The Heart of Praise: Where God Lives
While teaching Sunday School I have often been asked by children, “Where does God live?”
Psalm 22:3 (KJV) tells us, “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” The Hebrew word translated as “inhabitest” is yashab, and means to dwell, abide or settle, remain or marry. To answer a child’s simple question: God lives in our praises!
People often confuse praise with worship. The two terms are not synonymous, yet they often appear together; each actually serves a different function and purpose. One may praise, yet never truly worship. However, one cannot worship without an element of praise! It is through worship that we enter the Most Holy Place — the heart of God. Through praise, we talk to God, but in worship, God communes with us. I call this the secret place.
Praise is horizontal and contagious. When we praise God, it touches those around us and invites a spirit of celebration. 2 Corinthians 3:17 says, “For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
Did you know that Hallelujah is the universal word for praise? It is derived from the Hebrew word halal, which means PRAISE THE LORD!
Praise is extroverted in nature. The Bible clearly states that praise is to be declared or manifested. (Ps. 63:4 – lifting up of hands; Ps. 47:1 – clapping of hands; singing – Ps. 95:1, Eph. 5:19 & Col. 3:16; dancing – Ps. 30:11 & 149:3; and 2 Sam. 2:6:14-16 tells us that David danced with all his “might”). Moreover, yes, we can praise God with a SHOUT (Ps. 66:1 & 98:4)!
Praise is also a command (Ps. 150:1). God remains who He is whether we praise Him or not. He does not need our praise, but He does desire it. And it is we who are most blessed by offering praise to God. That is why we should praise God when we feel like it and even when we don’t! It is especially important to praise God in the stormy seasons of life regardless of one’s circumstances. Psalm 34:1 (KJV) says, “I will bless the LORD at ALL times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
Praise is not contingent upon feelings. That is why it is often referred to as a sacrifice of praise (Jer. 33:11, Ps. 54:6 & Heb. 13:5)! It is based on God’s greatness, which never changes.
If one is bound in their expression of praise due to fear of others, then they will also be bound in worship. A true worshipper—one God desires (John 4:22-24) — is not satisfied with getting to first base. They want to go past first, second and third base directly to home plate… straight to worship! Psalm 100:4 – “Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name.” Praise sets the stage for true worship. (The lyrics of the worship song Take Me In/Holy of Holies describes this best).
There are some who choose not to praise God in this lifetime, but be assured, one day in great anticipation of eternity we will all bow and praise Him (Rom. 14:11; Phil. 2:10).
The answer to those who ask the question, “Where does God live?” Simply put, God lives in our heart. The heart of those who praise Him! Why wait? Get a head start and join the heavenly chorus who will sing, “Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever (Rev. 5:13b).”