And when they had sung a hymn,
they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Praise is greatly honoring to God! In the Old Testament account of King Jehoshaphat, God’s people faced a seemingly insurmountable enemy who was determined to destroy them. Yet God assured them that they would “stand still and see the salvation of the Lord” (2 Chron. 20:17). The people of Judah believed God. Their army was led by singers, offering praises to the Lord for their promised victory, and the victory came. When King David led the procession bringing the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem, he praised God with all of his strength (22 Sam. 6:12–23). David’s praise was pleasing to God, and God’s powerful presence remained in David’s kingdom to give him victory against every enemy.
Jesus was about to go to Gethsemane and to the cross, where God’s greatest victory would be accomplished. He led His disciples to sing a hymn. The disciples were all about to fail Him, and Jesus was about to be cruelly executed, yet Jesus insisted that they praise God. Their praise looked beyond the cross to God’s ultimate victory. Praise is rooted not in circumstances of the moment but in the nature and trustworthiness of God.
You ought to rejoice when God asks you to proceed in the work of His kingdom because you know the victory is already secured. Don’t focus on the problems and failures of others. Focus on God’s assurance of victory. If you have trouble praising God with a song in your heart as you serve Him, it may be that your focus is not on God, but on your circumstances.
Excerpts republished with permission from Experiencing God Day by Day by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby c. 1997 B&H Publishing Group