Too frequently I hear stories of what the enemy is doing in people’s lives. I know I’ve been guilty of it myself on occasion, but let me ask a question, who do you want to give praise to? Our God – YHWH, Creator of heaven and earth – the only true and living God? Or the enemy?
Personally, I believe if you are striving to live a life fully submitted to the Lord, nothing can come to you but through His hand (Psalm 37:23-24). If this is not the case, then He is far less powerful than we believe Him to be. There is a principle here because this means when hardships come they come for one of two reasons (and I’m open to the possibility there are more reasons – so feel free to add yours in a comment below):
- We have opened a door through our sin or our own actions – these consequences are not “punishment” but rather reminders to choose better next time
- The Lord is allowing us to be tested to grow the character needed for things to come and for His glory
The second point brings to mind Romans 5:3-4
…we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope
This makes me think of the story of Joseph. He is sold into slavery and thrown into prison – is God allowing this to happen? Or is this simply the enemy at work? Or is it just his brothers doing it to him? In Genesis 45:8 Joseph answers these questions:
…it was not you who sent me here, but God
This concept is confirmed by Romans 8:28
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
So now that we’ve put together the background, let’s come back to the original point – who are you going to give your praise to? In Exodus 23:13 it says
…make no mention of the name of other gods…
At first this verse makes no sense, because even scripture itself makes “mention” of other gods, so if we read scripture aloud we will be mentioning them. But the Hebrew word here for “mention” is zakar (H2142). The word mention actually doesn’t do what the Word is saying justice because zakar embodies memorializing, being mindful of, or speaking on behalf of. When you praise something, you’re speaking on behalf of it. So the intention behind this scripture is really don’t praise other gods – don’t memorialize them or be mindful of them, which aligns with the heart behind the whole scriptures! We are to have our eyes and hearts and minds full of the One True God, YHWH.
When we are busy talking about all the stuff the enemy is doing in our lives, we are exalting the enemy and making the Lord seem powerless… is that REALLY what we want to be releasing into the earth through our voices?
I encourage you to choose to shift your paradigm. Next time you find yourself in trying circumstances, say “Lord, I don’t understand exactly why You’ve allowed this to happen, but I trust You will walk me through it and use it to Your glory, and that You will teach me anything I need to know if my own actions have brought this situation to occur. I desire to live a holy and blameless life before You because You are worthy and worthy of ALL my praise regardless of circumstance!”
Lord, help us to see our circumstances through Your eyes and to trust You implicitly. Your plans for us are good – even when we find ourselves in situations that don’t seem “good” we can still trust You are working them for good. Be glorified in our lives and may our mouths give praise to You alone for only You are worthy!!!