READ: Psalm 149, Mark 3, Hebrews 13
The writer of Hebrews provides a foundation for the high praises of God. Praise is sourced in both the actualized and the anticipated presence of Jesus. The actualized presence of Jesus easily produces praise. We experience the presence of Jesus, it overwhelms us with wonder, and our mouth simply expresses the joyful churning of our heart. The anticipated presence of Jesus requires a higher praise–the praise of faith. High praise exalts Jesus for His character, whether or not the current reality is pleasurable. We are told in Hebrews 13:12-15 that Jesus suffered outside the gate and that we are to go there with Him, bearing His reproach for we have no continuing city here on earth. Therefore we continually offer a sacrifice of praise. Praise that costs us something is high praise. Praise that follows Jesus, magnifying Him every difficult step of the way, is praise that delights the Lord. High praise is perhaps the most underused weapon in the Christian arsenal (Psalm 149:6). It is an honor available to all the saints, an honor not often employed.
High Praise Executes Vengeance on the Nations and Punishes the Peoples (Psalm 149:7). The way of Jesus is so delightfully contrary to that of the world. In the course of life there will be many injustices done against the people of God, against the Lord’s Christ. Our revenge is praise. In the face of great malice, we turn the other cheek by opening our mouth and declaring the preeminence of Jesus. In the Spirit realm, we strike back with praise. Our revenge on our oppressors is to ignore them and concentrate on the beauty and majesty of God. Nothing hurts a bully like being ignored. High praise turns our attention away from evil people and onto God, effectively neutralizing them by making them non-factors.
High Praise Binds Kings and Nobles (Psalm 149:8). It is easy to forget that God is sovereign when we bump into officials high and low who make normal life difficult. Little men strut around clutching their nominal authority fiercely, determined to make things difficult for God’s representatives. Authorities in non-compliance with the King of Kings do all they can to frustrate the work of God. We bind those who seek to bind us by high praise. When we bump up to the official obstacles of those who wittingly or otherwise resist what God is doing in the world, we overcome the opposition by opening our mouth and rejoicing in Jesus.
High Praise Exercises Written Judgment (Psalm 149:9). When we sense a lag between the decrees of God and their effectual working, we bridge the gap by praise. God proclaims, we praise, and judgment falls. It does us no good to fret or complain during delays; this type of response is akin to going to war with a blunt sword. The sharp, two-edged sword of the follower of Jesus is verbalized, authentic praise–praise that precedes the realization of God’s proclamations.