I will praise the LORD!
Reading: Psalm 89
A maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite.
I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever;
with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known
through all generations.
I will declare that your love stands firm forever,
that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.
You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to David my servant,
‘I will establish your line forever
and make your throne firm through all generations’” (NIV).
The opening stanzas of Psalm 89 remind me of a little rhyme found in a children’s book. It goes like this:
“I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
as long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.”
The lines of that little song were first sung by children’s author, Robert Munsch, as he held his stillborn baby in his arms. Imagine the grief he felt when for a second time his wife gave birth to another stillborn child. Again he took that little baby in his arms and he rocked it back and forth and sang,
“I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
as long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.”
The bestselling children’s book Love You Forever was birthed from that heart-wrenching experience. If you are a parent or a grandparent, this little picture book should come with a warning label: Impossible to read without tearing up.
There’s an element of forever in the bond between a parent and a child. I am a father forever to my two sons, Timothy and Joshua. My love for those two boys hasn’t diminished as they have grown into young men. Though they have moved out of our home, they will be forever loved and we will be forever linked by love and faithfulness. God’s love for us is that kind of love. It’s a forever love just as the psalmist declares. I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.
Love and faithfulness are what marriage is all about. It’s one of those forever things along with parenthood. When God is at the center, these things last forever because they don’t end at the grave. I’m so glad we have the promise that they will continue on.
Response: LORD God, I am so glad that I’m your child forever. You have loved me and welcomed me into your eternaL family. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! Amen.
Your Turn: Will you sing of the LORD’s great love forever? Now is a great time to get started.
Reading: Psalm 46
For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah.
According to alamoth. A song.
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress (NIV).
Why are you confident? Confidence is a key ingredient in the life of any child of God. If we lack confidence, we lack faith. In fact, the word confidence is rooted in faith. Confidence is derived from the Latin word fide, which means faith. It is etymologically linked to words like fidelity and fiduciary—words that stand for trust and true faithfulness. But this faithfulness, fidelity and confidence come as a result of a relationship.
If we have no relationship with someone, how can we trust them? How can we have confidence in them or their actions if we don’t know them?
Here in Psalm 46, the psalmist expresses his complete confidence in God. He expresses that confidence despite the evidence around him. Hear his confident assertion: God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is nothing quite as unnerving as an earthquake. I know this from personal experience. When the solid ground beneath one’s feet suddenly gives way and rolls and buckles, nerves begin to fray. But the psalmist remains confident because he knows the One who is in control—the One who remains unmoved and unshakable. In times of trouble we can turn to Him.
But we should not turn to God simply as a last resort. He is the God who is with us. Our confidence grows as we live with Him day by day, in good times and bad. Our confidence grows as we experience Him as our rock of refuge and our shelter in the storm. Then we can say, “The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
Response: LORD God, I put my trust in you. In times of trouble you have been my help and my strength. I turn to you in confidence because you are with me. You are my Savior and my God. Amen.
Your Turn: Has your confidence been shaken recently? Where have you turned for help?
Reading: Psalm 119
Your word, LORD, is eternal;
it stands firm in the heavens.
Your faithfulness continues through all generations;
you established the earth, and it endures.
Your laws endure to this day,
for all things serve you.
If your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction.
I will never forget your precepts,
for by them you have preserved my life.
Save me, for I am yours;
I have sought out your precepts.
The wicked are waiting to destroy me,
but I will ponder your statutes.
To all perfection I see a limit,
but your commands are boundless (NIV).
One of my hobbies is art. I enjoy drawing. In recent years I have rediscovered my childhood love for pencil crayons. When creating any piece of art there, I find there is a delicate balance that needs to be reached. Anything I do can be improved. Early on in the process there is a lot of improving or refining needed, but eventually you reach a point where further tinkering becomes pointless. I aim for perfection, but perfection always seems illusive. At some point I need to say, “I’m done. This piece is finished.”
In today’s reading the psalmist reached that same conclusion. To all perfection I see a limit, but your commands are boundless.
We will never reach the limits of God’s holy word. There is always more to be discovered, to comprehend and apply. It is as the psalmist declares, “Your word, LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.”
St. Paul expresses the same thought. Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! (Romans 11:33). Eternity gives us insufficient time to explore the wisdom of God. But let’s begin the quest; let’s take up the challenge. All of Psalm 119 can be viewed as a grand challenge to discover the wisdom and beauty of God’s word, His commands and precepts.
Let’s continue the journey. This glorious art—the divine art of God’s word—is without beginning or end.
Response: Father God, I love your word. I want to dig deeper in it and know you better thereby. You are a totally awesome God, far beyond my comprehension, but not beyond my appreciation. Amen.
Your Turn: Have you taken up the challenge of studying God’s word?
Reading: Psalm 96
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to the LORD, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are idols,
but the LORD made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and glory are in his sanctuary (NIV).
Who are you singing to? Let’s face it; most of us sing. We may not sing in a choir or in front of a crowd of thousands, but we sing. Maybe you sing in the shower. Maybe you just hum, whistle or sing a tune in your mind. Even though you may not fully vocalize your song, the music is still there bubbling beneath the surface.
Psalm 96 urges us to sing that song to the LORD. Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.
I believe it’s in our nature to sing. Music is after all a universal activity enjoyed by people of every race and culture. This universality begs a question: Who put that love for music and song within us?
For believers the answer is obvious. God put music in our hearts and God puts songs on our lips. We sing because we are and because God is. Music is so foundational—so fundamental to our being—that it’s hard to imagine our world without it. When we break forth in song we are doing what God designed us to do. You were designed to sing, just as you were designed to bring glory to God through the work of your hands or the fruit of your body. So let your voice bring honor, praise and glory to God. Sing out your worship with joy.
Psalm 96 is also a call for newness in worship. Why does God want a new song? Could it be because His mercy and love for us are continually renewed? In the midst of national tragedy, Jeremiah reminded us of this truth. Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23).
Just as the changing seasons bring renewal to the earth and its vegetation, so to new songs of praise bring renewal to our worship. So whether you hum, whistle, or belt out songs in the choir, let your song ascend to the LORD. You are singing for Him and to Him.
Response: LORD God, I want to praise you. Give me news songs and new melodies to sing your praise. Your goodness and love abounds. Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise. Amen.
Your Turn: Do you enjoy singing? Do you like both old and new worship songs?