Throughout the Psalms we see this same emphasis. Psalm 22:22 and 25 state, "I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you. From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly." Psalm 149:1 declares, "Praise the LORD. Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the saints."
What is the reason for this praise? The reason is simple, BECAUSE "In His presence is fullness of joy."
- Psalm 5:11 "But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy."
- Psalm 16:11 "You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand."
- Psalm 27:6 "At his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD."
- Psalm 132:9 "May your priests be clothed with righteousness; may your saints sing for joy."
When we experience God's presence, joy wells up within us into overflowing so that our only adequate response can be to give Him praise. Like the nation of Israel, we like to express our joy of God's presence by singing. Here are seven ways that singing assists our worship:
First, it lifts our spirit and turns defeat into victory. There is a whole realm of released power when the church gets together to praise God. Psalm 149:5-6: "Let the saints rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds. May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands."
Secondly, praise songs provide us a ready-made vocabulary. Most of our great hymns and choruses were born out of great experiences with God and singing them allows us to identify with their messages. Songs like Amazing Grace, How Great Thou Art, and It is Well with My Soul are all born from our expression of God's providential care over us.
Third, singing contributes to our awareness of God. The more we are aware of the greatness of God, the more we want to join others or have them join us in worshiping Jesus. Psalm 98:4: "Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music."
Fourth, singing quickly unites our hearts because we are singing the same words, to the same tune, at the same tempo, and the combined effect is dynamic.
Fifth, singing releases our inner emotions. As the richness of verse and the sweetness of melody issue from our lips, the Holy Spirit touches our hearts and lifts us into God's presence.
Sixth, singing the scriptures can become double-praising. Not only do we experience the release of our inner feelings, we also utter the anointed words of the Bible.
Finally, the main reason we praise God with singing is because it is our way to express our hearts cry in gratitude to thank God for giving us Jesus.
When we experience the miracle working power of God in the salvation of a soul or in the healing of a sick body, we don't say: "Oh, that's nice." When God has answered our prayer for a job, or some unknown blessing, do you just say "wonderful"? When God has supernaturally delivered us from having a major accident or car crash, we don't say: "I sure was lucky!" We cannot help but say, "Praise God!"
Along with singing and rejoicing, also comes physical expression:
- Psalm 63:4 urges us to lift up our hands;
- Psalm 47:1 tells us to clap our hands;
- Psalm 63:4 urges us to lift up our hands;
- Psalm 126:2 tells us to use our mouths;
- Psalm 95:6 tells us to bow down and kneel;
- Psalm 149:3 to dance;
- Psalm 33:2 to play musical instruments, and until our joy is fully expressed in praise, we are merely spectators and not participants.
So, what kind of 'praiser' are you. Are you a vocal, vibrant praiser? Or are you a fall down on your knees praiser? Are you a clap your hands praiser, a dancing praiser, a lifting up of hands praiser, or are you a hands-in-the-pocket praiser? No matter what kind of praiser you are, when you are in the Lord's presence you have to express your joy somehow.
Jeremiah 23:24 tells us that God alone fills the highest heavens and the earth because all creation belongs to Him, but even when God fills the highest heavens and the earth they cannot contain Him.
In Psalm 139:6 David declares that "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain."
There is joy in knowing that the person who knows Christ can never be alone. God's plan and what He has always wanted, is to be in the midst of His children. That is what the garden, the tabernacle and temple represented. God gave Adam and Eve everything they could possibly ever need or want, but He also gave them a choice.
The good news is that 6000 years later, we can still get to that place of intimacy with God and enjoy His presence. Or we can do what many of God's people do - and just linger around the fringes of The Garden and live far beneath God's plans for us.
Without a doubt the Garden of Eden was a place of unspeakable beauty, and heaven will be a place of great joy, but God also wants us to enjoy the joy of His goodness right here and now.
When the promises of God seem slow in manifesting, it's easy to start murmuring, grumbling and becoming impatient. Our job is to stay in His presence because God has a plan for each one of us.
We can experience the joy of God's presence everyday while we are here on earth as we look forward to the day when we can experience the joy of being together with all the angels and saints celebrating. Christmas time is a time to remember that Jesus came so that we could have His joy. Despite what may happen, and despite the storms that life throws at us, we can still have joy because we know that there is a bright and glorious day coming when we will see the ONE who is coming again.
That is the JOY of every Christian believer.