Tuesday, December 09, 2014

When distressed, be dressed—with praise!

Jewish groom
Jewish bride
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Isaiah 61:1-11

TO CHEW ON: "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord
My soul will be joyful in my God;
For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments,
And as a bride adorns herself with jewels.
Isaiah 61:10

What is your favorite outfit? A beautiful dress that you wore as mother of the bride? A shirt-tie-jacket-pants ensemble that makes you feel natty and invincible?

Why do you like it? Because of its comfort and warmth? Because of the way its colors and fit flatter your appearance, drawing attention to your best features while glossing over parts you'd rather not emphasize? Because of the way it brings back memories of the good times spent in it?

Our reading today compares praise to a garment (Isaiah 61:3). A sidebar article in my Bible delves into how this is so:

"The Hebrew word for garment (atah) shows praise as more than a piece of clothing casually thrown over our shoulders. It literally teaches us 'to wrap' or 'cover' ourselves—that garment of praise is to have no openings through which hostile elements can penetrate. This garment of praise repels and replaces the heavy spirit" - "The Glorious Garment of Praise, Charles Green, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 946.

Our favorite physical outfit can never do what it does for us, however, by hanging in the closet. We must put it on.

In the same way, a heavy spirit of doom, doubt, hopelessness, and discouragement will never be lifted by simply knowing about the garment of praise. We must put it on by praising, by letting praise take our attention off us and our situation and wrapping us in truths about God—what He is to us, what He has done for us.

  • Praise warms and protects us
  • It makes us attractive as it changes the attire:
"… beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness" - Isaiah 61:3.
We're more than just attractive, in fact, but dazzling—an ornamented bridegroom and a bejewelled bride (Isaiah 61:10).
  • Finally, it reminds us of our spiritual heritage and give us memories to to pass on to our kids and grand-kids.

The article above ends with this catchy phrase. Let's take it into our day:

"When distressed, be dressed—with praise!"

Dear God, please remind me of the garment of praise the next time I feel heavy and pessimistic. May it become my go-to outfit! Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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