HABAKKUK 3:17-19: “Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though the flocks disappear from the pen and there are no herds in the stalls, yet I will celebrate in the Lord; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation! The Lord my Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like those of a deer and enables me to walk on mountain heights! For the choir director: on stringed instruments.” CSB
OBSERVATION: Have you ever stopped to consider the power of praise? The power of praise is a gift from God to us. It lifts us from our valley of despair and transports us to the mountain tops of faith and hope. One of the most powerful things we can do in life is praise the Lord!
Some misunderstand praise. They envision a power hungry God who simply wants his subjects to tell Him how great He is. This is a gross misunderstanding of praise. Praise is not an egotistical God who wants to be told over and over again how great He is. Praise is an all loving, benevolent God, who wants to share His glory and goodness with His creation. Praise is the invitation to love and be loved by the Creator of the universe.
The world should not be mystified by the power of praise. It is used every day in our places of work, our human relationships, and in the music that we listen to. Someone once wisely said – “You can attract more bees with honey than with vinegar.” Honey is the power of praise. It is the exchange of love and affirmation between two people. And, when that exchange takes place between a person and God, wonderful things begin to happen!
- “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far from my deliverance and from my words of groaning? My God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, by night, yet I have no rest. But you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in you; they trusted, and you rescued them. They cried to you and were set free; they trusted in you and were not disgraced.” Psalms 22:1-5 CSB
Like Habakkuk, the Psalmist felt like God had abandoned him. God seemed so far away from his current distress. He continued to pray, day and night, but the answer seemed always out of reach. And, then he began to give the Lord praise. When he did something wonderful happened. God enthroned himself upon his praises. Through praise the Psalmist exchanged his control and understanding of the situation for God’s. The result was a strengthening of his faith.
This too happened in the life of Habakkuk. Faced with the frightening expectation of the Babylonians conquering Jerusalem, all seemed bleak and lost. God seemed far away. And then Habakkuk began to offer his heart in praise to the living God. His sacrifice of praise was truly a sacrifice. He praised the Lord even without an answer from the Lord. In a moment it was no longer the circumstances that were controlling him.
- “Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though the flocks disappear from the pen and there are no herds in the stalls…”
As Habakkuk set his heart to praise the Lord everything else became insignificant. His praise was no longer based on whether he received the answer he wanted. His praise was based on who God is, who He has been, and who He will be!
- “…Yet I will celebrate in the Lord; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation! The Lord my Lord is my strength…”
And, as Habakkuk lifted his heart in praise to the living God, something wonderful happened. In the midst of coming judgment, in a time when he could not see or understand what the future would hold, his faith lifted him from his place of despair. He encountered the love of God as the Lord took the throne of Habakkuk’s heart and ruled over his concerns.
- “The Lord my Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like those of a deer and enables me to walk on mountain heights! For the choir director: on stringed instruments.”
Habakkuk, as he began to lift his heart in praise to the Lord, received God’s strength and a fresh infusion of faith. His ashes were turned into beauty. In the place of mourning he received the oil of joy. And, his heavy heart was lifted by the garment of praise!
No matter what we may face, there is power in praise! Praise ushers us into the presence of the living God. It avails us of all the resources of His heavenly throne. It conquers the enemy and it refocuses our heart upon the one Who was, Who is, and Who is to come!
Praise changes everything!
- “Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 CSB
Lord, this morning, I choose to praise!
In Jesus Name!