On our local Christian radio station this morning they played the old Imperials song "Praise the Lord." Great song. My wife said she really loved that song. So do I. I once had a very intimate spiritual encounter with God (while driving on the highway, had to pull over) while singing along with that song. Her favorite verse (and mine) is:
Now Satan is a liar and he wants to make us think
that we are paupers when he knows himself
we're children of the King.
So lift up the mighty shield of faith, for the battle must be won.
We know that Jesus Christ is risen, so the work's already done.
Praise the Lord.
He can work through those who praise him,
Praise the Lord, for our God inhabits praise.
Praise the Lord, for the chains that seem to bind you
serve only to remind you that they fall powerless behind you
when you praise him.
Again, great song. After it, my wife brought up the saying that "God inhabits the praises of his people" and that she wasn't sure where it was in scripture. I told her it was only in the KJV, and that the wording in the NIV gave a different concept. I looked them up on my computer Bible:
But thou art holy, thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. (Psalm 22:3 KJV)
Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel. (Psalm 22:3 NIV)
Different concept entirely. I told her that while it's a shaky proposition to base your theology on only one translation (and not a particularly good one at that), still the tenor of scripture supports the idea, and experience also bears it out. She very much agreed.
We left it at that, but I was intrigued. Later that day I opened up my NIV (the low-tech version, on paper in a leather binding) and looked at the footnote on Psalm 22:3, and there is an alternate reading:
Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.
That not only supports the idea; it intensifies it. And, I thought, it merits further study.
Later in the day I went on a rather ambitious bike ride. Early in the ride I was mulling over the idea that God inhabits the praises of his people. I was considering the evidence: not actually a scripture quote, but supported by the whole tenor of scripture and by experience, and even by reason. But somehow that didn't quite satisfy me. Then, out of the blue, God spoke. Clear as day, and quite clearly not from my own thoughts, he said, "Praise me and see if I show up." I laughed out loud. Two reasons: first, the absurdity of making something as personal as God's presence in response to praise into a theoretical exercise which "merits further study." And second, the warmth of God's presence as I immediately began to praise him.
"Praise me and see if I show up." Great line, God! Thanks for helping me see you more clearly and personally. You are beautiful beyond description, absolutely matchless, and supreme over the universe. I love you.