May 20, 2018
Isaiah 60:18… Violence shall no more be heard in your land, devastation or destruction within your borders; you shall call your walls salvation and your gates praise.
“You shall call your gates praise” In the 1960s I read a book entitled, “Prison to Praise”. I shared it with a friend and when he finished it, he came to me and asked to know Jesus. It was a supernatural event. God filled his life with His presence. The book described life changing from prison to praise. The author had been in prison and God set him free. He became an avid praise warrior. He praised God in every situation. That was a change from complaining in every situation. If you just had a thought, “As soon as…”, you have missed the point.
Praise is our gate into God’s presence and out of depression. So many people claim to be depressed these days. I used to struggle with those people more than I do now. I thought that, as a book said, “Happiness is a choice” . Depression was for those who made the wrong choice. After years of living around humans, I realize that depressed people don’t always have a choice. Depression is like a disease; it comes over some people. So, I am more understanding now; but I still maintain that we make many choices that contribute to being depressed. In the light of today’s verse, I think one of the choices we make often is to complain rather than to praise God. When that defines us, we are more prone to depression. I don’t want to get into a verbal tennis match here so I will admit, up front, that I don’t know the physical aspects of depression. But, at the same time, I trust the Bible. Today we read that praise is a gate. And Isaiah doesn’t qualify the praise with any prerequisite.
If you are a person of praise, you praise God in every situation. Sometimes the situations are quite difficult, but we praise God in it, anyway. If you praise God only when things are going perfectly, you will praise Him very sporadically. When I was young, I remember thinking, “I have nothing to praise him for right now.” That was so narrow and selfish. We praise God because He is worthy of praise, not because of what we just experienced.
Praise is not the celebration of a gate; praise is the gate.