I will praise Him!
Reading: Psalm 108
A song. A psalm of David.
My heart, O God, is steadfast;
I will sing and make music with all 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, higher than the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth (NIV).
This morning did you awaken the dawn or did the dawn awaken you? For those who are early risers awakening the dawn becomes much easier as the days get shorter and we approach the winter solstice. I confess that this morning and most autumn mornings I am awake before sunrise.
There is something quite magical about watching the sunrise and spread its golden rays across the eastern sky. I was treated to a magnificent sunrise display last Monday. I was driving east across the prairies and as each mile slipped by the glory along the horizon grew more and more intense. I pity the poor atheist who has no one to praise when he beholds such a display.
For believers, praise for our God springs naturally from our lips when we see God paint the sky with golden hues of splendor. In such moments David’s call to worship becomes our own: 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.
Can you picture David taking up his harp and breaking into song as he locks his eyes on the rising sun? David was a most remarkable character. What sets David apart from other individuals we meet in the pages of scripture? He was a man of spectacular failings. His adulterous affair with Bathsheba and the treacherous means he used to dispatch her husband stand out. But there’s nothing remarkable about spectacular failings and shortcomings. These are common to man.
What stands out about David’s character is his steadfastness to the LORD. The opening lines of Psalm 109 hold the key to understanding David’s overcoming nature. My heart, O God, is steadfast; I will sing and make music with all my soul.
Despite his failings, David remained steadfast in his love for God. Secondly, he was wholehearted in his praise for God. When things came off the rails, he did not turn away from the LORD or stop praising Him. He repented and God forgave him. Then David gave thanks. David’s example is there for us to follow.
Response: LORD God, I always want to have a thankful heart that is quick to praise you. Help me to be steadfast in love and praise even when the way ahead is difficult. You are my help and my glory. Amen.
Your Turn: What does being steadfast look like for you?
Reading: Psalm 103
Praise the LORD, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The LORD works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed (NIV).
Psalm 103 begins by David calling on his soul to praise the LORD. Many see praise and worship as a purely cathartic response to the manifest goodness of God. Something good happens to us. Unexpectedly, we get a thousand-dollar check in the mail. Quite naturally our response is praise to God.
For many people, praise to God never progresses beyond this natural, cathartic level. If God does not bless, no praise is forthcoming. Our praise for the LORD becomes, or simply remains circumstance dependent. But that was not the case with David. His praise extended beyond simple catharsis. He taught his soul to praise the LORD in all circumstances. True biblical praise and worship is after all a spiritual exercise, a discipline we grow in, just as we grow in the discipline of prayer.
The LORD, the object of our praise, does not change with our circumstances. He is forever the same. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He is constant, hence our praise and worship of him should be constant, unaffected by weather conditions, world events, the gyrations of the stock market, our swings of mood or our personal situation.
Of course this constancy in praise is something the natural man simply rebels against. Our world needs to be right in order for us to praise God aright, or so we reason. The only problem with this logic is that the world has never been right since the Fall. Death, disease, war and misery have been raining down on the children of Adam, since wilful disobedience to God first took root among us. And this is one weather forecast, for all humanity, that is not about to change—not until Christ returns.
If we are waiting for a perfect world before we lift our voice in praise to God, we will never praise Him. In fact, if our eyes are on the world, or on ourselves, there will always be grounds to withhold our praise. But then, the whole purpose of praise and worship is to lift up our eyes. We desperately need to get our eyes off ourselves, off the world, and onto God our Maker.
Response: Father God, I genuinely want to learn to praise you in all situations. You are always good, loving and worthy of praise. Along with David I declare, “Praise the LORD, my soul!” Amen.
Your Turn: Have you learned to praise God even in difficult times?