The Position of Praise

The Position of Praise

Pastor Don Carpenter

Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change The Way You Worship

Pastor Whitehead tells the following story:

Years ago, I received a phone call while driving to church. It was from an unknown number, and the voice on the other side of the line told me Rickey, a student from my days of youth pastoring, had been in a serious motorcycle accident in Franklin. He was in a coma, the voice said, and had been life-flighted to Vanderbilt Hospital. I was living in Chicago at the time, but Rickey was one of those special kids, one for whom I had deep affection. So I dropped everything and made my way to Nashville.

After a whirlwind flight, I made my way to the hospital. There, I saw Rickey lying in his bed, near lifeless. He’d been married the year before, and his wife was in the room, desperate. The doctors had told us that it would be critical to see some improvement in Rickey’s condition in the first twenty-four hours, so we made his hospital room a place of prayer. We begged. We pleaded. We cried out to God.

Despite our prayers, no change occurred. A day passed, then another. A third day, a fourth day, a fifth. Just before I was scheduled to return to Chicago, a doctor came, telling us that the chances of his survival were incredibly remote, and that with every passing moment, the likelihood of his death increased exponentially.

The doctor left the room, and a nurse came in. She looked at Rickey’s wife and said, “In situations like this, hard decisions need to be made. Sometimes it helps to talk those decisions out. I’ve been sent to have that conversation with you.” Rickey’s wife collapsed on the spot, sobbing uncontrollably. 

When it came time for me to leave, Rickey’s wife hadn’t yet made any decisions. I hugged her, gathered my things, and made my way back to Chicago. I was not hopeful.

The next Sunday, back in Chicago, I was driving to church and talking on the phone with my best mate of more than twenty years, Jon Tyson. Jon, also a pastor, had virtually raised Rickey after his dad had died when he was young. With devastated hearts, we started discussing the logistics of the impending funeral service. We talked about who would officiate it. Jon said, “I don’t know if I could get through it. He was like a son to me.” We sat with the weight of that statement for a few seconds until he broke the silence.

“Hold on. I’m getting another call.”

While he tended to business on his other line, I waited, heavyhearted. How could this thing happen to Rickey? How could I worship God in the heaviness of everything?

After a few moments, the phone silence was broken by Jon’s voice. “Rickey just woke up,” he said, and we both burst into tears.

I walked into the church, through the lobby, and into the main auditorium. There, Brandy and I entered with such gratitude, such praise. And as the music began, I looked at Brandy, now on her knees, arms outstretched, thanking God for the miracle he’d done. In that moment, I joined her, and together we wept in joy as we fixed our eyes on the Giver of life. 

Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change The Way You Worship BEHIND THE MUSIC

The fifth word commonly translated as praise, the word bârak, is a word of humility. Bârak embodies the notion of kneeling before God, of blessing and adoring him, of recognizing one’s position in relation to him. It’s a word used 289 times in the psalms, and on each occurrence, it’s used to describe worshippers falling on their faces before God in reverence, adoration, and thanks. 

Scholars of the ancient Hebrew provide additional insights into the word bârak. They believe that in the original context, the term did not simply mean bowing down. Instead, it carried the connotation of bending low while keeping one’s eyes fixed on the king. To bârak is to be transfixed.

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As we continue to expand our understanding of Praise and Worship by examining the 7 Hebrew words used for Praise, today we focus on BARAK.. a position of humility and dependence. Let us discover our need to fall on our face with our gaze to the heavens… a position of praise.

The Most Powerful Men Must Fall Down Before Him.

Psalm 72:11 KJV

Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: All nations shall serve him.

 Psalm 72:15 (KJV)

 And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba: Prayer also shall be made for him continually; And daily shall he be praised.

 2 Chronicles 6:12–15 (KJV)

 And he stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands: 

 For Solomon had made a brasen scaffold, of five cubits long, and five cubits broad, and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court: and upon it he stood, and kneeled down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven, 

 And said, O LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee in the heaven, nor in the earth; which keepest covenant, and shewest mercy unto thy servants, that walk before thee with all their hearts: 

 Thou which hast kept with thy servant David my father that which thou hast promised him; and spakest with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thine hand, as it is this day.

All Things Must Fall Down Before Him

All of Creation Must Fall Down Before Him

Psalm 95:6 KJV

O come, let us worship and bow down: Let us kneel before the LORD our maker.

 Psalm 103:1–2 (KJV)

 Bless the LORD, O my soul: And all that is within me, bless his holy name. 

 Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all his benefits:

 Psalm 103:20–22 (KJV)

 Bless the LORD, ye his angels, That excel in strength, that do his commandments, Hearkening unto the voice of his word. 

 Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; Ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure. 

 Bless the LORD, all his works In all places of his dominion: Bless the LORD, O my soul.

Even Unbelievers Will One Day Fall Down and Worship

Romans 14:11 KJV

For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

Philippians 2:9–11 KJV

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 

And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

We Fall Down When Seeking the Presence of God.

When Facing a Trial

 Daniel 6:10 (KJV)

 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

When Confessing

Ezra 9:5–6 KJV

And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the LORD my God, 

And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.

Because of Our Boldness to Enter His Presence

Ephesians 3:12–14 KJV

In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. 

Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. 

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

When Experiencing God’s Presence

 Psalm 100:4 (KJV)

 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, And into his courts with praise: Be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

Ezekiel 3:22–23 KJV

And the hand of the LORD was there upon me; and he said unto me, Arise, go forth into the plain, and I will there talk with thee. 

Then I arose, and went forth into the plain: and, behold, the glory of the LORD stood there, as the glory which I saw by the river of Chebar: and I fell on my face.

Revelation 7:9–12 KJV

After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 

And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. 

And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, 

Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

Chris Tomlin recounts the following:

Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change The Way You Worship BEHIND THE MUSIC

It was the late 1990s, a time when the modern praise and worship movement was just taking hold. I’d traveled throughout college leading worship for youth retreats and church camps, and the summer after my senior year, I’d booked twelve camps in twelve weeks. One of those camps featured a dynamic young speaker from Atlanta. 

These were the days before Louie and I were close friends, before our ministries had become so intertwined, and as I listened to him preach night after night, I was taken by the way he brought the scriptures to life. Midway through the camp, he asked the students to turn to Revelation 4, and as he read the scriptures, he brought us to the throne room of God. He showed us Christ, seated at the right hand of God, showed how people of every tongue, tribe, and nation came before that throne and presented their crowns, their accomplishments, to the King of the universe. And this, he said, wasn’t just some event that would happen in the future. This casting down of crowns happened day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. It was a present reality. One day, he said, it would be our turn to cast down our crowns.

Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change The Way You Worship BEHIND THE MUSIC

I often wonder how our church gatherings might feel if, Sunday after Sunday, we came with the eyes of our souls transfixed on the King. Would we complain about the music, about the song selection, about the volume? If we were bowed down, eyes on the King, would we care? 

At Church of the City, we’ve done our best to incorporate the notion of bârak, of keeping our eyes turned to Jesus in worship. When debriefing a church service over lunch, often we ask the question, “How was the worship?” We encourage people to respond with “That’s the wrong question!” The better questions are “How was your worship?” and “How was my worship?” It’s a question of self-examination, a reminder that when we come into the presence of God together, our sole focus should be on the King.

If we’ve experienced the goodness of God, if we’ve seen him at work in our lives, in the lives of our friends, in the life of our church, how can we not bârak? How can we not fall to our knees in gratitude with our eyes fixed on him?

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 4:19 PM November 11, 2021.

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