Bible, Main, Spiritual Warfare, Teaching
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What does it mean God is enthroned in (or inhabits) our praises?


Hillsong Worship Service at Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia Credit: Michael Chan/Flickr/Creative Commons

Hillsong Worship Service at Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia Credit: Michael Chan/Flickr/Creative Commons

It is a question I have wondered about for years. Does God really need our worship? Or is it that we need to worship God, meaning it’s for our benefit?

I think it is the latter and there is a verse that provides a hint to why we need to worship God.

The Psalmist writes:

Yet You are holy,
O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel. (Psalm 22:3 NASV)

This verse tells us that God is enthroned in our praises. Other translations state that God “inhabits” the praise of His people.

The Hebrew word “ysb” translated “enthroned” by the New American Standard Bible means to sit and remain sitting, to inhabit and to dwell. It implies the idea of ownership and control.

We see the word used as Abraham and Lot dwelt (ysb) in the land (Genesis 13:6, 7, 12) and because of their growing size they were in conflict because both were trying to inhabit and control the same land and there was only room for one.

But “ysb” also means enthroned and speaks of authority as kings sit on their thrones (Psalm 122:5) and judges preside over court cases (Psalm 9:8). And along this line, the word describes God sitting on a throne being carried by Cherubs (Psalm 99:1):

16 “O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, who is enthroned (ysb) above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. (Isaiah 37:16 NASV)

So what does it mean that God is enthroned in our praises?

The Bible states that God is Lord of Lord, King of Kings. He is supreme in all the universe, but we need to understand this in the light of the fact that Satan is also the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4).

When Satan tempted Christ in the wilderness, he offered Jesus the kingdoms of the world for a moment of worship. In this instance Satan was trying to establish his authority over Christ through an act of worship.

When making this offer Satan said the kingdoms had been handed over to him (Luke 4:6), a fact that Jesus never challenged.

At one point, man chose Satan as their god instead of Jehovah, giving Satan authority over the earth. This was a critical time in world history and I believe we have a record of when this took place:

3 My spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years. (Genesis 6:3 NASV)

In response to the “sons of God” marrying the “daughters of men,” God decided He would no longer strive with man. The word strive (Hebrew “diyn”) is found 23 times in the Old Testament and means to rule or govern. Each time, except in this instance, it describes government —  legislative (passing laws or legislation), judicial (enforcing laws) or executive (administering laws) — see: Genesis 49:16, Proverbs 31:9, Genesis 15:14.

So Genesis 6:3 needs to be interpreted in the same sense. This was the moment that God stopped governing men. At this point Satan and his minions moved in taking control of earth.

So when we read that God is enthroned in our praises, a very interesting thing is taking place. We are taking God’s supreme authority in heaven and bringing it down to earth.

Does this mean every time we worship God in a church service, we are enthroning God?

Yes and no.

Many times I wonder about the songs we sing in worship. They are often not true worship songs. They can be entertaining and even encouraging our faith (and there is nothing wrong with that), but they may be limited in true worship.

I have also noticed during a worship service, that the Holy Spirit often moves on one particular song and we are taken to heaven. God is enthroned in that song and the rest are just filler.

I remember years ago a woman in our congregation spontaneously went to the front and sang a song of the Lord. God’s Holy Spirit fell upon the congregation. Everything after that including the sermon was just filler. We could have gone home after she had finished.

In a true moment of praise and worship, God is enthroned and His presence will fall. When that happens, God’s authority touches earth and things can happen.

We read the interesting account when Paul and Silas were arrested for casting a demon out of a slave girl who was being used for divination in Thyatira (Acts 16:23-26).

That night as Paul and Silas sat chained in the prison they began to sing “hymns of praise to God.” Suddenly God’s presence showed up. There was an earthquake and they were released from their chains. When we enthrone God in our praise, people can be set free.

This also suggests that enthroning God in worship is not limited to church services. We can do it in prison cells and even our own homes.

A second aspect of enthroning God in praise and worship involves spiritual warfare.

When the armies of Moab, Ammon and Meunites joined to battle Judah, King Jehoshaphat called on God and a prophet delivered a word:

“You need not fight in this battle, station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out to face them for the Lord is with you (2 Chronicles 20:17)

The next day, Jehoshophat ordered the Temple singers to go before Israel’s army praising God:

21 When he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who sang to the Lord and those who praised Him in holy attire, as they went out before the army and said, “Give thanks to the Lord, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.” 22 When they began singing and praising, the Lord set ambushes against the sons of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; so they were routed.(2 Chronicles 20:21-22 NASV)

While they were praising God, the Lord set ambushes against the invading armies. It is uncertain what those ambushes were but it does not seem to have involved Judah’s army. God stirred up other forces against the invaders.

But whatever happened the key is God’s authority hit earth delivering Israel.

“He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me;
And to him who orders his way aright
I shall show the salvation of God.” (Psalm 50:23 NASV)

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