34th Week in Ordinary Time
Daniel 3:62-67;Daniel 5:1-6,13-14, 16-17, 23-28; Luke 21:12-19
Praise and exalt him above all forever. (Daniel 3:62)
Do you ever wish you had a secret weapon? Something you could use to defend yourself against sin and temptation? Or maybe something that would dissolve discouragement, fear, or confusion? Perhaps you experience opposition from anxiety or shame or some other obstacle to what you know of God’s plan for your life. Who wouldn’t want a weapon that obliterates all these threats to our faith?
Well, praise is that weapon, and it’s available to everyone who believes. Praise focuses your thoughts and your emotions on heavenly realities like God’s goodness, power, kindness, or wisdom—all his attributes. Praise shifts your thinking away from hostile challenges to your faith and onto the truths that have the potential to overpower these challenges.
Notice that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego weren’t yet out of the fiery furnace when they began praising God. They didn’t wait. Right in the midst of the fire, they praised him. With confidence they proclaimed that God loved them and would care for them, even if they died in the furnace.
Today’s reading, and actually the whole Book of Daniel, was written to encourage people facing difficulties: pressures from opposition to their faith, uncertainty arising from the need for wisdom, fears of sacrilege or punishment. It reflects the hostility Jews were facing two hundred years before Jesus was born, but also the kinds of challenges the faithful in any age face. And a powerful weapon against these challenges, the author assures us, is praise.
Try it! Write a psalm of praise similar to this one, using your own challenges in life. “Fear and discouragement, praise the Lord!” “Finances and health, praise and exalt him above all!” “Broken-down car and drafty house, bless the Lord!”
Command your thoughts and feelings to praise him. Command created things to praise and bless him, just as the three men in the furnace admonished the fire and heat to praise and bless him forever. And then watch as your secret weapon blasts a way through for you.
“Holy Spirit, teach me to use the weapon of praise against any resistance to your life that I meet today. I want to praise and exalt God above all!”~WAU