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Access to God’s Throne

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Part 6 of 15: Thanksgiving, Praise, and Worship

By Derek Prince

You're listening to a Derek Prince Legacy Radio podcast.

Description

Praise runs like a golden thread throughout the whole Bible, from beginning to end. It is eternal and its origin is in heaven. Praise is the ceaseless occupation of all the glorious and eternal beings who inhabit heaven, who enjoy the closest and most uninterrupted access to God Himself. Uninterrupted access calls for uninterrupted praise.

Thanksgiving, Praise, and Worship

Transcript

It’s good to be with you again at the beginning of a new week, sharing with you some of the Keys to Successful Living that God has placed in my hand through many years of personal experience and Christian ministry.

In my talks last week I spoke about various gifts or sacrifices that God requires from us whenever we come into His presence. The particular sacrifice that I dealt with mainly was the sacrifice of thanksgiving.

This week I’m going to deal with the next main sacrifice that follows on directly and naturally from the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and that is the sacrifice of praise.

But first, let me say “Thank you” to those of you who have been writing to me. Before I finish this talk we’ll be giving you a mailing address to which you may write. It encourages me greatly to hear how this radio ministry of mine has been helping you and blessing you. So please take time to write to me, even if it’s only a brief note.

Now, to return to our subject for today, praise.

This is one of the grandest and most glorious themes that we can ever be privileged to study. It runs like a golden thread throughout the whole Bible, from beginning to end. Praise is eternal. Its origin is in heaven. It is the ceaseless occupation of all the glorious and eternal beings who inhabit heaven and there enjoy the closest and most uninterrupted access to God Himself. Uninterrupted access calls for uninterrupted praise.

Praise is also associated with our own planet earth since its beginning. In Job 38, God challenges Job with the question:

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth! When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”

What a beautiful picture that is of the beginning of earth! It was praise that sent our planet first spinning on its celestial course, and it’s the responsibility of God’s people on this planet to see that praise continues to mark its course until heaven and earth are no more.

The first specific thing I want to say about praise today is that praise is the appropriate way that we relate to God as a King on His throne. We find this in Psalm 22:3, where the psalmist says this:

“Yet thou art holy, O Thou who art enthroned upon the praises of Israel.” (NAS)

You see, God is always a King whether we acknowledge it or not. But when we as His people, offer Him our praises, then we provide Him with a throne which is appropriate for Him to sit upon. So when we praise God, He takes His place as a King upon the throne of our praises! It’s our way of acknowledging His Kingship.

And then, combined with thanksgiving, praise gives us access to God. We see this in Psalm 100:4, the psalmist says:

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving, And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name.” (NAS)

We see there two degrees or phases of access. First, through God’s gates and then, through His courts. The psalmist indicates that it is thanksgiving that brings us through the gates, but praise brings us into the courts!

This is also beautifully illustrated in a verse from Isaiah, Isaiah 60:18, where the prophet says to God’s people:

“Violence will not be heard again your land, Nor devastation or destruction within your borders; But you will call your walls salvation, and your gates praise.” (NAS)

You see, God dwells in a land of perfect peace and tranquillity. Not only is there no violence or destruction there, but not even the sounds of violence or destruction ever come into that land. That’s the land of God’s presence that He invites us into to share with Him. But notice the way of access, ALL the gates are praise. In other words, the only way into the place of God’s presence and God’s dwelling is through praise.

The Scripture makes it plain elsewhere that we cannot have access unless we come through the gates, and here it tells us that the gates are praise. In other words, the only way of access into God’s presence and God’s dwelling is through praise. Without praise, we do not have access. Without thanksgiving and praise, we can only be just like the ten lepers of whom Luke speaks in his gospel. He says:

“As Jesus was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, ‘Jesus, Master, have pity on us!’”

There they were, unfit for the Lord’s presence, excluded by their leprosy, pitiful indeed! And Jesus had pity on them. But you see, they had no access. They had to stand at a distance and, unless we learned a lesson of coming to God with thanksgiving and praise, we never fare better than those lepers! We can stand at a distance and call out for mercy.

And I suppose there are many, many people whose prayer life never gets much beyond that, repeated calls for mercy every time they’re in desperate need of help. But that’s not the kind of prayer life that God wants us to enjoy. He wants us to learn the lesson of access into His gates with thanksgiving and into His presence with praise. He bids us welcome in that city of perfect peace and tranquillity, where violence and destruction are never heard. What a beautiful invitation! What a beautiful way of access! But remember, all the gates are praise. There’s no other way into that city except the way of praise.

I’ve said that praise is the way we acknowledge God as King. Now I want to add that praise also makes God’s people “queenly.” There’s a beautiful passage in Isaiah 52:1-2, which I believe is a word from God to His people at this time:

“Awake, awake, O Zion, clothe yourself with strength. Put on your garments of splendor, O Jerusalem, the holy city. The uncircumcised and defiled will not enter you again. Shake off your dust; rise up, sit enthroned, O Jerusalem. Free yourself from the chains on your neck, O captive Daughter of Zion.” (NIV)

That’s a message to God’s people. Too long we’ve groveled in the dust. We haven’t realized our queenly dignity and destiny. We’ve been like slaves rather than like ruling princes, which is what God wants us to be. So God tells us to awake, to get up out of the dust, to shake ourselves, to loose ourselves from the bands on our neck, and to sit down enthroned and to put on the garments of splendor which are ours by right of our relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

What are these garments of splendor? Let me give you a few pictures from the Scriptures. Psalm 96:6-9:

“Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary. Ascribe to the Lord, O families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts. Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness...”

That’s one of the beautiful things that God asks us to put on when we come to Him, the splendor of his holiness!

And then again in Isaiah 61:3, we read what God will provide for those who grieve in Zion. The prophet says that God will bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. Three beautiful things are mentioned there: a crown of beauty, the oil of gladness, and a garment of praise which completely excludes the spirit of despair, God’s remedy against depression.

And in the same chapter of Isaiah, a little further on, Isaiah 61:10:

“I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, My soul will exalt in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” (NAS)

Look at those beautiful adornments there! Garments of salvation, a robe of righteousness, a garland and jewels. All these are directly associated with our learning to come with the garment of praise.

There is a picture in the middle of the book of Esther. A terrible decree had gone out for the destruction of God’s people. We’ll see two different reactions: first, the reaction of Mordecai; then the reaction of Esther. Esther 4:1-2:

“When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly. But he went only as far as the king’s gate, because no one clothed in sackcloth was allowed to enter it.”

You see, that’s the principle. We cannot enter the king’s gate when we are wearing sackcloth. Now let’s read about Esther in the next chapter:

“On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance. When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter. Then the king asked, ‘What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given you.’” (NIV)

You see the contrast between Mordecai and Esther. Mordecai was wearing sackcloth, he couldn’t get inside the king’s gate. But Esther realized her queenly position, put on her royal robes, went into the presence of the king and obtained mercy and redemption for her people. That, I believe, is a pattern for us today. God wants us to realize that we’re the bride of Christ. We’re queenly. We need to put on our royal robes, and not least of these is the garment of praise.

Well, our time is up for today but I’ll be back with you again tomorrow at this time. Tomorrow I’ll continue with this theme of praise. I’ll be speaking about praise as the purpose of God’s blessing.

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