry was to act as a witness for God and to point the people to the Light so that they might believe in Him.

If you recall, John the Baptist was a cousin to Jesus. Elizabeth’s pregnancy was tied to Mary’s, and the boys were born months apart. When Mary visited Elizabeth during her confinement, Elizabeth shared an unusual greeting:

Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 

Luke 1:42-43 NKJV

Elizabeth acknowledged from the beginning that the Babe in Mary’s womb was her Lord. Therefore, John, the baby Elizabeth was carrying, was in submission to the Babe Mary carried.

On the day that John the Baptist was born, his father, Zacharias, prophesied these words over him:

“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God

Luke 1:76-78 NKJV

After 400 years of silence from God, we see John the Baptist on the scene declaring prophetic words to the children of Israel that they are to repent and be baptized, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Fulfilling the prophetic word his father spoke over him. John acknowledges that he was sent to prepare the way of the Lord:

He said: “I am ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Make straight the way of the Lord,” ’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”

John 1:23 NKJV

John states that he is not that Light but a witness to the Light. John the Baptist continues to bear witness concerning Jesus when he was asked why he was baptizing people:

“I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.”

John 1:26-27 NKJV

John makes it perfectly clear to the people that he is not in competition with Jesus but in submission to Jesus. He isn’t vying for a position of power over Jesus because he is not even worthy enough to untie his shoelaces.

The next day, John saw Jesus again and spoke these words:

“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’  I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel,  therefore I came baptizing with water.”

John 1:29-31 NKJV

I find several exciting statements in these verses. First, John said that Jesus was before him. We know that John the Baptist was born first. However, John is obviously referring to the divinity of Jesus, that He was before John ever was. Secondly, John said that he did not know Him. We know that’s probably not a reference to actually knowing Jesus, the person, but to not knowing His true identity. Thirdly, it appears to me that John is stating that he began to baptize people with water because of something he had previously seen by the Spirit of God:

And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”

John 1:32-34 NKJV

John recalls seeing the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove and remaining on the one who was the Son of God. I believe John had a vision or a dream that allowed him to have this experience. Therefore, in obedience to the dream or vision, he began baptizing people with water, realizing that one day, he would baptize the Son of God.

Some believe John’s explanation of the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus like a dove is metaphorical. In other words, he saw, by the Spirit, the Spirit of God descending on Jesus much in the same way a dove would descend on an individual. Others believe that he saw the Spirit, in the form of a dove, descend upon Jesus. However, he meant it; John knew that when it happened, it would be a witness to him that he had baptized the Son of God.

So as God would have it, Jesus went to John to be baptized. It is in Matthew’s gospel that we have a record of the baptism of Jesus. At first, John was hesitant to baptize Jesus, realizing that Jesus was the Son of God, but Jesus told John it needed to happen this way. (See Matthew 3).

John’s primary mission was to be a witness before the people for God that Jesus was the Son of God. John gave testimony to what he saw and experienced during his prophetic ministry of preparation that bore witness to the identity of the Son of God. His testimony was true!

Imagine the moment for a minute. It is finished! Everything that God had assigned John to do was complete. He had prepared the way. He had prepared the hearts of the people to repent. He had set the stage! Then God gave him the privilege to be a witness that the Son of God had indeed come, and He was in their midst. And he, John the Baptist, had been chosen before his birth to provide testimony to the true identity of Jesus, the Son of God! Wow! It had to be an incredible moment for John!

The good news for us is that we, too, have the same privilege that John the Baptist had. Not to baptize Jesus but to tell the world that the Son of God has indeed come to live not amongst us but within us by His Holy Spirit. We have the word of God with its many infallible proofs that point to Jesus as the Son of God. We have John’s witness from the Word of God. The only thing that may be lacking is our conviction that his witness is true! In a court of law, even Perry Mason couldn’t convince him otherwise! Wonderful Jesus!

The Word Became Flesh!

John 1:14-And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. NKJV

Photo by Anthony Garand on Unsplash

After spending so much time blogging about praising the Lord, I intensely desire to focus on Him.

If you have ever gone through a discipleship program, you may have been told to start reading the Bible in the book of John. Some suggest that it is because John is such an easy-to-read gospel, which is true. Others aren’t sure why they tell new believers to start with this gospel; they just make the suggestion out of tradition. But I submit that new and mature believers alike need to read the gospel of John because it is written with a focus on Jesus, the Son of God!

John begins his gospel with the words:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:1 NKJV

In and of itself, this verse may not help us to see Jesus, the Son of God. But as you continue to read the verses that follow, they clearly lead us to Jesus. Verse 2 states,

He was in the beginning with God

John 1:2 NKJV

Immediately, John lets the readers know that the Word that was, in the beginning, is indeed a person and not a thing. John continues by stating that He, the Word, was in the beginning with God. And since we understand that God has always existed, we know that the Word has always been in existence!

All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

John 1:3 NKJV

John tells his readers that the Word made everything and that nothing was made without Him. Genesis 1:1 states:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 1:1 NKJV

John is therefore making a connection between the God of creation and the Word as being the same. Remember that John has already shared that the Word was in the beginning, the Word was with God, and the Word was God! Therefore, everything was indeed made through the Word, and nothing in existence is here aside from the Word.

Matthew Henry wrote these words in his commentary about the first five verses of John, chapter 1:

Austin says (de Civitate Dei, lib. 10, cap. 29) that his friend Simplicius told him he had heard a Platonic philosopher say that these first verses of St. John’s gospel were worthy to be written in letters of gold. The learned Francis Junius, in the account he gives of his own life, tells how he was in his youth infected with loose notions in religion, and by the grace of God was wonderfully recovered by reading accidentally these verses in a bible which his father had designedly laid in his way. He says that he observed such a divinity in the argument, such an authority and majesty in the style, that his flesh trembled, and he was struck with such amazement that for a whole day he scarcely knew where he was or what he did; and thence he dates the beginning of his being religious.

Matthew Henry, commentary on John 1:1-5

John told us the purpose of his book as he was bringing it to a close:

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

John 20:31 NKJV

Rex Humbard, in his introduction to the book of John, wrote that

John selected the signs he used for the specific purpose of creating intellectual (“that you may believe”) and spiritual (“that believing you may have life”) conviction about the Son of God.

Rex Humbard, The Prophetic Bible, Introduction to John

While many people believe that our faith in Jesus is blind faith, John and the other Bible writers argue that there is nothing blind about our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God! Therefore, John wrote his gospel to clearly state the evidence that points to Jesus as the Son of God and to ignite faith in its readers to receive Him!

It is in the 14th verse of chapter 1 that John connects the Word of God to the Son of God:

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:14 NKJV

William Barclay wrote that this sentence is at the heart of all John was writing about in his gospel:

He has thought and talked about the word of God, that powerful, creative, dynamic word which was the agent of creation, that guiding, directing, controlling word which puts order into the universe and intelligence into human beings…Now he says the most startling and incredible thing that he could have said.

Willima Barclay, Commentary on John

John noted that because Jesus was in the flesh, God was visible to all. When Moses asked God to show him His glory, God told Moses that he could only see His back. But John states that the Glory of God the Father was beheld when Jesus was seen, and He was full of grace and truth! No vision, dream, or veil was needed to experience His glory because Jesus of Nazareth embodied it in His person.

This truth is crucial to our understanding of Jesus being the Son of God. John wrote in one of his epistles:

By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God.

1 John 4:2-3 NKJV

It is said that 90% of the gospel of John is original to John. In other words, his gospel is different from the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke in that most of his accounts of Jesus are only written in his book. In the book of John, we find the “I Am” statements that Jesus made of Himself regarding His deity. I have already blogged on these statements in the past and will only mention them today:

  • I am the bread of life-John 6:35
  • I am the light of the world-John 8:12
  • I am the door-John 10:7
  • I am the good shepherd- John 10:11
  • I am the resurrection and the life-John 11:25
  • I am the way, the truth, and the life- John 14:6
  • I am the true vine-John 15:1-5

John also writes about the witnesses that testify that Jesus is the Son of God and the signs that point to Jesus being the Son of God. In the blogs coming up, I will focus on the witnesses and the signs.

As we progress, I hope to bring out a couple of things. First, John writes in contrast throughout his book, comparing subjects like “light to darkness” and “faith to unbelief.” Secondly, in his gospel, the verb “believe” is frequently mentioned. John wants his readers to know that those who believe in Jesus as the Son of God shall be saved, and those who do not believe in the Son of God shall be condemned.

With this as our background for future posts, I’d like to encourage you to stay tuned as we delve into why we believe Jesus is the Son of God! Wonderful Jesus!

Don’t Let the Rocks Cry Out!

Luke 19:40- But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.” NKJV

Photo by Dennis Leinarts on Pexels.com

Jesus was entering the city of Jerusalem. The people were going wild with their praises. As He progressed down the street, they threw their robes in the way so His donkey would not have to walk on the stone pavements. Luke wrote these words:

Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying: “ ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

Luke 19:37-38 NKJV

The word for praise used in this verse is “aineō,” which corresponds with the Hebrew word tehillah, which means to sing! As the people sang joyously over the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, the Pharisees were upset. David Guzik, in his commentary on Luke, wrote these words:

Nothing tells Satan and his followers that they have lost like the praises of God ringing in their ears. Satan loses because when God’s people are really worshipping, their hearts and minds are on Him — and not on sin, self, or Satan’s distractions.

Blue Letter Bible, David Guzik, Luke 19 commentary

These words sum up the power of praise. As we focus on praising our Lord, we have little time for distractions or other diversions that try to pull us off course. While the people were in united praise, they were not concerned about anything else.

However, the Pharisees couldn’t stand the praise that was directed at Jesus! After all, if the people were praising Jesus, then there was no focus left to give them praise. So they did the only thing that they could. They told Jesus to rebuke the people, to tell them to stop giving Him the praise due Him. Jesus responded,

“I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”

Luke 19:40 NKJV

This is an interesting statement, for we all know that rocks are inanimate objects and, therefore, they do not have the breath to praise the Lord. Yet, Jesus said that if the people didn’t praise Him, the rocks would cry out!

In Psalm 148, we see that the psalmist wrote that all of creation praises God:

Praise Him, all His angels; praise Him, all His hosts! Praise Him, sun and moon; praise Him, all you stars of light! Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, and you waters above the heavens!

Psalm 148:2-4 NKJV

The psalmist continues by commanding everything in the seas and the oceans to praise the Lord. He calls for the lightning, the hail, the snow, and the clouds to praise the Lord! He remembers that the mountains, hills, trees, animals, birds, and every living thing on the earth are to give praise to the Lord!

In Psalm 98, the psalmist wrote:

Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills be joyful together before the Lord,

Psalm 98:8-9 NKJV

Even Isaiah declared that creation gives praise to God:

“For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace; the mountains and the hills
shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Isaiah 55:12 NKJV

I see it like this: creation has its way of praising God, and I don’t want to take its praise from it. By the same token, it can’t praise God for me! I’m going to give God all the praise due to His name because the rocks can’t praise Him like I can!

The rocks can’t praise Jesus for saving me! Only I can give Him praise for that! You might also praise Him for my salvation, but you can’t praise Him like I can for it! No one else loves me like He does! No one has delivered me like He has! And no one has healed me like He has healed me! Therefore, while others may rejoice with me, they can’t praise Him for the things He has done for me, like I can praise Him!

By the same token, although I might praise God for His marvelous works in your lives, only you can truly praise Him for what He has done! Only you know how good God has really been to you! Only you can testify to the greatness of His faithfulness towards you!

So not only should we not sit back and allow the rocks to praise God on our behalf, we should not allow others to praise Him more than we do for what He has done! God is too good to not give Him praise! God is too faithful to not be praised! There’s no other name whereby we can be saved except the name of Jesus, and we ought to praise Him for it! Don’t let the rocks beat you at praising God, for they have not experienced His goodness like we have!

As I conclude this mini-series on praise, for the moment, I just want to take some time and praise God for you! Although I am blogging in obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, it would not have any value if you didn’t read it! Don’t ever think I am blogging for any reason other than to lift up the name of Jesus and encourage fellow believers! You!

So go ahead and give Him some praise so that the rocks and all of creation don’t beat you to it! Wonderful Jesus!

You Have a Reason!

Psalm 30:11-12- You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, to the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever. NKJV

Praise the Lord!

The power of praise is not just about getting the victory over an enemy you can see, but it is also about getting the victory over the enemy when you can’t see it! As we have covered the many words in the Old Testament that are rendered praise in the English language, we have seen the multitude of ways that we can praise our God. But today, I want to focus on why we should praise Him!

Psalm 30 was sung at the dedication of the house of David. David closes this psalm by stating that God had turned his mourning into dancing for him. David had wanted to build the Lord a house, a stationary place of worship. But God told him not to do it! Can you imagine wanting to do something for God and being told that you can’t do it because you have too much blood on your hands? David had to be hurt and deeply disappointed to hear this news. But God didn’t leave him there! God told David that his son Solomon would build the temple, and because of David’s heart to build God a house, God told David that He would build David a house! Therefore, David rejoiced after his home was built, declaring that God had turned his mourning into dancing!

All of us can probably relate to the concept of mourning. Whether we mourn the loss of a loved one, a relationship, a job, or a ministry, grief isn’t a stranger to any of us. Yet, David found that God was capable of turning his time of mourning into a time of dancing. As a result of what God had done for David, David proclaimed that he would “yâda” the Lord forever!

There are many reasons we should always be found praising God. One of those reasons is that we are His people, and it’s a command to us. In Psalm 150 it states:

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!

Psalm 150:6 NKJV

Since there is breath in our bodies, we ought to be giving God praise! We all have something to praise Him for! Whether it is as spectacular as a miracle or as simple as the fact that we are still breathing, we have a reason to praise the Lord!

Praise belongs to the Lord! It’s another reason to give Him praise! He is our Creator, Deliverer, and righteousness, to name a few. No one else deserves His praise. He alone is exalted about the heavens; there is none like Him!

Let them praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted; His glory is above the earth and heaven. And He has exalted the horn of His people, the praise of all His saints—Of the children of Israel, a people near to Him. Praise the Lord!

Psalm 148:13-14 NKJV

Yes! Let’s just praise the Lord who is exalted over the earth! And let us praise the Name of the One who alone is exalted! He’s worthy of being praised!

God delivered David from the hands of his enemies! What enemies has God delivered us from? This is what David had to say after God delivered him from the hands of Saul:

“The Lord lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let God be exalted, the Rock of my salvation! It is God who avenges me, and subdues the peoples under me…Therefore I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the Gentiles, and sing praises to Your name.

2 Samuel 22:47-48, 50 NKJV

About forty years ago, the IRS wanted to audit the family business. Prayer was offered about the situation because no one understood why the IRS wanted to do an audit. After much prayer, my sister-in-law had a dream where an angel went into the office and told the IRS agent to leave them alone! Sure enough, the next day, there was a call to the accountant telling him that the audit had been dropped. God is a good God; yes, He is!

I remember when one of my students thought he could get me fired from my position. He began to rant and rave in front of the entire class with several accusations against me. While I wasn’t concerned about his lies, I understood that he needed to be shut down. As I went to my classroom door to see if I could get some assistance, the principal just happened to be passing by. When I explained what was happening, the student was removed from class and suspended for what he was trying to do! Hallelujah!

Those are not life-threatening enemies, but they are enemies nonetheless, and God was the Deliverer, as He has been on numerous occasions!

Another essential reason to praise God is His mercies, which each of us has been a recipient of!

I will praise You, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing to You among the nations. For Your mercy reaches unto the heavens, and Your truth unto the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be above all the earth.

Psalm 57:9-11 NKJV

I never wake up thinking that God’s mercy has run out and I have to ask for it again! It is always available! So I never fail to praise Him because of His mercy towards my family and me! As a matter of fact, Jeremiah said that we get new mercies every single morning!

Through the Lord’s mercies, we are not consumed because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23 NKJV

Have you ever gotten out of bed the morning after a mess-up and realized that you had access to new mercies? If you did, I’m sure you stopped to give Him some praise because mercy is what we don’t deserve, but that which He continuously gives to us! And if we haven’t been giving Him the praise for His mercies, then we certainly should stop right now and do so!

And since Jeremiah brought up His faithfulness, it is the last reason I will mention in this post! Solomon made an astounding statement about God in 1 Kings:

“Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. There has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised through His servant Moses.

1 Kings 8:56 NKJV

Solomon recognized and proclaimed the faithfulness of God! This caused praise to rise in his heart, and he had to get it out! God had been so faithful to the children of Israel and him that Solomon made it known that not one word of the promise God had made to them had failed! Not one!

I have been serving the Lord for a long time. Looking over my life, I can confidently say He has been faithful to me. I have endeavored to be faithful to Him, but there’s no doubt He has been faithful to me.

I have not exhausted the reasons why we should praise the Lord, but I thought it necessary to stop and mention that no matter our current circumstances, we have a reason to praise the Lord. So go ahead and give Him some praise! I even included a song for you to praise Him with! Wonderful Jesus!

Show Forth His Excellency!-A Repost

1 Peter 2:9 – But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

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In 2019, I wrote a series of posts on this verse in 1 Peter 2:9, and I invite you to check them out. But as I was thinking about a post for today, I decided to check and see if I had a post on this verse about praise, and that’s why I’m reposting it.

This verse is packed with the wonderful benefits afforded to the believer. I’d like to remind you once again what Peter is saying to us about who we are:

• A chosen generation-As such, we benefit from His protection and have access to His kingdom. We also share the same status with the Father that Jesus has. We like to think that we chose God, and we did! But the wonderful thing is that He chose us first! And as applicable as this verse was when Peter wrote it, it is still relevant today. Despite the news and the things that we see and hear, this generation was chosen by God!

• A royal priesthood- a kingly priesthood. We’ve been elevated to not only sonship but royalty that identifies us as kings. And in our kingly status, we offer sacrifices to the King of kings. Our sacrifices are not of bulls and goats but praise and worship!

• A holy nation-We are holy because His holiness comes into contact with us (after we are redeemed), causing us to be holy. And because He is holy, He demands us to also live a life that exemplifies holiness. No excuses!

• God’s special possession- We are acquired by our Heavenly Father with the precious Blood of Jesus and made to be His treasured possession. Our value to Him was so great that only the Blood of His Son could redeem us. He left our redemption to none but Himself, fulfilling all His redemption requirements while extending us much grace! If you want to read more about who we are according to 1 Peter 2:9, check out my blogs from 2019 on the topic!

Why would He do all of this for us? Why would He take “a wretch, a dirty ole sinner, a good for nothing slouch” and place him or her in His wonderful kingdom, giving us the status of a king-priest, the position of sonship, and call us His holy, treasured possession? Well, first and foremost, because He loves us.

Many people say they found the Lord when He was never lost. We were the ones lost, and He sent Jesus to give His life’s blood at Calvary to redeem us because of that love. So that’s the first and most important reason. And although I have brought that point out before, it needed to be made again. Oh, how He loves you and me!!

But according to this verse in 1 Peter, chapter 2, He did all of this that we might show forth His praises! Even if I didn’t do a word study on this part, I think it’s pretty clear what is being stated in this verse. But let’s check it out anyway!

The Greek word “exangello” is used in this verse and literally means “to tell out, proclaim abroad, to publish completely.” The Greek word for praise is “arete” and doesn’t mean praise as we think of it, but it means virtue or excellence.

We weren’t given this citizenship in the kingdom to just say praise God or even praise the Lord! Although that’s fine! But all of this was done so that we might spread abroad or publish God’s excellency. One commentator wrote that “arete” is better translated as “wonderful deeds.” From that perspective, our very lives are to proclaim the wonderful deeds of a loving God, our Father!

Another thing about the Father is He reigns supreme over all, and His Excellency has a lot to do with place or position of power. We proclaim His greatness, His power, His wonderful deeds, His excellency. Isaiah said it like this,

“They shall see the glory of the Lord, the excellency of our God.”

Isaiah 35:2b NKJV

And in Isaiah 43, he wrote:

This people I have formed for Myself; they shall declare My praise.

Isaiah 43:21 NKJV

We see an example of this from the Apostle Paul when he stood before King Agrippa in Acts 26:

“While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’  So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 

Acts 26:12-15 NKJV

Paul testifies of the excellency of the One who stopped him amid his sin, delivered him from himself and the clutches of the enemy, and gave purpose to his life! Paul continued to share with King Agrippa how he was sent to the Gentiles:

…to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’

Acts 26:18 NKJV

Paul’s testimony of the excellency of God, of his ministry, to turn people from darkness to light so that they might serve God was so powerful that King Agrippa responded:

“You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”

Acts 26: 28 NKJV

As we recognize the magnitude of what He has done for us, bringing us out of darkness into the Light, we cannot help but give Him praise and show that praise by sharing His goodness with others!

Recently, a group of us was sitting in a classroom preparing for the school year to begin. I don’t know how the conversation started, but one of the teachers began to share how her son was a cancer survivor. Then another person shared how she had a dream about her child that impacted her life. Then I entered the conversation and began to share how God gave me dreams about my children in different situations in their lives. By the time the conversation ended, we were almost in tears over the goodness of a God who loves us so much that He would speak to us.

No one was persuaded to become a Christian because they all believe that they are Christians, but I believe that God spoke to their hearts as I gave Him the glory for every dream He had given me, as well as for the things that the others had experienced! Showing forth His praise, His arete, that others may see His greatness left me such a sense of satisfaction in knowing Him that I felt ten feet tall afterward!

Now that I have had an opportunity to rejoice in a shared experience over His goodness, I look forward to the day when I get to share what it means to truly be a Christian! God doesn’t want men to be almost persuaded, but to be fully persuaded that He is God and there is none like Him!

As we go through this upcoming week, even in church tomorrow, may we take every opportunity to offer the kind of praise that shows forth His excellency to others. Wonderful Jesus!

The Power of Praise!

Psalm 113:2-3-Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forevermore!
From the rising of the sun to its going down the Lord’s name is to be praised.

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It is believed that Psalms 113 to 118 are the psalms that Jesus and His disciples sang during their last Passover together. Through these psalms, you will find words of praise to the Mighty God, who delivered His people out of bondage and led them to the Promised Land. As a part of the traditional Passover Feast, they ring with praise or “hālal” to the Great Deliverer!

Hālal is the Hebrew word from which we get our word “hallelujah,” and it literally means “Let us praise Yah!” Yah, of course, is a shortened version of the Hebrew name for God, which is Yahweh! Although I have a blog already addressing the word hālal, I realized that I had forgotten to make this point!

In our text, the psalmist declares that the name of the Lord is to be praised all day long! From sunrise to sunset! During their lifetime and during our lifetime! Any day and every day is a good day to give praise to the Lord. Whether we hālal, yādāh, tehillā, tôdāh, shabach, or barak the Lord, it is always a good time to offer praise to our God!

In the Old Testament, one of my favorite situations, where praise was used to bring a great deliverance, is found in the book of 2 Chronicles. It’s a familiar passage where we read of the three nations which decided to war against Jehoshaphat and the children of Judah. After praying and acknowledging their inability to handle this battle on their own, God sent them a word through a Levite, a son of Asaph. God told Jehosophat that they wouldn’t have to fight that battle because it belonged to Him!

And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem bowed before the Lord, worshiping the Lord. Then the Levites of the children of the Kohathites and of the children of the Korahites stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with voices loud and high.

2 Chronicles 20:18 NKJV

The word for praise in this verse is hālal! The Levites that David had appointed to hālal the Lord, day and night and on special occasions, were still leading the people in praise to the God of Israel. The next day, when they arose to obey the word of God, Jehosophat appointed singers to praise the Lord. And this amazing thing happened next:

Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated. For the people of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another.

2 Chronicles 20:22-23 NKJV

Look at God! He hadn’t told them how He would win the battle, just that He would handle it! But when they began to hālal and tehillah before the Lord, He caused the very people who had come to destroy Judah, to turn and destroy each other! Hallelujah! There’s a lesson in here for us! I hope you caught it! Some battles we are going to have to praise our way through because they are too great for us! Then we are going to have to trust that God will step into that battle and defeat our enemies!

The New Testament also has a favorite incident of mine surrounding praise found in the book of Acts! Paul and Silas were on their way to prayer when a girl with a spirit of divination followed behind them, crying,

 “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.”

Acts 16:17 NKJV

She did this for several days, to the point of immensely annoying Paul. One day Paul turned around and rebuked that spirit out of her, and she was set free. Before you start shouting, remember that this was not good news to the men who made money off her bondage. (It’s a lesson for another day, but it’s pretty sad how many people profit from others being held in bondage and then they become angry when the people are set free!) They were so angry at what Paul had done that they dragged Paul and Silas to the magistrates and stirred up the people against them.

Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods.  And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely.

Acts 16:22-23 NKJV

Paul and Silas were beaten by a mob and thrown into prison. This was not a few whacks to keep them in line, but it was mob action that was meant to be very painful, resulting in many wounds! You would think they would be so weak in their bodies and weary in their spirits that they would seek rest to maintain their strength. Luke, however, tells us a different story:

But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.

Acts 16:25-26 NKJV

I don’t know why I just thought of a book I once read to my students, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” by Judith Viorst! Alexander perceived he would have a terrible day because he went to sleep with gum in his mouth and woke up with gum in his hair! We have no knowledge that Paul and Silas perceived their day would end the way it did, but things went south fast. From my point of view, it was a terrible day for Paul and Silas!

But when midnight came, they weren’t moaning and groaning. They weren’t complaining and pointing out their woes. They started praying and singing hymns to God! And did you see God move? He sent an earthquake that shook the prison’s foundations so much that all of the doors were opened, and everybody’s chains were loosed! Now that’s pretty amazing! Their praise caused an earthquake that brought their deliverance! Only God!

In both the Old and New Testaments, we can see that praise is powerful! Whether the attacks we face are physical or spiritual, praise is a weapon we can use to defeat the enemy. Although our praise is focused on the great God we serve, anything can happen when He steps into our praise!

David had this to say about praise:

I will bless (barak) the Lord at all times; His praise (tehilla) shall  continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast (hālal)in the Lord; the humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.

Psalm 34:1-3 NKJV

Wonderful, wonderful Jesus!

The Shout of Victory!

Psalm 95:1-2-Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. NKJV

There comes a time in all of our lives when things come that seem bigger than we are! That’s not always a bad place to be because that is when we can count on the One who is bigger than our circumstances. It’s not that He isn’t always there, because He is! But when things look their most challenging and there seems no way to victory, it’s a good time to shout to the Lord!

Joshua and the Israelites had wandered in the desert for forty years. I know you have heard the account of what happened, but for today’s blog, I need to review it! As they got to Jericho and saw the fortified walls, the hope of victory seemed slim indeed. But Joshua sought the Lord for a strategy. God told Joshua to gather the warriors and march around Jericho’s walls once a day for six days. But on the seventh day, they were to be given different instructions:

But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him.”

Joshua 6:4b-5 NKJV

God told the people to rûa on the seventh day! Rûa means to raise a shout! This strategy to cause the walls to fall seems ridiculous to the intellectual mind, but archaeologists have found proof that the walls appeared to have fallen in a way that holds to the scriptural account of what happened. Not that I need their word, because I have God’s word that this is what happened! They raised a shout, a rûa, and the thickest wall ever built came down!

In Psalm 95, David wrote that we are to shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation! David said that as we enter into His presence with thanksgiving, we are to shout joyfully to the Lord. Both of these phrases, “shout joyfully,” are translated from the Hebrew word “rûa”! This is the same word God commanded Joshua and the Israelites to do at the walls of Jericho! Raise up a shout!

Rûa is a war cry! It was the cry of alarm for battle and the shout of victory! In other words, the same shout you give as a battle cry is the same shout you give to declare your victory!

For six days, the warriors of Israel walked around the walls of Jericho! Can you imagine what was going through the people’s minds inside the walls when they saw the Israelites? They probably had their battle array on, their weapons in their hands, and their minds made up to defend their city, but instead of an attack, the Israelites walked around the walls in silence and returned to their camps.

Jericho warrior 1: What in the world just happened here?

Jericho warrior 2: I have no idea! What kind of battle plan is that? They didn’t do anything! I thought they would attack!

Jericho warrior 1: Of course you did! We all did! I don’t know what they just did, but I believe they will return, and we have to stay ready because they are trying to catch us unprepared.

Jericho warrior 2: You are probably right! I’ll go back to my spot!

But the second day arrived with the same results. Until the sixth day!

Jericho warrior 1: This is ridiculous! What are they doing? What are they waiting for?

Jericho warrior 2: I don’t know! But it’s wreaking havoc on everybody’s nerves! We were already stretched thin with worry and fear; now, we add sleeplessness and terror to the mix. This is worst than fighting!

Jercho warrior 1: Yea! I have a bad feeling about this! A really bad feeling!

Then on the seventh day, the warriors of Israel returned again. After the first circuit around the walls, they walked again, and again, and again! Seven times in total. Except for the sound of the feet of the warriors, everyone else was still. Silently waiting for what was about to happen next. Then suddenly, the leader, a man called Joshua, said, “Rûa, for the Lord has given you the city!” And the people raised their voices, giving out the most deafening shout ever heard. A sound that traveled through the thick walls into every crevice of Jericho, causing fear to ricochet throughout the land!

Then another sound was heard. The sound of fear as the walls began to move and shake as if a mighty hand was pushing against them. The people of Jericho started screaming, adding their own shouts to the rûa of the people of God. They began to run and scramble around, looking for an escape plan. But suddenly, the warriors started entering the city, and the handwriting was on the walls. The city had been given to the people of God!

The Sons of Korah wrote a psalm that begins with these words:

Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph!
For the Lord Most High is awesome; He is a great King over all the earth.

Psalm 47:1-2 NKJV

Let’s make some noise for God!!! Clap your hands and shout to God with the voice of triumph! Rûa to the Lord Most High, for He is awesome and the great King over all the earth! In another psalm, it is written:

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises

Psalm 98:4 NKJV

Things are not looking too wholesome around the world today. Many things happening would make a strong man run and hide. But this is still the day the Lord has made, and we are to be glad and rejoice in it! This is not the time for hiding from the enemy. It’s time for shouting because we win! Irrespective of what we see, hear, or even experience at times, God always triumphs over the enemy!

God’s declaration to us is the same as it was to the children of Israel:

 Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God

Psalm 100:1-3 NKJV

Our shout isn’t because we are trying to frighten the devil! Our shout is to the great and awesome God, our heavenly Father! But I can easily imagine that when the people of God shout triumphantly before the Lord our God, Satan begins to shake in fear because he knows the power of the rûa! It’s a shout of war and the sound of victory! Even if you don’t see the victory and can’t feel it or know how it will come, rûa to the Lord your God, for He has given you the victory! Wonderful Jesus!

Sacrifice of Praise!

Jeremiah 33:11- The voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who will say: “Praise the Lord of hosts,
for the Lord is good, for His mercy endures forever”—and of those who will bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord. For I will cause the captives of the land to return as at the first,’ says the Lord. NKJV

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Whenever I think of the phrase “sacrifice of praise” I think of a person who is struggling in the Lord, and out of that struggle, they give God praise! Even now, I have a tendency of thinking that way. But nothing could be further from the truth!

Tôdâ is the Hebrew word from which we get our English word, thanksgiving or sacrifice of praise. It is a time of dancing and singing before the Lord and not a time of mourning and struggling.

Jeremiah describes tôdâ in the key verse as a voice of joy and gladness! He depicts it as the bride and groom’s voice who say, “praise the Lord”! This sounds like a time of celebration! Not a time of struggling!

David used the word tôdâ in several of his psalms to the Lord. In Psalm 26, David stated:

That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all Your wondrous works. Lord, I have loved the habitation of Your house,
And the place where Your glory dwells.

Psalm 26:7b-8 NKJV

The voice of thanksgiving is the voice of tôdâ, which is also the sacrifice of praise. I believe in this rendering of the Hebrew word tôdâ, the sacrifice of praise is not a solemn occasion or an effort to praise God when you don’t feel like it. I believe the act of praise, or tôdâ, is the sacrifice! In place of bulls or goats, we are to bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord our God! Praise filled with thanksgiving for all the wonderful things God has done for us!

Asaph was given the responsibility, as a Levite, to offer praise to the Lord in the temple that Solomon built. David had assigned him and the tribe of Levites to this task to ensure that praise and worship were held day and night and on every special occasion. Asaph wrote this psalm of the Lord:

Whoever offers praise glorifies Me; and to him who orders his conduct aright
I will show the salvation of God.”

Psalm 50:23 NKJV

Whoever offers tôdâ to the Lord brings Him glory! Why? Because the voice of joy and thanksgiving is a sweet-smelling aroma before the Lord! As we offer thanks to Him for His wonderful works, mercy, and grace towards us, it brings Him glory! It’s a sacrifice He can appreciate!

Jonah recognized his foolishness while sitting in the great fish’s belly. He had done all he could to avoid God’s will and ended up in an impossible situation. Jonah wrote:

“Those who regard worthless idols forsake their own Mercy. But I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.”

Jonah 2:8-9 NKJV

Jonah was in a tough situation. He had messed up before God. But as he began to offer the sacrifice of praise with a voice of thanksgiving, God had the fish spit him up on the dry ground! There is power in our praise! Not the “woe is me” praise, but the praise that is filled with such thanksgiving to the Lord that things begin to change in our lives!

Whenever the Israelites needed to get back in sync with the Lord, they offered tôdâ to the Lord. This sacrifice of praise, rendered via thanksgiving, set them in the mind frame of recognizing the greatness of God! When Hezekiah became king of Judah, he cleansed the temples, restored the Levites to offering praise in the temple, and set God’s house back in order! (2 Chronicles 29:31)

When Nehemiah dedicated the wall of Jerusalem, he called for the Levites to offer tôdâ to the Lord for helping them to accomplish the task:

Now at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought out the Levites in all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication with gladness, both with thanksgivings and singing, with cymbals and stringed instruments and harps. 

Nehemiah 12:27 NKJV

They even formed two thanksgiving choirs to participate in the offering of tôdâ! It was a high time of celebration! And any time we stop and celebrate the Lord is a good time!

One of my favorite scriptures using tôdâ also happens to be in one of my favorite psalms, Psalm 100:

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.

Psalm 100:4 -5 NKJV

I learned this verse as a young believer in the Lord. It’s a reminder to me of the way I am to enter into the place of worship, my church. I used to be a part of the praise team, and we would always discuss how we noticed when people were disengaged during the time of worship.

Since I had already made a covenant with the Lord that Psalm 100:4 would be my attitude for worship, it didn’t affect me because it was never about the people. It was always about how I wanted to approach the Lord!

Even in my time before the Lord, I spend time singing, but mostly I give Him thanks! Sometimes I seem repetitive for the things that I thank Him for, but I don’t care; I just keep thanking Him! I thank Him continuously for being a good God and Father to me. I thank Him for His hand in my life! I thank Him because I have the privilege of praying to Him! I thank Him because He has been better to me than I can ever be to myself! So, I truly appreciate that tôdâ is an expression of praise through thanksgiving because He is worthy of that type of praise from all of us!

So the next time you hear the phrase “sacrifice of praise,” understand that you are not sacrificially praising God because you don’t feel like it; it’s just the opposite! You are offering up a sacrifice that only you can give to the Lord, one of thanksgiving for all He has done and all He has been to you! He’s worthy of the sacrifice and so worthy of the praise! Wonderful Jesus!

A Lifting of the Hands!

Psalm 30:11-12-You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, to the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever. NKJV

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photo by Terren Hurst on Unsplash

When you come into the church for the first time, you can feel ignorant regarding everything you see and hear. At least, I remember feeling that way as I was introduced to the pentecostal believers. Their time of worship excluded the hymns I had grown to love, their instruments were more than the organ, and the songs were sung with a loud sound and a jubilant dance! I didn’t know what to make of it all!

As you grow old in the things of the church, you can sound pretty ignorant when you can’t explain what is happening around you; you just participate. While you may not always be able to place a name on everything happening, you should at least know what is scriptural and what isn’t. Why are all these hands lifted up? That’s our topic for today!

Another word used to praise the Father is the Hebrew word yâdâh! The first time the word yâdâh appears in the scriptures is in Genesis:

And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Now I will praise the Lord.” Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she stopped bearing.Genesis 29:35 NKJV

In the natural, it appeared that Leah found her worth in childbearing. When she had her fourth son, she was so delighted that it caused her to “yâdâh” the Lord for his birth. To yâdâh, the Lord is to express thanks or praise to Him. It literally means to extend or throw out your hand, or even to throw or cast a stone away or at something. So when we yâdâh the Lord, we throw our hands in the air and wave them in praise or thanks!

David sang these words to the Lord at the dedication of his house:

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, to the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.Psalm 30:11-12 NKJV

He was so thankful to God for building him a house. If you recall, David wanted to build God a house, but God told him his hands were too bloody. In return, God built David a house! He had so much family drama after his affair with Bathsheba that he was all over the place. But then God promised to establish his kingdom forever, taking his sorrow and replacing it with such thankfulness that he began to dance, sing, and yâdâh the Lord! I know how he felt!

I remember the day the Lord stepped into my mourning and turned it into dancing! I was in my apartment when I remembered it was my mother’s birthday. In every prior year, I would grieve on that day because I couldn’t spend it with her anymore. As I made the connection and was beginning to return to that place of mourning, God stopped me in my thoughts! He basically told me that I could continue down this path or release the sorrow to Him and move on with living. As I gave over to His peace, I became highly thankful that I didn’t have to sorrow anymore! Wonderful Savior!

Yâdâh is an expression of thanks! David used this word multiple times in the scriptures, particularly in psalms!

On that day David first delivered this psalm into the hand of Asaph and his brethren, to thank the Lord: Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples!1 Chronicles 16:7-8 NKJV

The ark of the covenant had been restored to its rightful place. David gave a psalm to Asaph and his brethren to yâdâh the Lord. The first line in the psalm encouraged the people to provide yâdâh the Lord and to call upon His name! Have you ever been so thankful to God for His blessings in your life that your hand just went up in the air? Almost of its own accord and a testament of how filled your heart was with thankfulness and praise? It’s a beautiful expression to the Lord!

While the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness, the Levites were responsible for transporting the tabernacle and all its articles used during worship. But after the tabernacle was built, they had a new assignment that included:

To stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord, and likewise at evening; and at every presentation of a burnt offering to the Lord on the Sabbaths and on the New Moons and on the set feasts, by number according to the ordinance governing them, regularly before the Lord;1 Chronicles 23:30-31 NKJV

David wanted to know that yâdâh would be given to the Lord, His God, in the new tabernacle, so he assigned this responsibility to the Levites! Now, instead of carrying the physical tabernacle, they were responsible for lifting their hands in yâdâh and praising the Lord in the morning, at night, and on every occasion!

I learned today that yâdâh also means to confess. So in the area of praise, we confess how great our God is when we yâdâh! But not only that, as we confess our sins, we cast them upon the Lord! Let’s validate this in scripture:

“When Your people Israel are defeated before an enemy because they have sinned against You, and when they turn back to You and confess Your name, and pray and make supplication to You in this temple..1 Kings 8:33 NKJV

As Solomon prayed to God during the temple’s dedication, Solomon asked the Lord to remember His people when they confess, or yâdâh, His name! As we lift our hands to God, in a sign of surrender to His will and dominion, we confess that He is more extensive than us and more significant than our problems. That truth alone is worth throwing your hands in the air and giving Him praise!

Then those of Israelite lineage separated themselves from all foreigners; and they stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for one-fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the Lord their God.Nehemiah 9:1-2 NKJV

The word for confessed is actually the word yâdâh! So as they confessed their sins to Lord, casting them away, worship filled their hearts for the Lord! Have you ever thought about whether your confession of sin was genuine? Well, here in scripture, we notice that they confessed and worshipped. There is something profoundly moving about turning the worst of who you are over to the best of who He is that will cause thanksgiving and praise to fill you!

David used the word yâdâh in many of his psalms for different reasons. He raised his hands to yâdâh the Lord, for His righteousness:

I will praise the Lord according to His righteousness,
And will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.Psalm 7:17 NKJV

David lifted his hands to the Lord for all of His marvelous works:

 I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works.
I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.Psalm 9:1-2 NKJV

And David lifted up his hands and cast words of adoration to his God for being his strength, his shield, and his help:

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him.Psalm 28:7 NKJV

I’m sure that you have been lifting up your hands in praise to our God for years. Maybe you could put a name on it, or perhaps you couldn’t! But you understood that there are some times in life when there is a lifting of the hands because nothing else will do! Wonderful Jesus!