I will praise Him!
Reading: Psalm 96
Ascribe to the LORD, all you families of nations,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come into his courts.
Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth.
Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns.”
The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
Let all creation rejoice before the LORD, for he comes,
he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples in his faithfulness (NIV).
When I think of the word, ascribe, I immediately picture a long, grey-bearded man with a quill pen in his hand scratching words onto a scroll. That’s a scribe. I suppose this scribe could be busy ascribing. I wonder just what he could be ascribing? Well, according to the author of Psalm 96 my imaginary scribe could be ascribing glory and strength to the LORD.
In all seriousness ascribing means crediting or attributing certain character qualities to a person. The LORD certainly is strong and glorious. Along with those attributes, we could also add the words loving, faithful, merciful, just and holy. The LORD is all those things and more. For all these character qualities the LORD is worthy of praise.
Sometimes I don’t see something until it smacks me in the face. I can be blind to that missing shirt hanging in the closet or across the back of a chair. It takes someone else, usually my wife, to point out what should be plainly obvious. In the same way I can be blind to the kind gestures of a friend or colleague. It takes someone else to point them out—to ascribe them—by drawing my attention to them.
Are you missing something? Have you become blind to the beautiful character qualities of your spouse, your children or your workmates? Maybe you need to do some ascribing? Before it’s too late, let them know the good qualities you see in their lives. You won’t regret speaking words of affirmation to the ones you love. As for the LORD, He will be honored if we carry through with the words of the psalmist: Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth. Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns.”
Response: LORD God, I want to see your glory and strength. I acknowledge your attributes. You are magnificent, holy, merciful and just. Thank you for your judgments. They are righteous. Amen.
Your Turn: Is there someone whose good character you need to ascribe or affirm?
Reading: Psalm 57
They spread a net for my feet—
I was bowed down in distress.
They dug a pit in my path—
but they have fallen into it themselves.
My heart, O God, is steadfast,
my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and make music.
Awake, my soul!
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.
I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth (NIV).
As with many of David’s psalms, Psalm 57 turns on a dime. By that I mean the psalmist begins in a state of worry and trouble. In his distress David cries out to God and the Lord answers him. Suddenly, desperate pleas are replaced by wholehearted praise. The psalm ends with rejoicing over the goodness of God. David invites us to join in his rejoicing. I will sing and make music. Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples.
There is tremendous power in music. When I am discouraged—trapped in the Christian pilgrim’s Slough of Despond—a song of praise can lift me out like nothing else. Perhaps you have had a similar experience. When I am drowning in a sea of regrets, music brings buoyancy. Worship helps me set my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith. See Hebrews 12:2. Faith gives us eyes to see beyond our current set of circumstances.
Most often we want to see God’s deliverance before we praise Him. In the introduction to Psalm 57 we read that David hid in a cave from King Saul. David called out for God to deliver him and He did. Therefore, David bursts out with music and song. Can you picture him strumming on his harp and singing with a smile you can see for a mile?
But there are times when I believe God wants us to sing His praise before deliverance comes—before the healing appears. He is our good and faithful God whether we have faith to move mountains or are troubled by doubt. Whether we live or die, He is faithful and worthy of our praise. In all the circumstances of life our help comes from Him.
Response: LORD God, even in the midst of trouble fill my heart with praise for you. You are good and faithful. You are my help—my steadfast help—through Jesus Christ your Son. Amen.
Your Turn: Can you recall a time when you praised God before He brought the answer to your prayer?
Reading: Psalm 33
Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous;
it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
Praise the LORD with the harp;
make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.
Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully, and shout for joy.
For the word of the LORD is right and true;
he is faithful in all he does.
The LORD loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of his unfailing love (NIV).
It’s a good to wake up with a song of praise to the LORD on your lips. How do I know that’s true? I listen to birds. Their joyous songs are new every morning. If they have cause to sing praise to the LORD, surely I do as well.
Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:29:31).
If a sparrow has grounds for praising the LORD each and every day, surely we have more. His constant care sustains us moment by moment. If the Father keeps count of my hair, He must be concerned about even the tiny details of my life. His loving mercy is new every morning; therefore, it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
Here in Psalm 33 we are instructed to: Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.
Forgive me, LORD. I’m an instrumental disaster. Playing skillfully is nigh unto impossible. But with my voice I will praise you. I can’t compete with robins and cardinals, but I will sing my praise. For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.
The steadfast love of the LORD is unchanging. My praise for Him should be just as steadfast—unaffected by my current circumstances. I have heard the birds break into song at sunrise even on a gray rainy morning. At the very least my praise for God should be as constant. Paul and Silas sang praises to God after being severely flogged and imprisoned in Philippi. See Acts chapter 16. Their worship was unaffected by their circumstances. They were obedient to the LORD’s command: Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
Response: Thank you, LORD God, for each day you set before me. Give me a heart of praise for you. You sustain me. Today give me a new song to praise you, O LORD. It’s always good, right and fitting to sing my praise to you. Amen.
Your Turn: Do you love to praise God? Does it lift your spirit when you do? Are there times when the Lord given you a new song to sing?
Reading: Psalm 105
He remembers his covenant forever,
the promise he made, for a thousand generations,
the covenant he made with Abraham,
the oath he swore to Isaac.
He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree,
to Israel as an everlasting covenant:
“To you I will give the land of Canaan
as the portion you will inherit.”
When they were but few in number,
few indeed, and strangers in it,
they wandered from nation to nation,
from one kingdom to another.
He allowed no one to oppress them;
for their sake he rebuked kings:
“Do not touch my anointed ones;
do my prophets no harm” (NIV).
Covenant is a term that is not used much in daily speech. The Encarta Dictionary provides us with this definition of covenant: a solemn agreement that is binding on all parties. By that definition marriage is a covenant that we enter into. A sound Christian marriage is a three-way covenant between the husband, the wife and their Creator.
Encarta also provides a biblical definition of God’s enduring covenant with His people: in the Bible, the promises that were made between God and the Israelites, who agreed to worship no other gods.
There is something very exclusive about both these covenants. In our marriage vows we covenant or promise to love each other exclusively. No other lover may intrude. In the same way no other gods may intrude into the covenant relationship that we have with God. The LORD wants us exclusively for Himself. That is the nature of true love. It is jealous—zealous and jealous in guarding that relationship.
God’s zealous and jealous love for His people is clearly visible in today’s reading from Psalm 105. We read: He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations. A thousand generations is a long time, 25,000 years by the commonly used reckoning. But forever is much longer. What an incredible love the LORD has for us!
We serve a faithful, passionate God who will remain true to His covenant. The question that remains for us is, will we remain true to our end of the bargain? Will we be faithful, passionate and committed in our love for the LORD? Through Christ we have an eternal inheritance by covenant that is not of this world. Praise be to God for his enduring love.
Response: Father God, thank you for your love and faithfulness even when I have gone astray. You draw me back. Today, I renew my covenant with you. I commit myself to loving and serving you. Amen.
Your Turn: Have you stayed faithful to your covenant?