#14 Moments of Hope with Pastor Jerry Rice

The praises of God’s children are powerful. We do not sing praises into the abyss. We do not sing praises to perform. We sing praises because God is worthy at every moment of every day. But have you ever been so discouraged that you just didn’t feel like praising God? The Israelites once felt the same way.
When the Israelites were captives in Babylon, they grieved as they remembered their former dwelling place. In their despair, they decided that they were finished singing. Psalms 137:2 says that they hung their harps on the willow trees. This was a public sign of their discouragement. Those who had captured them mockingly asked them to sing their songs of joy. But the Israelites responded with “How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?” This response may seem reasonable from a human perspective. They were far from home. They were captives. They felt defeated. Why would they sing? And why would they share the songs of their homeland with their captors? But from the perspective of God, why would they not sing? The Israelites had seen the power and grace of God time and time again. They were not unaware of what God was able to do. Fast forward to the New Testament. Paul and Silas sat in prison because of their ministry. Around midnight, these two men of God began praying and singing hymns of praise to God. The prisoners around them began to listen. In the midst of their singing, the Bible says that “the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains come loose” (Acts 16:26). Because of their praise, other people in the prison heard about God. Because of their praise, other people’s chains also came off. Because of their praise, a jailer and his entire family were saved. Through their willingness to praise at all times and in all circumstances, God brought about a revival in a jailhouse.
We find ourselves in our own sort of strange land right now. This new reality is not easy. But the world is watching. Will they find that Christians hang up their harps or will they find that Christians lift up the mighty name of Jesus? Our praise, perseverance, and public response during this time could make a difference in people’s lives.
“I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” -Psalm 134:1