- (Judah Praise Concert – 26th June, 2021)
(…) Animals don’t have the sort of (sentient) brains we have, but they give God praise! The Scriptures tell us this (Daniel 3:57-59, Psalm 148). The God who made all things deserves praise. He made all things and for his pleasure they are and were created. Let your lips give praise to the King – the sacrifice of praise, the fruit of your lips giving thanks to His name (Hebrews 13:15). You cannot give God praise except from a pure heart. Judah was to go in first (Judges 1:1-2). Praise goes first.
Mix equal amounts of the costly spices: stacte, onycha, galbanum, and pure frankincense, then add salt to make the mixture pure and holy. Exodus 30:34
The Scriptures tell us in Exodus 30 about the incense we are to offer, which is our prayers and our praise. Your prayer and your praise are incense to God. The frankincense represents thanksgiving. It is the opposite of myrrh, which means bitter. The Scripture says in 1 Timothy 2:1 that men everywhere should pray. He points out that we should offer prayers, requests, petitions and thanksgiving. He said, “I want men praying for people everywhere.” Then he starts listing out: “For those in authority and rulers, and for all people.” (1 Tim. 2:2-3)
If you are going to combine the four condiments of the incense and the four explanations given in 1 Timothy 2 from verse 1, you must have thanksgiving in your prayer concoction, or it is not acceptable incense to God. This is what Scriptures are for — for extracting truth. The Scriptures are given for correction, for instruction, for teaching, and for rebuke. So, however you take this, understand that the Scriptures were to tell you how to pray.
Scriptures say that you need those four things to make a proper concoction of incense. Look at Exodus 30; you will see the details about the incense. And then, look at 1 Timothy 2, the New Testament interpretation of that incense. Whenever people pray and make petitions asking God to help them, save them, deliver them, help them graduate, help them marry, or give them a job, and they don’t mix it in with thanksgiving for what God has already done continually, then, their incense is not the incense God desires.
What do you give God thanks for? 1 Timothy 2 — for those in authority. Without them, there will be chaos. Look at the few times there is just a slight breakdown of law and order. Look at what happens when policemen run away from any place. In America, for months cities were burning in May and June last year because the police were attacked and they left. Crime broke out everywhere!
Libya had Muammar Gaddafi, a hard man who ruled for many years; a hard, tough dictator. But when they removed him, Libya fell apart. (The UN-backed government in the capital of Tripoli has very loose control of about a third of the country. To the east, Libya is controlled by a renegade general, General Haftar, leading the ‘Libyan National Army’ which has attempted to topple the government in Tripoli. See https://www.npr.org/2021/06/27/1010676961/libya-remains-unstable-nearly-a-decade-after-muammar-gaddafis-ousting) People were going to university for free when Gaddafi was around; (the relative stability and security they enjoyed during his rule is far better than the present situation) – whatever else you think about him.
In all those countries where they killed their leaders suddenly like that and it wasn’t a transition of power, lawlessness broke out. You know how something happens to you and you can call the police? When there is no police, they can rape you to death, and nothing will happen, because nobody is coming (to help). This is what happens in lawless places.
Romans 13 tells you that the government is appointed by God for the purpose of maintaining order. So, even if there might be things they do or are not doing that you don’t like, you shouldn’t want them to stop existing – or there will be no law and order at all. And then, horrible things will happen, and no one will be there to help. But when there is even a semblance of government, there is a restriction on lawlessness or anarchy.
I have given you one reason why you should give thanks for authority. Give thanks always that there is a government. Give thanks! Venezuela experienced the same recession following the drop in prices of oil that we saw in Nigeria. (See https://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/12/venezuelas-economy-shrank-16-5-nigeria-2-2016/?amp=1). But there, civil war broke out. In Nigeria, you are still moving around, going to school. The prices of things increased, sometimes as much as seventeen times more. (See https://guardian.ng/news/world/venezuela-reports-2020-inflation-of-3000-percent). Picture a packet of milk. In Nigeria, they added 200 or 300 naira, and you complained. In Venezuela, a packet of milk went from 1,100 to like 15,000 naira at that time.
You literally have to search for things to give God thanks for, because they are there. You have to make it a duty to find something. Look around. That is what I have done for years. You see people gathered here as we are now, and say, “I thank God that people can gather like this freely,” because there was a time – in the 1990’s – in these universities when cultism was so rife, and they killed people; you couldn’t move. Some of you, you walk freely, going up and down. You don’t understand. You can wear red. Do you guys wear red around? There were times you couldn’t wear red or black in this university. “Come here! Why are you wearing red? Why are you wearing our colours?!”
I want you to understand that there is always something to give thanks for. Do you agree? We don’t have time – I could give you a hundred examples. Give thanks always, in all things. Reject every temptation to complain and murmur. And that way, you can have a ‘Judah Praise’ all the days of your life.
As you are enter your class, thank God that there is a lecturer – even if they come late. Thank God that there is a lecturer at all, that you don’t have to read it all by yourself. Thank God that there are stairs to climb up to your class, that you didn’t have to climb through a window.
Look for what to thank God for, so the praise will continue even after we’ve dispersed from here. Let praise go up here. Challenge your friends, Christians and even non-Christians, to give thanks. When you gather to pray about anything , give thanks. Spend time giving thanks. Whatever it is you are praying about; give thanks for the version of that thing you have. Let people call you a fool. You are going to notice some people get very angry at you. Do you know why? It is demonic. People that don’t mind when you grumble and complain can get very worked up when you are thankful for what good there is.
Don’t just say, “Ah, they fixed this road from here to here. They fixed only three feet.” Give thanks for those three! Don’t say, “Look at the small place they patched. Rubbish people!” Don’t do that. Give thanks for what’s been done. Will you do this? Take the praise out, and the Lord will go with you.
If you haven’t given your heart to Jesus, do so. If you haven’t given your heart to Jesus, you are not using your life to thank the God who created you! Appreciate God that you are breathing, walking around by giving Him your life. One reason why people will go to the lake of fire is because they did not praise God with their lives. You belong to someone. He created you for His pleasure, and you are like a thief. You stole your life and kept it, and called it, “My life.” You actually opened your mouth and told someone, “It is my life.” First, you were a thief, now you are a liar. It is not your life.
God created man and breathed the breath of life into him, and he became a living soul (Genesis 2:6). It is not your life. It is the life of God. John 1 says, “In Him was life, and His life is the light of men.” This light lights every man that comes into the world. So, it is not your life. It is the life of God that you are partaking in! That is why, those who give their life to Christ are wise people. Those who keep it back are thieves and liars, and such people go to the lake of fire…
- Pastor Ita Udoh