“Let this be recorded for generation yet unborn, that a people yet to be created shall praise the Lord.” Psalm 102:18
Having just recently visited the continent of Africa since leaving for Europe seventeen year ago, a fact that struck me, and in fact has left its mark on me, is the ubiquity of that modern communication appendage – the mobile or cell phone as well as the infrastructure required to make this symbol of technological advancement work. What impacted me most was the immense power and unimaginable potential of this gadget to make communication possible irrespective of location as well as its ability to foster and maintain paradigm change in society. I quickly realised that a revolution was already underway in Africa. The concept of the world as a global village has become a distinct reality thanks to the advent of the mobile phone.
My understanding of the definition of a revolution is that it is drastic and irreversible change whose impact is far reaching and lasting. A revolution is a dramatic change in idea or practice that significantly transform and turbo charges the way of doing things to such an extent that the end result is by far superior in comparison to the starting material. I remember the hassles we used to undergo just to make a phone call home from Europe before the advent of the mobile phone. If the recipient of the call does not have a functioning land line, we had to make prior arrangement with someone who did in order to communicate with relatives. You then had to pay through your nose as this was before the deregulation of the communication industry in Europe, which enables one to make the same phone call, but at a fraction of the former cost. These days, it only takes a matter of seconds to get connected and relay whatever message you want to convey from the comfort of your own home or wherever you may choose to be and for the person on the end of the line to receive what you have to say. Communication as we used to do it will never be the same again.
In our anchor passage, the Psalmist was enjoining those within his grasp to understand that a revolution was far ahead. In fact, this particular revolution was so far ahead of their time that the possibility of its existence had to be recorded for posterity. The vision had to be written down and made plain for the upcoming generation, so that those for whom it is intended can effectively run with it and make it a reality. The other confounding fact about this interesting prophecy is the assertion that a people yet to be created shall praise the Lord. One can but wonder what the Israelites, the nation God had called to praise Him, were doing if another people were to be created to do exactly what God had created them to do. Isn’t this a justification of those who hold the view that the Church has replaced Israel in God’s plan?
The simple answer is that God has not replaced Israel with His Church. He has only temporarily set aside the latter for the sake of the Gentiles whom God has grafted into His body until the fullness of time when the Messiah will be revealed to all and the whole world shall declare – Jehovah – He is God.
So, who exactly are these peculiar ‘people’ that the Psalmist prophesied would praise God? The bible provides the answer in 1 Peter 2:9 by affirming that “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”(NIV) Many centuries after the Psalmist prophesied by the inspiration of the Spirit of God the future existence of these people that would praise God, Apostle Peter declared that the Church is that people. Our raison d’être is to declare the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvellous light. Consequently, the Church would only function at her best when she is actively, or should I say, pro-actively involved in praising God or doing things that will result in His praise.
While God affirms in Psalm 135:4 “For the LORD has chosen Jacob to be his own, Israel to be his treasured possession.”(NIV), He is now affirming a new treasure in the peculiar people He has created for Himself. While God’s eternal covenant with Israel was mediated by the blood of bulls and rams, the new covenant that God made with His Church is mediated by the blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. However, even whilst under the old covenant, God had revealed to David, the Old Testament authority on praise, His preference for the praises of His people far above the sacrifices of bulls and rams. The bible says in Psalm 69:30-31 “I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. This will please the LORD more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hoofs.” (NIV) Jesus Christ has thus become not only the mediator but also the High Priest of our confession since the bible enjoins us in Hebrews 13:15 that “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that confess his name.”(NIV)
HEAVEN RESPONDS, EARTH REPRISE
Psalm 102:19-22 declares that “The LORD looked down from his sanctuary on high, from heaven he viewed the earth, to hear the groans of the prisoners and release those condemned to death.” So the name of the LORD will be declared in Zion and his praise in Jerusalem when the peoples and the kingdoms assemble to worship the LORD.” (NIV)
Have you ever been tempted to think that God doesn’t really care what happens to the world? Why hasn’t He responded to the cry of the oppressed or freed the prisoners? How could He allow all the monstrosities going on in the world to persist without as much as raising a finger to curtail it or give succour to the impoverished and afflicted? The above passage is God’s answer to your questioning. He cares more than we could ever imagine. His ear is not deaf either to the cry of the afflicted or the supplication of the saints who do not cease to call on Him both night and day, and while He may not respond when or how we might desire, we can be sure that He hears our cries and will unfailingly respond at His appointed time.
If your heart cry is Lord, we have heard you by reputation, let us see you move to heal and save in our generation like you did in times past. Understand that the Prophet Habakkuk had the same heart cry. In Habakkuk 3:2, he petitioned “LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.”(NIV) The good news is that the heavens are shaking as God is about responding to our deepest heart cry. At this very moment, God is looking right down on the earth, issuing forth His praise mandate to the Church as He prepares to comfort the afflicted, free the prisoners and release the condemned from the grip of death. His motivation is to raise an army of praise warriors who would shout Hallulejah! And bring down His glory into a world that is desperately in need of His touch.
So, to the accusation that we have prayed and God has not heard, His response is why not praise me, for I inhabit and I’m majestically enthroned on the extolling praises of my people. The good news is that we are that people; the people God has created to praise Him. We are the generation that will praise God and see Him move in our time like He has never done before. We are the people that would by faith and exultant praise breakthrough in the spiritual realm and bring God’s glory down with the high praises of God in our mouths, as His glory fills the earth as the waters cover the sea.
Nevertheless, God has a warning for us, since only authentic praise would move Him to release His power and effect deliverance. Consequently, we cannot genuinely and effectively praise God and condone sin, for we cannot continue in sin and expect His grace or praise for that matter to abound. Authentic praise is not for those who play church and then show their true colour when no one is supposedly looking, for God is just as angry with the sinning saint as He is with the unrepentant sinner. Therefore, let us repent of our sinful ways by asking God to search us, cleanse our tongues and make our hearts a place He could call home. Let us seek to live holy and consecrated lives in a sinful world so that our lives might show forth God’s praise to lighten a world embroiled in satanic darkness. Let us actively prepare ourselves for the times of spiritual refreshing so that we might indeed experience God anew. It is only then that ‘His name will truly be declared in Zion and His praise in Jerusalem when the peoples and the kingdoms assemble to worship the LORD’. The world is poised to experience the best of God in this generation; praise is the master key that unleashes His power to heal the sick, deliver the prisoner and release the condemned from Satan’s death row. To those who are awed by what God is currently doing or think that nothing can ever surpass this brilliant move of God, it is time we confidently retort mimicking our American cousins, that ‘You ain’t seen nothing yet!’ We are the praise generation and what God intends to do through us, the half has yet been told. So, let us commit to praising God with all we’ve got and we can expect God to respond in His awesome dumbfounding way. It is time we join the Psalmist in saying “I will bless the Lord at all times. His praises shall continually be in my mouth”. Ps 34:1 LET THE PRAISE REVOLUTION BEGIN!!!!