I will praise the LORD!
Reading: Psalm 28
Praise be to the LORD,
for he has heard my cry for mercy.
The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him.
The LORD is the strength of his people,
a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
Save your people and bless your inheritance;
be their shepherd and carry them forever (NIV).*
David ends Psalm 28 with a doxology of praise. Yes, it is good and fitting to praise the LORD. He hears our cry for mercy. To those who seek to know Him, He is not a God of harsh judgment or we would all perish. He is my shield and strength despite my frequent failings. David declares, “My heart trusts in him, and he helps me.” I can join in David’s declaration and personally testify to the truth of these words, “My heart trusts in him, and he helps me.”
Our God does not stand afar off. He is near to those who call on Him.
David was not one to be shy or reserved in his expression of praise. He exults, “My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” When David brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, he gave full expression to his joy. Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the LORD with all his might, while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets (2 Samuel 6:14-15).
Recently, I watched as Canada’s women’s Olympic hockey team scored a late-rally, come-from-behind, overtime victory over a shocked American team. There was no shortage of leaping, dancing and rejoicing in the Canadian ranks. The outburst of praise and jubilation was completely fitting for them.
But as born-again children of God, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, we have a far greater reason—an eternal reason—for bursting forth in praise. Our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ has scored a late-rally, come-from-behind, overtime victory over death, hell and the grave. And he scored that victory for you and me. Together we are on an international team—Team Believer—believers in Jesus. What a victory he has won! What a celebration!
We join with David in declaring, “The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.”
Response: LORD God, help me to grasp the full extent of the victory I have in you. Now I ask you to hear my prayer, “Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever.” Amen.
Your Turn: Why do we put limits on our expressions of praise to God, when our praise is exuberant and boundless at sporting events?
Reading: Psalm 26
LORD, I love the house where you live,
the place where your glory dwells.
Do not take away my soul along with sinners,
my life with those who are bloodthirsty,
in whose hands are wicked schemes,
whose right hands are full of bribes.
I lead a blameless life;
deliver me and be merciful to me.
My feet stand on level ground;
in the great congregation I will praise the LORD (NIV).*
In America, Canada and much of the western world, people have been abandoning the house of God in droves. In the most recent census survey, by far the largest growth has been among those who identify themselves as having no religion. This move to “no religion” is most pronounced among our young people. There are many factors that have led to this decline. Perhaps a hard look in the mirror is needed for us to see what we are doing wrong. Jesus attracted people. Why are his followers today repelling people?
David had a completely different attitude toward the house of God. Hear the cry of his heart, “LORD, I love the house where you live, the place where your glory dwells.”
No one had to drag David to the LORD’s house. He was eager to meet with God there. Really, that’s the secret. If God is in the house—if His glory is present—it will be hard to keep people away. The question we need to be asking ourselves is, “Is God in the house? Is His glory dwelling here among us?”
If God is truly, tangibly present among you, look out! The transformational power of God will overwhelm individuals and ignite the congregation. I have seen it happen and there is no experience quite like it.
I live in expectation of His appearing among us. The living Christ visits His church. Are you anticipating His coming? Have you set the table for Him? Have you prepared your heart and your mind? Have you put out the welcome mat?
All too often church has become program maintenance. The focus is entirely wrong. Church in its most vibrant form is God dwelling among us—God breathing upon us. That was the Book of Acts Church. That’s the church I love. When we have found that place—when we experience the LORD of that place—we will join David in declaring, “My feet stand on level ground; in the great congregation I will praise the LORD.”
Response: Come, Lord Jesus, dwell among us. This is my confession: “LORD, I love the house where you live, the place where your glory dwells.” Lord, come and dwell in my local congregation. Manifest your presence there, so that many will see it and be changed by your Spirit. Amen.
Your Turn: Do you love the house of God? Why or Why not? Is God showing up at your church? What are you doing to make the place ready for Him?