Praise the Name of Jesus
Praise and Praise dancing
We as individuals have a need to get to know our creator, our maker. Some of us have gotten to know God's heart and mind and will and some people are still searching for him. Praising him is one way to move closer to him. When we praise each other we tend to live in peace with each other and we move closer to each other. We relate at a more friendly level when we praise each other. Likewise, we move closer and relate more deeply to God when we praise him in a sincere way. We can praise God or others verbally when we discuss their great attributes. Pastors and ministers praise God with the use of sermons; likewise, song and music can be used as vehicles by which praise takes place. We can also praise God with dance.
In fact, praising God the Father with praise dancing had been going on among God's people way back to King David's time and even further. In the psalms 149 and 150 the writer commands that we should praise the Lord with dance. The writer (some think it may have been David) also gives permission for the people to praise God with dance. Praise dancing is a biblically sanctioned form of praising God. As Bob Sorge, in his book "Exploring Worship" states, "The scriptures clearly enumerate for us the various ways God expects us to praise." p3.
The Victory Chant is a song I did my last narration about and it was a warfare dance. Another type of Christian dancing is known as praise dancing.This song is called, "Praise the name of Jesus."This song therefore calls for a praise dance. Praise dancing focus's on praising God and the name of God which this song does. Even the title makes clear whose name is being praised; namely, Jesus's. As stated in the last paragraph, in the Old testament, God gave permission for his people to praise him with dance and wants his people to freely praise him through dance. Psalm 149:1,3, (NIV, 1978) states, "Praise the Lord. Sing to the Lord a new song. Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine and harp." Praise dancing is definitely a sanctioned scriptural form of praising God listed together with the use of song and instrumental music. In this psalm, the writer is giving permission for dancers to praise the name of the Lord with dance and telling others to give people permission to or to "LET THEM" praise him with dance too. This song is called "Praise the Name of Jesus" This is a new song, sung to the Lord Jesus with music and now it is put to dance so that this psalm is in effect being obeyed. Through this dance the name of the Lord Jesus is indeed praised through song, dance and music. The three various ways God expects us to praise him as stated in this psalm are carried out when I dance to the words of the song and dance to the music.
Psalm 150:1,4 (NIV,1978 by New York International Bible Society)., states the same thing about praising the Lord except in this psalm it is phrased as a command. It states, "Praise the Lord. Praise him with tambourine and dancing." King David used to praise the name of God through dance. In the psalm 150, the writer is commanding us to do the same. He is commanding us to to praise the Lord and praise him with dance. Bob Sorge interprets this passage ,"Praise ye the Lord" (Psalm 150:1, KJV) by saying "We praise the Lord because we are commanded in his word to do so." p6. Bob goes on to say "Have you noticed that God has not asked us to praise him? That is because kings do not ask--they command!" p7. We are commanded to "Praise the Lord" and furthermore commanded to "Praise him with tambourine and dancing."
Bob Sorge makes a couple of more interesting comments about praise. He says,"We will never grow and mature in our expressions of praise until we are willing to praise him in a manner pleasing to the Lord--the way he wants us to praise." p.3 We grow as we express our praise through songs and music. We grow and mature even further in the realm of praise when we praise him with dance. God commands us to praise him with dance so it is good to obey him by praise dancing. Bob Sorge goes on to say "He wants us to praise him authentically and genuinely, incorporating the scriptural forms of praise as a willing sacrifice. Therefore if lifting of hands is not "my way of praising God," then we need to make it our way of praising! We need to do it until it becomes a natural and genuine part of our expression to God."p.3. I will paraphrase this statement using dance as follows: If dancing is not "our way of praising God" than we need to make it our way of praising. We need to do praise dancing until it becomes a natural and genuine part of our expression to God. If we cannot dance with our feet than we can praise dance with our arms and hands. Even the children are praise dancing with their arms and hands in churches all over the world to "action songs". Now there is a growing number of Christian dancers praising the name of God the Father and Jesus the Son. It is great that praise dancing in the spirit of Davidic dancing is being embraced by God's people again. From the e-mails I've received and discussions I have had with people after I have praise danced in church and elsewhere, it has became obvious that many people seem to be struggling with the appropriateness of dancing to God in the assembly of God's people and in his sanctuary and church. The above two portions of Scripture make it clear where God stands on the subject.
Another subject pertinent to Christian dance that I would like to discuss is the issue of who should dance before God. Some people believe only a skilled dancer or a professional dancer should dance in front of a congregation or in the pews. David danced before God and the people of Israel and I doubt he was a professional dancer. He may have picked up dance moves from other Jews but his profession was shepherd, musician, warrior and leader after all. Some opera singers sing in churches before the congregation but so do non-professional singers with little or no voice training. We get blessed by a gifted, technically trained and skilled opera singer but we also are blessed by a gifted and talented non-professional singer. We get blessed by the beautiful jetés or leaps of a professional dancer but we also get blessed by a non-professional unskilled dancer with the ability to use expressive hands and face to help people to focus on and praise God the Father or Jesus. Professional dancers keep giving your great talent and skill and the results of years of training back to God. Non-professional dancers who are called by God keep doing the dance God called you to do.
Another subject related to Christian dance in general, and praise dancing in particular, that I would like to touch upon is the unique Christian Dance language. God's Spirit will inspire whom God chooses, to use original arm moves and steps and Christian Dance language to help to explain concepts that are only Christian in nature. For example, I give the glory to God the greatest inventor and choreographer for showing me the Christian dance moves that was to be used to explain God's unique and most perfect grace. I boast in my God and his son Jesus for giving the original and unique dance word for "Hope in the Rock" and the dance word for "God's will" and "God's righteousness". It is God the Father's genius working through the inventors and choreographers of new Christian dance words and styles because of the choreographers faith in Jesus his son. I firmly believe he is calling both non-professional dancers like King David was and professional dancers to praise him through dance.Furthermore, he uses both non-professional and professional dancers also to invent new dance words and choreography. May we continue to do so in unity and love. I believe that one day the professional dancers, non-professional graceful and gifted dancers plus the graceful and not so graceful congregational members in all the churches around the world will all dance in unity and in praise to their God. I have a terrible voice but I still sing praises in church. I was not given the gift of a beautiful voice but people still put up with my voice in the congregation. Accept for my husband who reminds me that I sing off key! The gifted and ungifted sing praise in church and God accepts the praise of an ungifted but sincere singer. God accepts the praise of a sincere ungifted dancer too. I encourage Christians and those searching for God their maker to try dancing before God as a way to draw closer to him and as a way to know his heart and his love for them more intimately. Dancing privately at home is a less intimidating place to begin. Getting to know God's heart and mind more intimately is a great pleasure that man has a need to experience. We were made to commune or know God intimately. Being in the presence of God our creator is something we all search for the ability to experience.
There is a way to walk toward or ascend to the presence of God. First I have to stop focusing on trials or distress or problems in my life. I have to leave them with God. I have to stop thinking of myself. The first song in this trilogy namely, "The Solid Rock" helps me do that. By the end of the song I have anchored firmly to the Rock, Jesus. My ship or soul is firmly anchored to the greatest Hope of man; namely, Jesus and thus the storms of life cannot sink me into the waters of despair or harm me. This next picture visually represents how my spirit and soul reaches up to heaven so to speak and through the veil to symbolically grab unto or cling or anchor to the robe of the one whom I put my hope in; namely, Jesus. I anchor upward not downward. This concept of hope is exclusive to Christianity because it involves Jesus the "Christ" who is the only way to God the Father who is in heaven. Certain moves can be "redeemed " and borrowed from the world as Jane C. from Ottawa puts it but some dance words are also inspired directly from God. The rock metaphor can be used in another way and this song touches upon this second way too.
A rock I stand upon upholds my body and feet better in a storm than sand. A house or a soul built on the rock does not sink like a house built on sand can in a storm. (Read the Hope narration for more information about the Christian hope and the rock.) Likewise, Jesus as the Rock upholds my soul better than anything or anyone else can during the storms of life. He becomes a safe island made of Rock (like the one in the video that I dance upon) for me despite the stormy ocean or lake surrounding it. In the video I am standing and dancing on a very solid Physical piece of Canadian rock on an island of Lake of Bays, Ontario. I am Spiritually standing on the Solid Rock of Jesus when I put my hope in him to help me with daily trials and problems. The physical rock was meant to symbolize the spiritual rock namely, Jesus. This rock just outside of Algonquin was danced upon to symbolically represent the truth that my soul stands and does not sink in despair when I put my hope and trust in Jesus. After I prayerfully give my distress to God I can come up to the house of the Lord or his tabernacle or temple or mountain. I have prepared myself to come into his courts with praise. I have moved from the first song to the second in this trilogy. The second song in this trilogy which this narration talks about also mentions Jesus as the Rock. It says "Praise the name of Jesus. He is my rock."
Our approach to God's presence involves preparing our hearts by shifting our soul away from ourselves and to begin focusing on God. Impure thoughts or other sins and feelings filled with fear or unbelief instead of faith hinders us so God cannot be present in our lives or situation. As Terry Law in Praise and Worship puts it, "God is a holy God. Often the atmosphere will be tainted with impure thoughts. When we all enter into praise, praise literally sanctifies the atmosphere. It changes our thoughts from the negative to the thoughts of God" p157. We can enter the presence of God a number of ways, for example, through prayer. One major way we can do so and the way the Israelites used to approach God is by praising God with song, music and/or dance. Bob Sorge says "The majority of Scriptures containing any clue to the general approach of the Israelites in Davidic times give the impression that they came before the Lord with songs of celebration and praise." p30. Praise during church service is very important for it helps each member of the church to approach God more closely. Bob goes on to say "Let us also keep in mind that praise is not so much God coming into our presence as it is our going into his presence. Enter his gates with Thanksgiving and his courts with praise." Psalms 100:4.p32. We walk and dance into his presence with praise. We can and should enter his courts with praise. This is what I do in this second song of this trilogy. Bob also says "Furthermore, it is not that God descends to meet with us when we praise, but rather that we ascend unto him. "Let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob'" (Isaiah 2:3). Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place?" p32. Praise is the way of ascent of the people of God up his mountain or hill or to the house of God.
As Terry Law put it, "The Jewish people would sing the Psalms of Ascent as they journeyed up to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast days." p241 (The Power of Praise and Worship).Terry Law. Terry continues, "Notice where the Psalms of Ascent start ; Psalm 120:1 "In my distress I cried unto the Lord, and he heard me" And notice where the Psalm of ascent end; Psalms 134:2 "Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and bless the Lord." They begin with man's problems, with man's distress and difficulties and they end with man in the presence of God in the sanctuary" p242. Likewise, in "The Solid Rock" I start with my distress and thus am focusing on myself. By the end of the song I have begun to focus on Jesus who is my Rock. In Praise the Name of Jesus I can begin to focus on praising Jesus and joyfully entering closer to his presence through praise. My heart and mind is free of distress and I can begin to focus on praising Jesus in this song and prepare to worship in the last song. Christians like the Jewish people move through the Psalms of ascent and I have begun my personal psalm of ascent about this time in this hope trilogy. An explanation of the Jewish tabernacle explains the reason why praise is a way to draw nearer to God in another way.
The Jewish tabernacle had rooms that moved the priests closer to God. Praise is seen as occurring in the Holy place and worship in the Most Holy Place. In these songs, it can be imagined that I am symbolically moving through these rooms too sometimes when I dance them. As Terry Law in "The Power of Praise and Worship" states "The holy place relates to the soul, and praise relates us to the elements of the soul." p245. Terry also says "Praise begins with an act of the will. We decide to put on a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. p249. By the end of the Solid Rock I have made a willful decision to trade a spirit of heaviness and despair and have put on a garment of praise. During the praise and worship service each member of the congregation must choose to do the same thing. I willfully praise God despite my trials and I praise God because I know he will help me through them. In church when we praise with song we do the same thing in order to prepare ourselves to praise and worship God more intimately.
In the Holy place there is a candlestick. Terry Law states, "The candlestick represents the human mind; a human mind that is illuminated by the fire of the Holy Spirit. p250. Further down on this page he states, "We are going through the active process of the renewing of our minds. Our minds are being submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ" p 250. He brings to mind how he has helped me with my past troubles which reassures me that he will help me in the present troubling circumstance. These past memories bring peace to my mind and I submit to him in faith. During "Praise the name of Jesus" I begin to sense the presence of God in the form of the Holy Spirit reminding me that Jesus is indeed my rock and my fortress. My mind has been illuminated by the Holy Spirit about these truths and so my mind is renewed. The soul is made up of the will, mind and emotion and it is in the Holy place or when I praise Jesus that my will and mind begins to submit and focus on Jesus and not myself.
Another item of furniture in the holy place is the golden altar of incense. As Terry states, "This altar represents the human emotions."p251. When my mind begins to dwell upon Jesus as my Rock my emotions respond with joy. As Terry puts it "our emotions give powerful and intense expression through the praise of our lips and our heart. p. 251. Every element of my soul namely; my will, mind and emotion are focused on God and so I express this by dancing with great joy. My whole soul is engaged in praising Jesus as my Rock and the one in whom I will trust and my body through dance expresses what is going on in my soul. My facial expression expresses the emotion of the joy most fully. We can talk or sing about joy but dancing shows joy like no other medium of praise can. Dance can sometimes express the joy of Christians better than songs or instruments can because the emotions on the face and energy of the dance can show the emotion of joy sometimes more effectively and more fully to others. This is why dance is being used powerfully to reach out to searchers for God about the healthy joy God gives those who believe in him. Very often by the end of this song I have a great joy in my heart and begin sensing the communion of my spirit with God's Holy Spirit. Figuratively speaking, by the last song I have moved from praise dancing to worship dance and have moved into the most holy place. This will be discussed more fully in the narration on "The Churches One foundation" that I hope to start and finish soon. As Terry puts it "It is that emotional thrust that brings us through the veil into the act of worship. That emotional thrust is the joy that we feel.
I and most people do not feel like praising God in the midst of the storm but I find if I sacrifice or give praise to God even when I do not feel like it God often blesses me with his presence, his peace and his joy. As Bob Sorge puts it, "May we not be a complacent company, but may we be among those who are willing to stir themselves and offer up a sacrifice of praise in the midst of adverse circumstances." p44. It takes a lot of energy and effort to praise God in times of distress and so praise is a sacrifice during adverse circumstances A sacrifice is a sacrifice when it costs us something and in this case the cost is energy and effort. In a way then we sacrifice on this altar ourselves, (including our body and soul, energy etc.) in the form of our praise. A dancer does it by walking and dancing with her or his feet and by raising holy and praising hands. God becomes pleased with our praise and often blesses us with his joy. The presence of God becomes more real too because of our focus on him. As Terry explains, Every time a high priest came into the holy place, he was to take a handful of the incense and sprinkle it upon the living coals on that altar. The resulting cloud of perfumed smoke permeated the linen veil that separated the presence of the shekinah glory of God from the priests. p 251. Terry also says "It is at the golden altar of incense that a sacrificial fragrance rises up into the nostrils of God and makes Him well pleased. Incense was very costly. This speaks of the sacrifice that praise represents in the subjection of the human soul to the flow of the Spirit of God. p.252. Terry says then that praise is the new incense and sacrifice that rises up into the nostrils of God that Christians are to minister to God with. Praise dancing then is important in order to help the Christian dancer and those watching the dancer to draw ever nearer to the presence or glory of God during the praise and worship part of the church service. Anyone who praises God through song or dance has had this experience. It is interesting to note that as Chuck Pierce (The worship Warrior) states, David's Tabernacle, after the dedication, shifted from animal sacrifices to sacrifices of joy, thanksgiving and praise." p.210. Christians can ascend to God like the Jews used to during their feast times. Christians can also walk toward God like the priests used to by praising him through dance etc.
The last number of paragraphs have focused on praise as a way to move closer to God or to walk closer towards his presence like the Jewish priests did or to ascend his mountain like the Jews did during their festivals. I have also discussed that praise dancing is a biblically sanctioned form of praising God the Father and Jesus his son. Now I will turn my attention to defining what praise and praise dancing is.
Praise like grace and hope is a concept. Sometimes it is easier to define a concept by stating what it is not. Praise is not worship or thanksgiving. Praise, thanksgiving and worship have similar elements which overlap with each other but there are differences that make these distinct words with distinct definitions and thus not ideal synonyms. For example, praise is us speaking or dancing to or about God. That is why Christian dancers tend to look and gesture towards heaven where God is king of. This next picture shows an example of these arm gestures and uplifting of the face poses which are used a lot when someone is praise dancing. Worship and prophecy are different then praise. Prophecy is God talking to us. Worship, on the other hand is us talking to God or praising God and God speaking, or responding back to us. God does not always respond when we praise him. We may sense his presence when we praise but he does not always respond.We do not always move from praise to worship. When looking at praise from this perspective we can see that praise is an important element in worship but not a synonym for worship. Praise can be a one way communication with God or someone. True worship just like true relating with others is always a two way communication between two people or God. As Bob Sorge puts it "In failing to recognize the relationship between praise (us speaking) and prophecy (God speaking) , we loose a very important element in worship."p127. Praise then is a one way communication not a two way communication like worship is. Praise, within the context of Christian dance involves gestures towards God and thus usually upward hand and eye movements.
As stated in the last paragraph, praise has overlapping elements that also belongs to thanksgiving and worship. For example, we acknowledge God's goodness gratefully when we thank him and also when we praise him. We thank God publicly or silently during personal prayer etc. We can worship privately or publicly too. As Bob Sorge states in his book, (Exploring Worship - - A practical guide to praise and worship) "One distinctive of praise concerns its extroverted nature. It is characterized by celebration and exhilaration and is expressed through singing, shouting, speaking forth ,playing of instruments, dancing and other external forms. p.2" When I thank or worship God I can do so privately through quiet prayer or I can thank him publicly in front of others. Praise though is always done in front of others. It is never private. The Jewish word for praise, yadah, has two meanings. As Terry states "Yadah means to acknowledge in public." p131. It is telling others about God publicly.
The best way to understand what praise means is to examine the words used for praise in the Old Testament and particularly the psalms." ( Terry, p.130). The first word for praise I will be examining is yadah. Chuck Pierce in the book '(The Worship Warrior) says "Praise (or the Jewish word yadah) is to worship God with extended hand." This is a second meaning for the word "yadah". p150. Terry Law states, "It (yadah) implies worshipping with raised hands."p131. Another meaning for yadah or praise then is worshipping God with raised hands. Likewise, I extend and raise my hands like the picture shows in order to represent this element of praise. Dancing involves raising ones hands some of the time. That is why praising and dancing go hand in hand so to speak! Chuck also says "Praise comes from a Latin word meaning "value"or "prize". Praise says thank-you for each aspect of God's nature." p151. As Chuck Pierce put it "With hands lifted up, we declare the merit of God and we thank Him for everything He has put in our hands."p150. My hands were extended and open to receive God's presence and blessing but to also uplift, prize, acknowledge and thank him for all that he has given me.We praise the aspects of a person's nature that we prize and bless them when we do so. Likewise we bless God when we value and prize God's nature during our praise and worship portion of a church service.
Another element of praise is that it involves God, gods, a person or object. For example I praise my children. When I do so I express admiration for who he or she is. Christians also praise God. As Terry Law states in his book (The Power of Praise and Worship), praise means speaking well of, extolling or magnifying the virtues of someone. p130." Terry says "Another word for praise is shabach. The word praise in this context means to laud, to speak well of in a high and befitting way." p.133. Those we value and prize we praise by speaking well of them in a high way. In other words when we praise someone, we are lifting them up and thus their name up. When I praise Jesus I am lifting up his name. Many people use his name in vain but praising his name lifts it up not down like cursing someone's name does. I do a lifting motion with my hands as follows to signify this idea of magnifying , speaking well of in a high way or the lifting up element of praise.
The hands that lift his name also provide a throne for him to sit on. If I use my imagination a bit I can see that the lifting of my hands like this also looks like a seat. When I lift Jesus' name up high I am also enthroning him. The KJV (King James Version,1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.) states, "but you are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel." (Psalm 22:3). Praising him by lifting his name high allows him to be enthroned on those types of praises. He symbolically sits enthroned upon these uplifted hands or voices. Terry Law states, "The word "inhabitest" means to actually sit or reside in a place. The Swedish have an excellent alternative in their translation of that verse; it says "Thou are enthroned upon the praises of Israel" When we join together to praise Him, we literally offer a throne to the King. Praise is the throne that the King of Kings sits upon, and He sits upon that throne in the midst of us " p156. People who praise God often feel his presence. Why? It is because God inhabits praises. When I praise him or lift up his name those uplifted hands create symbolically a seat or throne he can sit on. This same picture also shows then the dance word meant to represent praise as a throne that the king of king sits upon in the midst of his church. My hands are in a parallel position to the ground and it forms that seat for sitting. We sense God's presence often while we praise him then because he inhabits, sits, is enthroned or resides in a place where praise for him is found. Our hearts need to be prepared to enthrone our holy God by focusing on Him not on ourselves, believing in Him and his Son Jesus and by confessing and turning from sins. When we do this then he will often dwell among the praisers more fully and we will sense his presence.
A good king protects his people when they are in trouble. Good kings throughout history built fortresses and walls to protect their people. Jesus does the same for us. He protects as a fortress does or a good king does. I mime creating a wall around me as this picture attempts to show in order to represent the idea of God being my protector, wall or fortress. As Terry Law states, "Praise relates to God's character, who he is".p120. Like the song says he is my fortress. I will enthrone him for the kingly attributes or character traits that he has. Those attributes are then that he is my rock, fortress and deliverer. I enthrone him and lift his name and thus him up when I praise him using this dance move meant to represent fortress.
The character trait of a rock that Jesus possesses was discussed in earlier paragraphs and the picture for it shown earlier in the narration. A good king or leader is a rock or hope for his people when they are in trouble. He makes decisions to help them out of their troubles. A third attribute of a good king or friend for that matter is that of being a deliverer. Jesus delivers or saves us not only from guilt and sin as discussed in the grace narration but he saves or delivers us from harm too. A good king or president or prime minister saves or delivers his people from trouble. Jesus delivers his people from trouble too. He IS my deliverer. The kingly character trait of a deliverer is something to praise Jesus about. Climbing out of trouble using the lifeline Jesus provides to represent him as deliverer is attempted to be shown in the next picture. Jesus indeed has the character traits of a rock, fortress and deliverer. It is easy then to say, declare, extol , announce and dance what the song states namely, "He is my rock, he is my fortress, he is my deliverer, in him will I trust."
Praise is to be declared or manifested. As Terry mentions, "qara" is another word that relates to praise. The idea there (regarding the meaning of the word) is proclamation, announcing and proclaiming the name of the Lord" p135. As alluded to earlier "praise is expressed through singing, shouting, speaking forth, playing instruments, dancing and other external forms." (Bob Sorge, p2.) Praise fits into dance because the dance gestures do indeed declare and manifest and show forth or visually express the praise for Jesus and his name. As Bob Sorge states "Praise is not praise until it is vocalized or shown forth. There are both vocal and non-vocal forms of praise, but whatever the form, praise is demonstrated-- others are aware that praise is taking place! p. 2,3." I mime the vocal aspect of praise by touching my fingers to my lips like the picture shows. This is meant to represent the idea that I am proclaiming and declaring verbally to all that are watching what great attributes Jesus has.
Outstretched arms as shown in this next picture is the showing forth element of praise. It is easy to see when someone is praising God especially through dance. Using the facial expressions and hand gestures effectively makes it quite obvious to those watching who you are admiring, magnifying -- in short who you are praising. A face looking up to heaven and arms extended towards heaven show those watching that it is God that the dancer is praising. In other words as Bob Sorge puts it, "God's praises can be shown forth in the countenance and bodily expression. p. 3." Another way he put it is as follow, "Praise can be spoken or it can be shown or expressed through animated bodily movement. p. 21." "We are very physical creatures, and the Lord is delighted when we praise him with everything that we are, spirit, soul and body. p24." Dance then is definitely the non-verbal or showing forth form of praise. In these two sequences of dance moves shown in these last two pictures and discussed in these last two paragraphs, both the vocal aspect of praise as well as the showing forth aspects of praise are symbolized one after the other. The video shows this very clearly during the "Praise the name of Jesus "sequence of the song too. In this song I have deliberately used different arm gestures to represent the different elements of the concept of praise. I have done this so it will not be boring to watch but also to represent the different aspects of praise.
David wrote a psalm using words found in this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He did not use the name of Jesus but the Lord instead. In this psalm, namely, Psalm 18:2 it states, "The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer." (NIV.1978 by New York International Bible Society. ) We may not have such great troubles as David had but God the Father is still helping his people through their faith in Jesus his son. This song "Praise the name of Jesus" then, seems to have as its basis this psalm. In fact, "The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration), has this verse of psalm 18 written under the title of the song "Praise the name of Jesus". p 93. The Psalms begin with different forms of distress and trouble man finds himself in like this psalm 18:2 and ends with praise and joy, song, music and dance like the last Psalms; namely, psalms 149 and 150.
Two more aspects of praise is that we praise God directly or indirectly. As Bob Sorge says "We praise God directly by expressing our admiration to him. We praise God indirectly by commending him or magnifying him to others. p1." When the song states "Praise the name of Jesus" I look to the congregation to express the idea of commending him to them by looking at them and also to invite them to praise along with me. I look horizontally out to the congregation whom I invite to join me and who are the others I am magnifying God to, then vertically up to heaven to make it clear who I am magnifying.
The last Old Testament words for praise that will be discussed is halal. As Terry Law states, " Halal connotes a tremendous explosion of enthusiasm in the act of praising. p131." In this song I attempt to capture and express the joyful enthusiasm and excitement I feel as I dance about Jesus and his great virtues as the deliverer, rock etc. by doing flying hops. This photo shows how the flying hop is done to represent praise. Hops and jumps can be translated in dance to mean enthusiasm and excitement. Enthusiasm is definitely another element of praise. Murray Silberling is a Messianic Rabi who dances Jewish Davidic or circle dances with his congregation. He believes Jesus is the Messiah. In his book, (Dancing for Joy -- A Biblical Approach to Praise and Worship) he states, "There is a definite style of dance that I call praise dance. The steps in praise dance are lively, with many hops, skips, jumps and claps. p34." I also incorporate hops and skips in this dance which can be seen clearly in the video.
Aimee Verduzco Kovacs, in her book (Dancing into the Anointing) states, "in summary, the sacrifice of praise is the zealous freewill offering of our actions, our expressions, through the movement of dance as we present our bodies as living sacrifices unto the Lord, as we extol the character of God and His works through the dance. In this dance I use various dance movements to express various elements of praise in order to praise or extol Jesus for who he is. He is my rock. He is my deliverer. He is my fortress. I use flying hops and joyful facial expressions to represent the enthusiasm of praise. I use other moves to represent the elements of public worship, extended hands, the element of proclamation and vocal declaration as well. I have raised my hands to represent lifting him and his name and while doing so have shown forth the element of praise, namely, of providing a throne for him. I declare and proclaim to all that are watching that these are his character traits I have seen in action in my life.
As Murray states, "we proclaim through our dance before all people and the hosts of heaven that Yeshua is our Messiah. God is revealed to all the nations through our dance affirmations. Proclamation is the witness and testimony of the dancers to everyone who is watching. p.33." When people watch me in church or watch the video on the web I prclaim with dance that Jesus is the Messiah who is my rock, deliverer and fortress. Whenever I am in the midst of trouble or trials I have to remember how Jesus was my fortress, rock and deliverer in my past so I can put my hope in him again. This song helps me do so. I hope it encourages others to do so too.
Pictures to follow. (I'm still working on this part, so please be patient, it takes me a while to create these!)