One of my most precious possessions is a recording of my father interviewing my great-grandmother as she tells of the wondrous works of God in her life. Though her voice is aged and frail, there is a divine power upon it as she testifies of God's goodness. She talks about tent-revival meetings where Holy Spirit glory came down. She describes angels visiting her bedside. She declares miraculous healings, supernatural encounters, persevering prayer. It's a rich story, filled with great sorrow but greater joy, and one that could wow any Hollywood script-writer, I'm sure. But to Grandma Gandy, it wasn't a block-buster script - it was her day-to-day faith walk with God. To her, it was what life was meant to look like when you put your hope in Him.
Whenever I think about her life and her legacy, I am drawn to Psalm 145. I will confess that I am quite partial to this song. In it I find verse after verse to meditate upon. From beginning to end, it never disappoints. But, it reminds me of my great-grandmother because, within its stanzas, we find lessons on how our praise touches the generations behind us and the generational mandate we are called to walk in. It begins like this:
I will extol You, my God, O King;
And I will bless Your name forever and ever.
2 Every day I will bless You,
And I will praise Your name forever and ever.
3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
And His greatness is unsearchable.
David says in these verses that he has one thing on his daily to-do list: to bless or "barak" the Lord. To "Barak" means "to bow before" the Lord. It's a position of humility and worship, a position of honor that is given to royalty. He begins this song declaring just that: that God is King eternal and that, while our worship of Him will go on through eternity, it must start here and now, on this side of heaven in our day to day lives. As we acknowledge His Kingship, we are reminded that He is Provider, that He is Ruler, that He is Healer. In other words, when I acknowledge His Kingship, I acknowledge that everything my day holds - good, bad, or ugly - is in His hands. That kind of acknowledgment causes my heart to praise! And not just any praise, but as verse 2 & 3 state, a "hallal" kind of praise! The praise that "shines, boasts, raves, and is clamorously, loud and foolish." It doesn't seem like a type of response we would offer royalty after bowing our knee. Imagine, if you will, a rough and tumble redneck bowing before Queen Elizabeth all regal-like, only to then jump up and shout, hoopin' and hollerin', slappin' his knee, and waving his trucker's style hat in the air! Most of us would be appalled at such a display! But this is exactly the response David calls for and is exactly the response our King adores. He loves a wild, loud, rhythmic praise! And David sets his daily song to be just that: a loud, crazy hallelujah.
With David's day set and with his "life-song" ready to go, he is able to carry out his generational mandate, for the Psalm goes onto say:
4 One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts.
The word for "praise" here is "Shabach". It means "to shout or address loudly; to expel the breath in outrageous expression; to roar." Our generational mandate as Believers is seen so beautifully in this verse. Here we see that we aren't suppose to be shy about what God has done in our lives; we shouldn't just 'try to live it quietly and hope our children see our faith.' No! David says, "Shout it to them! Be outrageous with your testimony! Boldly proclaim it to your children and to your children's children!" Remember my recording of my father interviewing my great-grandmother? This is exactly what her raspy, frail voice was doing: shabaching! It didn't have to be loud - it had to be bold. She tells of the wondrous works of God in her life. She declares miraculous healings, supernatural encounters, persevering prayer. That's my family history! When I listen to the boldness of her faith, it's not just a story: it's my inheritance and an invitation. Every story shared by previous generations of God's goodness, grants access for the next generation to claim as their own. What one generation paves the way for, the next generation can step right into and enjoy if they are taught how. That's why the rest of the chapter expounds on this truth line after line. It's vital that we SHABACH our praises to the next generation!
Verse 10 says,
All Your works shall praise (Yadah) You, O Lord,
And Your saints shall bless (Barak) You.
Yadah means "to extend the hand, to throw out, to shoot out the hand (in thanks)" and is usually used in context as a thanksgiving for what God has already done in your. We see through this word that, whenever we proclaim God's goodness to the next generation, those testimonies, those works of God, take on flesh. What do I mean? Well, if God's goodness has worked in us and for us, then WE, ourselves, become HIS WORK! It's not just our words that testify, but our very lives! WE become the work of God that praises Him! We lift up our hands and our entire bodies are an expression of praise for all God has done - one that the next generation will see and understand. It's important then to worship with your children around. Lift those hands! Sing those songs! Bow down low! Let them see it's not just a Sunday thing, but a life-style thing.
We also see this word, yadah, used in the midst of a battle. We see in 2 Chronicles 20:2, "He appointed those to Yadah the Lord in the beauty of holiness as they went out before the army". Part of the strategy of God, then, to save a generation from the enemy's onslaught, is for the older saints to tell of His glory to the saints who come behind. Testimony carries strategic power to defeat the enemy by building up an army that knows who their God is and what their God can do. In other words, if they know what God did for you, they will know what God will do for them. It's time to come out of hiding, then, saints! Let's start telling every story we can to those God has put in our lives, so that we might see an army of faith-filled believers increasing God's territory on the earth.
David concludes the Psalm by saying,
He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
He also will hear their cry and save them.
20 The Lord preserves all who love Him,
But all the wicked He will destroy.
21 My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord,
And all flesh shall bless His holy name
Forever and ever.
In the final verse, David says, "My mouth shall speak the tehillah of the Lord." Tehilla means, "a spontaneous, burst of a creative previously unknown song; born of the spirit." It doesn't have to be a song to be praise. In your day to day conversation with friends, with children, with co-workers, let the "spontaneous, creative, praise" that is "born from your spirit" burst forth. Within that praise is the power of testimony. Revelation 19:10 says that the testimony of Jesus is the very spirit or heart of prophecy. Maybe you don't fancy yourself a prophet. Maybe you are not one who is seeking to give words of knowledge in a church service or even in your day to day life. But one thing is for certain, if you have the "testimony of Jesus" in your heart, a story of something He has done for you, you can prophesy! All you have to do is open your mouth and share the story of His goodness with those around you. Let it burst forth, saints! It will touch the lives of those around you, whether you know it or not. For we see also in this last verse, that what started with just David in verse 1 --"Everyday I will bless you" - , is now impacting "all flesh," aka, everyone, around him -"all flesh shall bless His holy name". Your testimony will transform the spiritual DNA of the generations after you. Their very flesh nature will be changed as they take on the new nature of your family's history in the Lord. I'm telling you - your story has power like we cannot fully understand.
So, let's pick up our generational mandate and shabach God's praises from the rooftops! Let's tehillah in our day to day conversations. Let's allow our very lives to be the yadah God is looking for in the earth. If we do, only heaven will tell exactly how greatly the next generation was changed because of our simple choice to boldly praise.