God, our creator, provider, sustainer, and savior, deserves eternal praise for His greatness. The significance of praising God has been discussed numerous times throughout the Bible, both in the Old and New Testaments.
You may have heard your worship leader tell believers that “God inhabits the praise of His people” to encourage them to praise and magnify the Lord. However, many of us still need clarification about what this phrase actually means.
What does it mean for God to “inhabit” His people’s praise? How does God inhabit his people’s praise? To fully praise God, believers must seek a deeper understanding and clarity about the meaning of this phrase and its context in the Scriptures.
What Does It Mean That God Inhabits The Praises Of His People?
The saying “God inhabits the praises of His people” is derived from different versions of the Bible in Psalm 22:3, such as the King James Version, which refers to God as “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” “Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises,” says the New International Version (NRV), while “You sit as King atop Israel’s praises” from the Easy-to-Read Version (ERV).
According to the Strong’s Concordance, the Hebrew word for “holy or sacred” is qadosh, a descriptor for God. God is referred to as the Holy One to reflect his eternal nature, divine perfection in the Trinity, and supreme holiness. God is perfect in all His ways in eternity, past, present, and future. Because no one is holy like Him, it is worthy to worship God.
The verb “sit, rest, remain, live, or dwell” is yashab in Hebrew; it is the same word used in Genesis 4:20 to describe a man named Jabal, who is known as the father of those who live in tents and own farm animals.
The word “praise” is derived from the Hebrew word tehillah, which means praise or song of glory. The terms “enthroned” or “sitting” share the same idea: where a person would sit, such as on a king’s seat or in an honorable position at a table, similar to a dwelling place.
Thus, God lives and remains within the songs of devotion and admiration of His people. God inhabits or lives in the praises of His people, which means that God’s presence eventually dwells with his people, particularly when we praise and worship Him.
What Does It Mean To “Inhabit?”
The dictionary defines inhabit as “to be present in or occupy in any manner or form.” We take pleasure in praising God and are grateful for His salvation and redemption, and our Father rejoices when we praise and love Him in this beautiful way.
The term “inhabits” is not suggesting God is only present when people sing praises to Him. We may feel that God is not present at times, but He is always present. God is omnipresent—present everywhere, all the time. However, His presence is powerful in praise.
In Psalm 22:3, God promises to dwell in the people’s praises and always keeps His promises to us. Our worship serves as a meeting place with God, allowing us to experience the very presence of His Holy Spirit and accept His invitation to join Him in His work.
Where Does The Bible Say That God Inhabits The Praises Of His People?
Psalm 22 is a complaint prayer that, more than any other psalm, serves as a bridge between the Old Testament and the story of Jesus’ passion. The psalm is divided into two sections: (1) a prayer for assistance in verses 1–21a, and (2) a song of praise in verses 21b–31.
Psalm 22 is a prophetic psalm of David that portrays Jesus Christ as the Son and Savior who laid down His life. It is about pleading with God to save him from enemies that taunt and torment him and thanking God for saving him.
The majority of this psalm involves David, who is distraught and feels denied by God. He recalls previous rescues and pleads for help from God. “You are holy, and yet you feel so distant.” “But because our forefathers praised and believed in you, and you delivered them, I will praise and trust you as well,” David speaks confidently, knowing that the Lord will listen and David will be delivered.
The psalm begins with Jesus Christ hanging in agony on the cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” However, despite his anguish, he declares his faith in God: “Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel” (Psalm 22:3, ESV).
The only verse in the Bible that uses this exact phrase is Psalm 22:3 KJV. “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” Although God is holy, He comes to us. “O thou that inhabitest in Israel’s praises.” This verse was written for the Lord’s people, the Israelites, where God’s presence inhabiting Israel’s praise was also referred to all believers in Jesus Christ through the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The concept of God inhabiting His people’s praise is that God’s kingdom—His habitat—could have been the tabernacle, where praise was constantly provided to God. In Psalm 22, the Messiah remembers the place and people of praise as He suffers. He is present, but He is confident the compliments and affirmations are suitable. Despite the depths of His anguish, the Messiah believes that the Lord is sacred and deserving of adoration.
We draw near with confidence to the throne of grace so that we may receive mercy in times of need. Even though the Spirit of God may have rested on one or more people before Jesus came, we now have a permanent inhabitance of the Living God through the deposit of His Holy Spirit.
In Psalm 22:3, the Messiah declared, “God inhabits the praise of His people,” expressing His complete trust in God. No matter how lonely and in pain he felt, the Messiah knew that God was present and in control, ruling over His hour of greatest need. He had not been abandoned by God the Father. God was carrying out His sovereign plan, and the Messiah would arrive soon (see Psalm 22:4–5).
How Does God Inhabit The Praises Of His People?
In Psalm 11:14, the Bible refers to heaven as God’s temple, where God is surrounded by praise. However, God’s dwelling place is among the people. In Revelation 21:3, it is described that God made him “home” with His people and will continue to do so. He will continue to be God with them. In 1 Corinthians 3:16–17, Christ declared Himself to be the Lord’s temple, and the presence of God now dwells in him as the church.
According to Hebrews 13:15, we must constantly offer a sacrifice of praise through Christ. We must acknowledge and proclaim God in the manner that he expects and deserves. In 2 Peter 2:9, the apostle Peter says, “But you are the chosen ones, a holy kingdom, God’s special possession, to proclaim the praises of God who called you out of despair into his marvelous holiness and goodness.”
God literally made His home among us, sharing our nature and our struggles. Jesus was the Father’s mouthpiece, and it was Jesus who told His disciples that abiding with Him meant abiding with the Father.
He also teaches us that if we stay close to the Father, the Father will remain close to us. “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another helper, that He may be with you forever,” says John 14:6, “that is, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.”
God, the Father, works His way into our hearts and minds primarily through our praise. When we worship, we are supposed to focus our entire attention on God. Worship is simply assigning value to God in some way.
God indwells everyone who is regenerated in a new covenant context. Participation in the gathered church, the covenant community, is also required for every believer to experience the fullness of God’s glory and presence. God summons his people from the world and their individual lives to worship him in spirit and truth as a corporate body.
The use of the Psalms in Christian worship must be justified. New Covenant believers can use the Psalms with appreciation and recognition that they have a complete picture of God’s historical plan of salvation.
God can minister to others in a variety of ways and will always deal with our hearts directly. However, as His earthly ambassadors, we are called to live a life of praise for others so that they may see whom we live for and glorify God in heaven.
When we fully commit to God’s word, plan for our lives, and give Him all the honor and praise in our words and actions, God’s mighty power indwells us and shines through to the rest of the world. When we become believers, the Holy Spirit comes to live in our hearts, and His power manifests in our thoughts, actions, and interactions.
How Do We Give Praise To God?
Praising God means telling or otherwise expressing how wonderful and great we believe God is and how much we love Him. We should constantly offer a sacrifice through praise, according to the book of Hebrews.
We must acknowledge and proclaim God in the manner that he expects and deserves. There are more psalms of praise that can be found in the Psalms Book. One is found in Psalm 145, which begins, “I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name forever and ever.”
It’s in our best interests to remember that everything we have is a gift from God. The apostle Paul reminds Christians in Thessalonica to celebrate, pray without ceasing, and express gratitude in all situations because it is the will of the Lord for all of us.
“But you are the chosen ones, a holy kingdom, and nation, God’s special possession,” the apostle Peter says in 2 Peter 2:9, “you must proclaim the praises of God who called you out of despair into his marvelous holiness and goodness.”
Praise and true worship can be expressed through words (such as prayer, teaching, singing, or writing) or through other forms of expression (such as dance, painting a picture, or simply opening your heart to Him in love during a moment of quiet stillness).
Singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs can help us express our gratitude to God. Praise can also be done through congregational singing, which involves the church as a community singing as one body. We sing to God with thankfulness in our hearts.
However, when we praise God, it does not have to be expressed orally or in song. We can express our gratitude and love to God by scribbling in a journal or diary, bowing before Him, and acknowledging and remembering that He is the creator and savior.
Psalm 22:3 KJV, “But you are holy, O thou who inhabitest the praises of Israel,” is a reminder to put your trust in the Lord, who is holy and omnipresent. Even in his anguish, Jesus believed in the power and holiness of God, so no matter how much pain and suffering you are going through or how many times you feel like your prayers are going unanswered, his presence becomes more powerful when we praise him.
God’s presence inhabits and dwells in our praise as long as we draw near to him, acknowledge him, and honor and praise him in our words and actions. He is ready to respond when we call his name.