Naturally, praise follows on the heels of prayer. But praise is far more than an expression of gratitude…it is a weapon that will silence the enemy. Praise reveals and calls forth God’s awesomeness against the enemies of God’s people.
It’s good to be with you again as we follow through our theme of “Spiritual Warfare.” In my talk yesterday I spoke about the weapon of prayer. I called it the Holy Spirit’s intercontinental ballistic missile, the long-range weapon that can strike Satan’s strongholds and demolish them anywhere in the universe. I gave examples from the book of Acts of how fervent, united prayer by the church in Jerusalem had broken through the heavenlies and released the supernatural intervention of angels to perform two dramatic miracles. First, the release of Peter from the maximum security prison; second, the judgment of a deadly and disgusting sickness upon the persecuting King Herod, which caused his death.
Today I am going to deal with the next great weapon of attack that follows logically after prayer and that is praise. Perhaps, in a sense, you could consider praise one type of prayer.
In the Bible, praise is frequently related to God’s awesomeness or fearfulness. Praise calls forth God’s supernatural intervention and is also the appropriate response to that intervention. Here is an example from the book of Exodus, the song of Moses, the song that Moses and Israel sang after their deliverance from Egypt and after Pharaoh’s army had been destroyed by the waters of the Red Sea.
“Thou didst blow with Thy wind, the sea covered them; They sank like lead in the mighty waters. Who is like Thee among the gods, O Lord? Who is like Thee, majestic in holiness, Awesome in praises, working wonders?” (NAS)
Note the phrase “awesome in praises.” Praise reveals and calls forth God’s awesomeness, His fearfulness, especially against the enemies of God’s people.
And then in Psalm 22:23:
“You who fear the Lord, praise Him; All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, And stand in awe of Him, all you descendants of Israel.” (NAS)
Notice that praise is the appropriate response by God’s people to His awesomeness, to His fearful acts of war and vengeance on their behalf. This is more fully developed in Psalm 8:2:
“From the mouth of infants and nursing babes Thou hast established strength, Because of Thine adversaries, To make the enemy and the revengeful cease.” (NAS)
We see here that God has provided strength for His people against their enemies. Two words are used for the enemy. First of all, adversaries in the plural. I believe that means Satan’s kingdom, generally the principalities and powers, the rulers and authorities that are spoken of in Ephesians 6:12. But then the psalmist also speaks about the enemy, singular. I believe that is Satan himself the enemy, singular. Satan the adversaries, the representatives of Satan’s kingdom, generally.
God has provided His people strength to deal with this entire kingdom. The nature of the strength that God has provided is more fully revealed in the New Testament in Matthew 21:15-16. This records an incident in the ministry of Jesus when He was in the temple performing miracles and the little children were running to and fro crying, “Hosannah!” and the religious leaders asked Jesus to silence the children. Here we have the reply of Jesus:
“But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He had done, and the children who were crying out in the temple and saying, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David,’ they became indignant, and said to Him, ‘Do You hear what these are saying?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Yes; have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babes Thou has prepared praise for Thyself’?’” (NAS)
Jesus answered them by quoting that verse in Psalm 8:2, but He changed the quotation just a little. He gave us, as it were, His own comment. The psalmist said, “Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babes Thou hast established strength.” Jesus said, “Thou hast prepared praise.” So that reveals what the strength of God’s people is. It is praise. Praise is our great source of strength.
Notice certain other things about this revelation. First of all, in each case it says, “out of the mouth.” The mouth is the primary channel for releasing spiritual forces, for releasing our spiritual weapons against Satan’s kingdom. Secondly, it speaks of “infants and babes.” This, I believe, means those who have no natural strength of their own, they have to rely on God’s strength. In Matthew 11:25, Jesus spoke like this about His own disciples:
“At that time Jesus answered and said, ‘I praise Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou didst hide these things from the wise and intelligent and didst reveal them to babes.’” (NAS)
He was talking about His own disciples. So babes are not necessarily those who are just newly born in the natural but they are those who have no natural strength of their own, who have to depend totally on God’s strength.
The result of the use of praise as a weapon is to silence Satan. This lines up with what we read in Revelation 12:10, a vision that is yet to be fulfilled but tells us a great deal about Satan’s activity at this time.
“And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night.’” (NAS)
This tells us what Satan’s primary activity is, his main weapon against us. It is accusations. He is accusing us continually before God day and night. It occurs to me that if Satan is busy day and night, we cannot afford to be busy only in the daytime; we have got to meet him day and night.
Why does Satan accuse us? What is his purpose? The answer is he wants to make us guilty because that is his main weapon against us, is guilt. He achieves it by accusation. Well then, you might say, “Well, why doesn’t God silence Satan?” The answer is simple. Because God has given us the means to silence Satan and He is not going to do it for us. What does that mean? It is praise, “out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants.” Praise that ascends through the heavenlies, reaches the throne of God, and silences Satan’s accusations against us. Isn’t that good news, that there is a way we can silence Satan?
Now I am going to look at another passage in Revelation 16:13-14. This too, is prophetic and I am not going to attempt to explain how it will be worked out in history, but I want to point out an important principle here. John says:
“And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs; for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty.” (NAS)
The point I want to make her is that unclean spirits, Satan’s forces, also operate through the mouths. Praise that silences Satan comes out of the mouths of God’s people. But Satanic spiritual forces are released through the mouths of those who are on Satan’s side. “Out of the mouth of the dragon... out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet” came unclean spirits. In a certain sense, this indicates that the side which uses its mouth most effectively will win this spiritual war. If we do not learn to use our mouths, we cannot win the war.
Also, the unclean spirits are compared to frogs. This is fascinating. I would like to spend time on it but time does not permit. But it is interesting that frogs only make a noise at night and their noise is a ceaseless, repetitive croaking which goes on all through the hours of darkness. I believe that is a very vivid picture of something we are familiar with in contemporary civilization -- propaganda. Propaganda is often a Satanic instrument to promote false ideologies, false political purposes, false and evil rulers. And one of the great ways we have to deal with these forces is by praise that comes out of the mouth of God’s people.
Now I want to give you, in closing, another example of the power of praise from the book of Psalms. Psalm 149:6-9:
“May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands, to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron, to carry out the sentence written against them. This is the glory of all his saints.” (NIV)
Here it speaks of something that all God’s saints can do through praise but it is praise accompanied by a two-edged sword, a two-edged sword is God’s Word. In other words, God’s Word and praise must go together. Combined with God’s Word, praise becomes an instrument of judgment on kings and nations. The kings and nobles there referred to are, I believe, Satan’s angelic princes and rulers in the unseen world. To us as God’s believing people is committed authority to administer on them the sentence written. In other words, we administer on them God’s revealed judgment and this privilege is granted to all God’s saints.
Let me just point out two statements in the New Testament in 1 Corinthians 6:2-3. Paul says to Christians:
“Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? [And then:] Do you not know that we will judge angels?” (NIV)
We have the authority committed to us through God’s Word and through the weapon of praise, to administer God’s judgment on angels and on rulers and on kings and peoples and nations. Think of the tremendous power and authority that implies.
Well, our time is up for today but I’ll be back with you again tomorrow at this time. Tomorrow I’ll be dealing with the next main weapon of attack, preaching.