With all the attention given to political leaders this year, I’ve been really thinking about the leadership roles we can play as Christian citizens. We don’t have to depend on a politician to steer our country in the right direction; we can and should take on that responsibility ourselves.
That’s why I’ve been writing lately about the core characteristics of Christian leaders. Today, I’d like to continue by sharing how the mouth of a leader lifts up the voice of praise in all circumstances.
In Psalm 66:8, the psalmist declares, “Oh, bless our God, you peoples! And make the voice of His praise to be heard” (NKJV). I love that! We should make the voice of His praise to be heard! In this Thanksgiving season and always, we should do more than just think about how we’re thankful. We need to proclaim His praise out loud for God and others to hear.
I think about Paul and Silas who made the voice of God’s praise to be heard even during a very difficult time. The two ministers were preaching the Gospel in the city of Philippi when they were unfairly arrested, beaten with rods, thrown into an inner prison, and shackled with stocks on their feet.
In that moment, it would have been easy for Paul and Silas to cry, complain, or demand justice. However, somewhat surprisingly, their voices took a much different tone. The Bible tells us that “at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them” (Acts 16:25).
It’s interesting that they weren’t just privately singing to God under their breath, but they were boldly praising God loud enough for the other prisoners to hear. Even in the middle of the worst circumstances one could imagine, they still saw the goodness of God and lifted up the voice of His praise!
Suddenly, as they were praying and singing, a great earthquake shook the prison, broke the shackles off all the prisoners, and opened the prison doors. God showed that their affliction was only temporary; He delivered them at just the right time.
Paul and Silas understood the power of boldly proclaiming God’s praise, and we should as well. Instead of just thinking about how good God is, we need to declare His goodness!
In Psalm 66, there are over a dozen references to praising God out loud. “Say to God, ‘How awesome are Your works” (v. 3). “I will declare what He has done for my soul” (v. 16). “I cried to Him with my mouth, and He was extolled with my tongue” (v. 17).
The psalm also amplifies how keeping a voice of praise is critical to bringing us through trials. “We went through fire and through water; but You brought us out to rich fulfillment” (v. 12). You see, even though we may pass through some trials, God will always bring us out if we’ll trust Him.
The psalmist continues, “I will pay You my vows, which my lips have uttered and my mouth has spoken when I was in trouble” (v. 13-14). What do our mouths speak when we’re in trouble? Do we just complain or do we act as leaders who remind others that God is still great and deserving of praise? Our answer goes a long way in determining if we see victory or defeat. Even when we’re in trouble, we have to be able to see beyond our present circumstances and make the voice of His praise to be heard!