Many of us have been taught to "give praise to God". Most church services typically open with a session of "praise and worship" where the congregation is led by a choir in a time of singing and even dancing praise to The Most High.
But it is easy to just go through the motions without understanding (and enjoying) the mystery behind this arrangement. Starting with praise is not just for church services, it is a direct revelation of how God wants to be approached.
Beyond that, it is a key part of God's pattern for working out victory in our lives. Let's look at this a little closer.
The Divine Battle Formation
In the book of Judges 1:1-2, the children of Israel were faced with a difficult situation. Their leader Joshua was dead and they had a big battle before them.
So the children of Israel did the right thing—they asked God for direction. Specifically they asked what tribe among them should go first.
God's answer was loud and clear—Judah shall go first.
Judah is a spiritual principle of deliberate, intentional and determined praise to God
And what God says about this is important. In verse 2, we read:
The Lord responded “The tribe of Judah will go up. I have handed the land over to them”.
What this signifies is that when we come up against opposition, difficulty, and challenges especially in the face of what God has promised us, in this case our Canaan, we should put Judah first.
What then is Judah?
The name Judah was given to the fourth son of Jacob after his mother, Leah sought the love of her husband. Genesis 29:35 “And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Now I will praise the Lord.” Therefore she called his name Judah”.
So Judah's name means "praise".
Praising God introduces God into the situation. Praising God brings order to our chaos. Praising God grants us victory. Praising God positions us for dominion.
But beyond this, Judah is a spiritual principle of deliberate, intentional and determined praise to God Almighty. It is not always easy to praise when we go through difficult times. But to have victory, we would benefit greatly from praising on purpose.
Praise should not be based on feelings, but on an understanding of God's ways.
In Psalm 22:3, the Bible declares that God inhabits the praises of His people. What this means is that whenever we come up against an unpleasant situation, rather than cower or exclaim in hopeless submission at the situation, we should stand firm and declare the praises of God.
Praising God introduces God into the situation.
Praising God brings order to our chaos.
Praising God grants us victory.
Praising God positions us for dominion.
Put Judah First - Shift your Gaze to God
Putting Judah first should be our priority as Christians. Here are some characteristics of Judah as shown in Scripture that may help you see how powerful this Judah mystery is.
Judah is formidable. In 2 Chronicles 20:21-22, those who came to attack Judah were defeated.
Judah chokes situations, it sees problems the way a lion sees prey, and it gathers resources to overcome situations (Genesis 49:8-10). Praising God also helps your perspective and lets you see things differently. You begin to see solutions when you shift your gaze to God.
Judah prevails over opposition (1 Chronicles 5:2).
Judah unveils God. In Psalm 76:1 “In Judah, God is known; His name is in Israel” When you put praise first, God shows up! In Judah indeed, God is known - and He makes Himself known on your behalf!
What are you going through right now? Why don’t you put Judah first?