I had taken a carload of team members from our reservation outreach team to see a scenic canyon a couple of hours from where we were staying. Someone forgot to tell me that the station wagon they loaned me had a broken gas gauge. It said three-quarters of a tank. That wasn’t true! It was getting dark, and I decided to take a shortcut across the reservation to get back to our place. It was a pretty deserted dirt road that traversed a very remote part of the reservation, and about halfway back we ran out of gas, 40 miles from the nearest gas station. Those who understand some of what the Bible says about spiritual warfare will understand that ceremonies that summon the spirit world can bring an invasion of spiritual darkness. And apparently, we were stranded in an area that was known for a lot of that kind of supernatural activity. When we got back, a tribal man who grew up on this reservation and knew the area well, said with a look of really deep concern, “If I had known where you were, I would have come after you immediately.”
My passengers were obviously very nervous, and some honestly, almost freaked out by our predicament. I tried to defuse the tension with humor. Yeah, that’s me. That didn’t work. (In fact, my humor seldom does.) Then somebody started to sing a praise song to Jesus … and then another one and then another one. And as long as we were praising, there was like this peace and calm. Whenever we stopped praising, you could cut the air with a knife. Thanks to a Good Samaritan God sent, we ultimately got some fuel; we got home, but only after an unforgettable laboratory in the power of praise.
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “How to Banish the Darkness.”
That night, in our remote corner of an Indian reservation, we experienced the reality of Psalm 8:1-2, our word for today from the Word of God. Here’s what it says: “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.” I like that. When you are praising your awesome Lord, you silence the devil.
Celebrate Jesus and you evacuate the devil, who can’t even stand the name of Jesus. Because it is at that name that he and all his demons must one day bow in total surrender, because the devil’s death warrant is signed in the blood that Jesus shed on the cross. So in those times when the darkness seems to be closing in, you can literally praise the darkness away. Because the one place the prince of darkness will never be is in praises to the Most High God.
In many ways, whether or not the light or the darkness is winning in your soul is a matter of what you choose to dwell on. I can tell you what the devil’s trying to get you to dwell on – your past, your fears, your pain, your worries, your doubts. Right? Those are areas that are like Satan’s playground. They drown you in anxiety, and guilt, and discouragement and depression. God, on the other hand, wants you to choose to dwell on what He’s like, not what your situation is like. Psalm 145 says, “The Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made. The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.” (I love that! Man!) So, a few verses later, it says: “I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.”
When you’re praising your Lord, you’re choosing to dwell on the awesome things about Him that never change and never will, including in the middle of this dark moment. You’re celebrating the good things He’s done in your life instead of frustrating over your struggles. It’s celebrating Jesus, whether you feel like it or not.
When it’s the darkest, when it’s the hardest to praise Him, that’s when you need to praise Him the most, because praise is that blinding light from heaven that dispels the darkness and banishes your enemy.