God Inhabits The Praises Of His People

“But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” (Psalm 22:3)

A note from Mike: My website, devotions.com, features over 600 devotions and over a year’s time, these 600 devotions are read almost 1 million times a year. This devotion is the #1 devotion on my website, and why not. Its message is eternal.

If you go to church with any regularity, you may have heard your music minister say, “God inhabits the praises of his people”. I always thought that statement was nothing more than a way to get me to sing the praise choruses that so many of our churches use now.

The truth is we should heed that advice. It’s not just that it’s scriptural. It’s one of God’s principles that work when we apply it.

Many of you probably did not know Roger Bennett. Roger Bennett was a Southern Gospel piano player and songwriter who made a living serving the Lord in the ministry of music. Unfortunately, he succumbed to cancer in 2007 after an 11-year battle.

The last several years were not particularly easy ones for Bennett. He had leukemia, which he thought was in remission, only to see it rage back in his life with vengeance. He fought it valiantly, but realized that the disease was winning, so he decided to take a stand and underwent a bone marrow transplant at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas – the first of three.

Bennett wrote about his experiences on his website, Roger Bennett’s Midnight Meditations. “I am convinced,” he told his readers, “that our enemy stalks us exactly in the way the Bible describes him, a roaring lion. He hides in the bushes waiting for any sign of weakness and then he strikes.”

Bennett admitted that his faith became weak in the loneliness that is associated with bone marrow transplants. He mentioned one particular night when he “bottomed out”.

“He didn’t strike me physically,” Bennett wrote. “That had been accomplished for him by the chemo. He struck a more critical part of my being – my joy, my confidence, my hope. Every thought I turned toward heaven bounced back to me as if it were made of brass. Every time I tried to ‘look on the bright side’, I ended up imaging a very dark future. Then he threw his most effective dart at me – Doubt. ‘You call yourself a Christian,’ he said. ‘What a hypocrite! You wrote, Don’t Be Afraid, and yet you are more afraid now than you’ve ever been. You wrote about joy and yet now you are filled with despair. So much for your faith, Mr. Gospel Singer.’”

Indeed, Bennett had hit rock bottom. “I believed everything Satan said,” he admitted. “I tried everything I knew to pull out of it – all to no avail. I thought if I could just doze off, this will pass by morning. But the clock seemed to move in slow motion. Sleep was nowhere near. I tried to lose myself in the Bible, but the words blurred to my eyes and I couldn’t make any sense of them.”

Finally, Bennett had an epiphany, a revelation of sorts. He thought about the story told in Acts when Paul and Silas were in jail. “They didn’t despair,” he said. “They sang…It became their weapon.”

So Bennett began singing. “One after another these old songs came to my memory and I sang them to my empty room. It wasn’t a great performance, but it may have been the most powerful blessing I’ve received in my life.”

Roger Bennett realized just how true God is to His Word. He really does inhabit the praises of his people.

When it begins to rain in your life, take Roger Bennett’s (and God’s) advice – Sing the Gospel and allow it take root in your heart. You may not sing your blues away, but I’ll bet you’ll feel the presence of a pretty powerful friend.

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