One Sunday recently, my pastor was speaking and said several times that God inhabits the praises of his people. That comes from Psalm 22:3 KJV says, “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” I’ve heard that many times over the years, but I’ve never stopped to think about it. But on that Sunday, it stuck in my mind and led to a chain reaction of thoughts, and I asked myself, why does God inhabit the praises of His people? Then I thought about how there are a lot of verses in the bible exhorting us to praise and worship God.
That led to me asking, why does God want us to praise Him so much? If a person was always wanting the praise of other people, we would think they’re arrogant, stuck on themselves, narcissistic, or insecure and need people’s praise to feel good about themselves. I don’t think any of that applies to God.
Then I thought about something else our pastor has said from time to time; when God asks us a question, it’s not for His benefit, it’s for our benefit. In the Bible, you can see God and Jesus asking people questions. They already knew the answer to the question, but it was for the benefit of the person being asked the question. The question causes the person to confess, acknowledge, commit, and clarify their thoughts.
So, I thought that sincere praise isn’t for His benefit, but for ours.
Why is that?
I say sincere praise because people praise other people all the time, but they don’t mean it. They’re just wanting something from that person, so they flatter them. Sometimes, we do that to God, or we stand in church and go through the motions, but our heart and mind are a million miles away. We may think about all we have to do after church, or some problem that just won’t go away. I know I’ve done that from time to time. I must get myself to focus on the praise and worship and make it into a sincere praise and worship.
That partially answered the question of why sincere praise and worship is for our benefit and not God’s. It causes us to focus our attention on God. How is that to our benefit?
Isaiah 26:3 NKJV says, You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.
It gives us peace of mind and is a declaration of our trust in God. I stop thinking about all the things I must do or the problems I have and focus on the One who holds all those things in His hands. I realize all the things I think I need to do or the problems I have aren’t as overwhelming as I thought they were.
Sincere praise is also a tremendous declaration of our faith in Him.
In Acts 16:16-40, the Romans beat, whipped, and threw Paul and Silas into jail. During that dire situation, they prayed and sang praises to God. He inhabited their praises, and the foundation of the prison shook, and He freed them. That led to them witnessing to the keeper of the prison and all his family and they became believers in God.
Paul and Silas had total, unwavering faith in God and their praise ushered in the presence of God, and the jailer wanted that. So, it’s not only for our benefit, but for others as well.
Those are just a couple of reasons God would inhabit the sincere praises of his people. Maybe there are other reasons you’ve thought of, and I would love the hear what they are.