01 Apr Praise Before My Breakthrough – 4/1/20
Isaiah 61:3 – “… and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”
What a beautiful verse. A beautiful verse and, at times, a difficult verse. This chapter in Isaiah begins with a proclamation of the year of the Lord’s favor, and yet for many of us it is difficult to imagine the Lord bestowing beauty, joy and praise upon us during this season. But God sees the ashes, the mourning and the despair, and wants to clothe us with praise of Him to display His splendor.
A few simple thoughts from this verse:
1. God is not expecting perfect people. Look at the line, “a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” So often we think that when we are despairing, we need to “fix” something. Whether that thing is ourselves, our emotions, or our circumstances, we often try in our own strength to address our pain. But God is not waiting for people who can simply fix themselves – He is seeking out people in their brokenness to use them. And what He gives us in that space, what we need in our brokenness, is a garment of praise.
2. When we give God praise, He builds us stronger. At the end of verse 3, Isaiah says that those on whom a garment of praise is bestowed will be called “oaks of righteousness.” It is hard to imagine when we are in a state of despair and weakness that God would call us strong, steady and righteous – that we could display his splendor. Yet God uses praise to define us more than our weakness and hurting. It is not through our own strength or might that God builds us, but through rejoicing in who He is and giving glory to His name.
3. Praise is contagious. King David displayed an attitude of putting on praise instead of a spirit of despair throughout the Psalms. The more David despaired, the more difficult the circumstances became, yet the more he worshiped. In Psalm 34:1-2, during a dark time in David’s life, he wrote “I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice.” God displays his splendor through our praise by shining light into others’ darkness when we give Him glory.
- Pray that you would experience the strengthening of the Lord as you praise in faith. Pray that when you feel too weak or too overwhelmed to lift your hands and give God glory, that he would bestow on you a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
- Pray that our church would be a people who praise God through every circumstance. Pray as we praise the Lord in difficult times, that He would both call us oaks of righteousness for his splendor and let the afflicted around us hear and rejoice.
- Pray for our city that God would step into dark and despairing places and bestow a garment of praise on broken people. Pray that people hear the truth of God’s love for them and know that they can turn to Him in praise.