The Praises of Men

Photo by Shelagh Murphy.

And the women sang to one another as they celebrated, “Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands.”

1 Samuel 18:7

Both Saul and David are mentioned in the song but their reaction to the song was very different. Saul’s reaction was…and Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him. He said, They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands, and what more can he have but the kingdom?” 1 Samuel 18:8. Do you know what David’s reaction was in all this? – None-David had no reaction to the song sang about him, this tells us who they both were.

The praises of men will either reveal our security or our insecurity.

Saul had a strong reaction to the song. His reaction to the song revealed his insecurities. Insecurity thrives on other people thinking we are better than we really are. Insecurity also thrives on comparison. We feel secure if we seem better than others. But let somebody better than we enter the room, we’ll have a problem. Saul had no problem with people heaping praises on him until they began praising David more.

When we are secure in God, we are not moved by people’s praises or criticisms because we know who we are. David has no reaction to people’s praise because he is secure in his identity and doesn’t need people to affirm him. Affirmation is an innate need in all of us. It is not bad for people to tell us that we are good at something and give us feedback. But when we base our worth on people’s affirmation or are crippled by a lack of it, we are in great danger.

We will be tested by the praises of men.

In this day and age of likes, followers, subscribers, internet fame, and people we’ve never met having an opinion about our lives. I believe there is a great need for us to know how to navigate the praises of men. The refining pot is for silver and the furnace of gold [to separate the impurities of the metal], and each is tested by the praise given to him [and his response to it, whether humble or proud]. Proverbs 27:21 AMP

People’s praises are God’s refining pot. We will either pass the test or fail it.

Praises of men will reveal humility or pride in us.

It’s very easy to stumble on what people say about us. God putting people in front of us to praise us is a way of testing us.

This is important, if God gives you His glory and people come to you, are you going to hog it and feed your insecurities? Or are you going to step out of the way and give Him the praises due to Him? And, if nobody claps and affirms you will you still do what God has called you to do?

So many people have left their purpose on the altar of people’s affirmation. People have stopped doing what God told them to do because they didn’t want men to stop clapping for them. people have also stopped doing what God told them to do because people didn’t clap for them. The pendulum swings both ways and we have to be careful.

We can want the praises of men more than the praise of God.

Following God will cost you. Doing things God’s way will cost you. Often times it costs you the approval of men. Sometimes we are going to choose to go with God even when the people we want to champion us and support us don’t. That’s a price God requires us to pay. Yet at the same time, many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees, they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human praise more than praise from God. John 12:42-43

They loved the praises of men than the praise that comes from God.

We can confuse the two, sometimes God’s praise leads to man’s approval. But most often what people are praising isn’t what God is praising. We should therefore be careful to approve people as God approved because they have man’s approval. We are told because that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God. Luke 16:15 Let us be wise and not be easily deceived.

You’ll have to guard God’s glory.

This is something we do publicly but mostly privately. God says, 1 am the LORD that is My Name; My glory I will not give to another, or my praise to idols. Isaiah 42:8 He is jealous for His glory. If He puts us on platforms and elevates us, He will expect us to carry His glory without perverting it. We pervert it when we draw it to ourselves other than to Him. We pervert it when we don’t correct people when they want to give us the glory and praises due to His name.

David navigates this so well because he removes himself from the story. Even when they sang about him. God could get all the glory because David was humble enough to step out of the way and let God be praised.

Because God could trust David with His glory, even his enemies knew about him. The commanders of the Philistines asked is this not the David about whom they sing in their dances: ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands’?” 1 Samuel 29:5

If we’ll let God praise us, He’ll make sure we are honored where we need to be honored. Acknowledged where we need to be acknowledged and affirmed where we need to be affirmed.

Can God trust you with the praises of men?

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