A Stronghold of Praise

My family recently had an opportunity to go to a Mariners baseball game.  We were given fantastic seats just a few rows up from the field on the third base line.  We’ve sat here before and the only problem with these seats is that, due to their position near the opposing team’s dugout, the section surrounding them is favored by the opposing team’s fans.  These fans are of course still very much in the minority, but this tends to make them particularly loud and obnoxious.  As the opposing team quickly pulled to a 3-0 lead their cheers and taunts amidst the quiet of the rest of the crowd became downright discouraging!

But then things started to change.  All of a sudden the M’s had the bases loaded with no outs.  The Mariners fans were no longer quiet.  Then Austin Jackson stepped up and hit a grand slam! As we jumped to our feet cheering and high-fiving, the last thing that could be heard in that huge stadium was anyone on the other side.  Whether they were actually saying anything or not, our cheers had effectively silenced them.

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The next morning I read Psalm 8 and paused over verse 2: Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.

I was struck by what God was telling me through this verse.  When I spend time in praise, when I make praise a pattern in my life, I am allowing God to build a wall of protection around me.  When I fill my home with praise, when I draw praise into conversation with my husband and my kids, I am allowing God to build a wall of protection around my family.

The voices of Complaint, Discontent, Anger, Fear are drowned out by praises to our Powerful, Sovereign, Majestic, Creator, Loving, Savior God.

Praise is powerful!

Then I ‘happened’ upon Psalm 68:11-12 which says The Lord announces the word, and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng: Kings and armies flee in haste; the women at home divide the plunder.  Maybe its just me, but I love that image.  When I proclaim God’s word, when I lift my voice in praise, I am part of a mighty throng triumphant over my enemies, filling my home with the ‘plunder’ of God’s blessings and a better knowledge of Him.

And just as I can be a part of building this wall of protection around myself and my family, I can do this for others in my life as well.  Any time I lift up God to others, any time I speak of His word and His truth, I am silencing the foe and the avenger, building a wall of protection.

Far too often we allow the foe and avenger to have the loudest voice.  Even in our prayers we focus on our troubles.  Instead, try starting with praise.  Look at who God is, what His word says to be true about Him, then it becomes much easier to actually lay down those troubles to Him.

In the weeks since I encountered these verses I’ve continued to read through the Psalms and am so enjoying the many rich words of praise.  I’m tempted to share many of them with you here but I’ll hold back a little and just leave you with this….

Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord from the heavens;
    praise him in the heights above.
Praise him, all his angels;
    praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
Praise him, sun and moon;
    praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, you highest heavens
    and you waters above the skies.

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    for at his command they were created,
and he established them for ever and ever—
    he issued a decree that will never pass away.

Praise the Lord from the earth,
    you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
    stormy winds that do his bidding,
you mountains and all hills,
    fruit trees and all cedars,
wild animals and all cattle,
    small creatures and flying birds,
kings of the earth and all nations,
    you princes and all rulers on earth,
young men and women,
    old men and children.

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    for his name alone is exalted;
    his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.
And he has raised up for his people a horn,[
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    the praise of all his faithful servants,
    of Israel, the people close to his heart.

Praise the Lord.

              Psalm 148