Isaiah 61:3 (NIV)
… to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
I love that reference to a garment of praise.
Merriam-Webster’s definition of the word garment is short and sweet: An article of clothing. Can’t get much plainer than that.
It says to me that God wants us to don praise. Put it on. Wrap it around us. He wants us to wear it like a costly garment, spread it over our minds, fit it close to our hearts—and in the doing, we will glorify Him…“display His splendor.”
Why do we wear clothing? Adam and Eve figured out the first and foremost reason the second they sank their teeth into that forbidden fruit.
It covers our nakedness.
Praise…to cover the bare ugliness of our sins? Praise…to guard the privacy of our innermost beings against the prying eyes and fiery darts of evil?
Clothing also protects against the elements…heat and cold, wind and rain, sleet and snow. Firefighters wear flame-retardant clothing to protect them from excessive heat and flames. Eskimos wear heavy parkas and fur to shield them from freezing cold temperatures.
Welders. Cowboys. Laboratory workers. Any occupation that places people in harm’s way also provides proper gear—yes, that’s right…garments—to keep them as safe as possible from the inherent risks of their professions.
Praise…as a protective barrier between us and the harsh, soul-destroying elements of the world? Praise…a guard against the enemy we fiGe man (or woman).” Indeed, most of us tend to place enormous importance on what we wear. Proper clothing is a bolster to confidence…it makes us feel good about ourselves. Wilhela Cushman, 25-year fashion editor for Ladies Home Journal, is often quoted as saying, “Just around the corner in every woman’s mind is a lovely dress, a wonderful suit, or entire costume which will make an enchanting new creature of her.”
Praise…making new creatures of us? Praise…bolstering our spiritual assurance? Praise…making poised, protected, powerful Christians of us?
Father, I so love to worship You! You are my Creator, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. You are great and greatly to be praised…and I do praise You, with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. I wrap myself in my garment of praise, and thank You for turning it into a cloak of protection, a cover of righteousness, and in the end, a wedding gown unlike any ever seen by man. Amen
by Delia Latham