By Michael Clack –
Last Sunday I was privileged enough to preach on something I am very passionate about. My topic was this concept of praise being a tool to bring in the Kingdom of God. Before you continue reading this, I would suggest reading the blogs I wrote on the different Hebrew words for praise (links at the end of this post).
Jesus told us to pray this prayer:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed (holy) be Your Name.
Your Kingdom come, Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
The order of this prayer is no coincidence. We begin with praising God, and then move into a cry of yearning for God’s Kingdom to come. The word ‘Kingdom’ is a blend of two words: King and domain. The Kingdom is therefore the King’s domain, the place where God rules and reigns.
Our God is Enthroned
Now, how does praise help bring this Kingdom here on earth? There is a fascinating verse found in Psalm 22:3 – ‘Yet You are holy, dwelling on or inhabiting the praises of Your people.’ The word for praise in this verse is tehillah; God dwells upon our song of exaltation, rehearsed or spontaneous. Before we journey through this verse, I want us to look at a beautiful picture of who our God is.
In Revelation, we see incredible pictures of the holiness and power of our God. Just read Revelation 4 and 5 and you’ll see what I’m talking about. From His throne come flashes of lightning, rumbling and peals of thunder. The angels can’t stop saying ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come’. He is so holy, worthy of everything that we have.
Think about the atmosphere of heaven. Place yourself in John’s sandals when he arrives at heaven’s gates and enters God’s throne-room. The lightning, the thunder, the floor made of glass and fire; angels singing God’s praises and adoring Him. What a beautiful experience. In studying the environment of heaven, I found two foundational principles: praise and worship, and peace. These are the two characteristics that you find in God’s Kingdom, in the place that He rules.
This God, who sits in unapproachable light and in unimaginable power, is the One who dwells upon our praises (Psalm 22). Incredible!
Walls and Gates
How does all of this help us to see how God’s Kingdom comes when we praise? Isaiah 60:18 and 62:10 are very helpful.
Is 60:18 says, “you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise.” Isaiah 62:10 then explains, “Go through, go through the gates; prepare a way for the people; build up, build up the highway; clear it of stones; lift up a signal over the people.” The word for ‘praise’ in Isaiah 60:18 is the same word as in Psalm 22: tehillah. Let’s tie this together.
A gate is a transition place from one realm to another. Here is the principle: When we praise, we create gates for people to walk through, and God’s glory manifests on the praise that we give Him; the environment of heaven is released around us. These created gates lead from one realm (darkness), to another realm (the Kingdom of God). Isaiah explains it in that we walk through gates into a place where the walls are Salvation. When Jesus died and rose again, He tore down the wall of separation between us and God, and erected a wall of Salvation, a place of peace and relationship with God. Our praise therefore has the power to create gates for people to walk through into salvation. We need to ‘prepare a way for the people’ to enter in.
Creating an Atmosphere of Heaven
When we adore and worship God, we start to create the atmosphere and environment of heaven around us. I heard a quote that said ‘we need to pull heaven down with our praises’. We need to become a people who praise God and carry the authority of heaven around with us. Don’t get me wrong: God is the One who has all the power and can do all things, but His desire is to partner with us to bring restoration and the realm of His Kingdom to earth.
In Mark 14 we see a beautiful story of Mary anointing Jesus with expensive perfume. It was a striking picture of worship and adoration. Here’s what Mary’s act did: it exposed the heart attitudes of everyone else in the room. There were different responses to her act. When someone creates gates of praise, worshipping God, it demands a response from everyone around and exposes their hearts. The challenge facing us is: What atmosphere are we creating in our surroundings?
I want to challenge us to see what atmosphere we are creating around us. Is it one of negativity, where complaint and moaning are evident, or are we creating an atmosphere of power, where God is able to move through us? The Bible tells us that we are the aroma of God, the fragrance of Christ to those around us. When you drive to work, are you praising God and creating gates for the people at your work place? When you are on your way to meet with friends, are you surrendering yourself to God in adoration so that they may walk through these gates into walls of salvation?
The possibilities are endless as to what God can accomplish with those who are willing to partner with Him on this glorious mission. Let us be a church that creates wonderful gates for people to walk through.
Picture by Paballo Thekiso
Read Michael’s previous post’s here: