I will praise Him!
Reading: Psalm 105
Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.
Look to the LORD and his strength;
seek his face always.
Remember the wonders he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,
you his servants, the descendants of Abraham,
his chosen ones, the children of Jacob.
He is the LORD our God;
his judgments are in all the earth (NIV).
This past Sunday during the children’s church time the pastor led the children in a rousing chorus of “Jesus Loves Me.” In case you need a quick refresher, here is the first verse of that much loved children’s hymn: Jesus loves me! This I know, For the Bible tells me so; Little ones to Him belong; They are weak, but He is strong.
I remember singing this song with much gusto as a young tyke at Vacation Bible School. I took special comfort from this line: Little ones to Him belong; They are weak, but He is strong.
As a child I was well aware that I needed the strength of Jesus, since I had so little strength of my own. As we grow up and mature into adulthood we can forget to depend on the Lord’s strength. We have plenty of our own strength. Soon we can find ourselves relying on our own intellect and resources to solve problems as they come our way. Who needs Jesus when we can make our own way in life? Maybe we don’t consciously say that, but our actions reflect that line of reasoning.
The children’s song “Jesus Loves Me” might have been inspired by a line from Psalm 105 where we read, Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.
The plain truth is that I need the LORD and His strength at every stage of my life. My strength on every level is minuscule in the sight of God. That’s why I need to seek his face continually. His wisdom surpasses my limited understanding. I have so little strength on my own, but His power is all surpassing. How foolish we are to rely on our abilities, when the Lord offers to walk through this life right beside us. Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29).
Response: Lord Jesus, you are strong—strong enough to carry the cross on my behalf—strong enough to purchase my redemption. I look to you for strength and salvation. Always guide my steps. I confess that I need you at every stage of my life. Amen.
Your Turn: Did you find it easier to trust in Jesus as a child than as an adult?
Reading: Psalm 102
In the course of my life he broke my strength;
he cut short my days.
So I said:
“Do not take me away, my God, in the midst of my days;
your years go on through all generations.
In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
Like clothing you will change them
and they will be discarded.
But you remain the same,
and your years will never end.
The children of your servants will live in your presence;
their descendants will be established before you” (NIV).
We like to think that we are the captains of our own destiny—the masters of our own future—and to some extent we are. We can determine our attitude and response to many situations. But eventually the truth will hit home. Our ultimate destiny is in God’s hands. We cannot determine how tall we will grow, or the color of our eyes or our skin. These are matters that are beyond our control.
God has predetermined the number of our days on this earth. Jesus said, “Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:30). So I also expect that God knows the exact number of breaths that you and I will breathe.
In today’s reading from Psalm 102, the psalmist is coming to grips with his own mortality. He laments: In the course of my life he [the LORD] broke my strength; he cut short my days. So I said: “Do not take me away, my God, in the midst of my days; your years go on through all generations.”
The LORD is the great everlasting constant. Our days may be numbered, but God’s are not. He is the ageless One without beginning of days or end of life. Even the earth itself may wear out, but He remains. “In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.”
If even the earth will perish and wear out, what hope is there for us? But in the next breath the psalmist provides us with hope. “The children of your servants will live in your presence; their descendants will be established before you.”
Response: Father God, I want to live in your presence now and in eternity. Establish my children before you. They are gifts from your hand. You are constant and I want to live in constant praise of you. Amen.
Your Turn: Are you in control of your life or is God in control? Are you yielded to Him and ready to do His will?
Reading: Psalm 99
The LORD reigns,
let the nations tremble;
he sits enthroned between the cherubim,
let the earth shake.
Great is the LORD in Zion;
he is exalted over all the nations.
Let them praise your great and awesome name—
he is holy.
The King is mighty, he loves justice—
you have established equity;
in Jacob you have done
what is just and right.
Exalt the LORD our God
and worship at his footstool;
he is holy (NIV).
What does it mean to be holy? There are several shades of meaning for the word holy. It can mean being consecrated or dedicated for a special purpose. It also means righteous. But the definition that fits best in the light of Psalm 99 reads like this: awe-inspiring—having a character that evokes reverence (Encarta Dictionary).
The psalmist is effusive with his praise for the LORD, but three times in this short psalm, he centers back to this phrase: he is holy. Yes, the LORD reigns, He is righteous and exalted, but what has really caught the psalmist’s attention is the LORD’s holiness. That’s what sets Him apart and elevates Him above the stratosphere.
Has the LORD’s holiness caught your attention? Have you been filled with awe by the holiness of God? I fear that far too often we have diminished God. We have tried to make Him like us—powerful but a bit quirky—maybe short-tempered or set in His ways. What nonsense! Our God is holy. We need to wake up to that fact. It must be central to our understanding of God.
In the Beatitudes from his Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8). To clarify, I might add that the pure in heart will see the true God, not a distorted caricature. Our sinful nature has a way of distorting our view of the LORD. That’s why personal purity and holiness are so essential. The apostle Peter provides this admonition: As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy” (1 Peter 1:14-16).
Response: LORD God, I want to see you at work in my life. Help me with the help of your Holy Spirit to clean up those areas that distort my view of you. You are holy. I worship you in the beauty of your holiness. Amen.
Your Turn: Are there times when you have seen God as short-tempered or set in His ways? Have you avoided God’s call to holiness?
Reading: Psalm 97
The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad;
let the distant shores rejoice.
Clouds and thick darkness surround him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
Fire goes before him
and consumes his foes on every side.
His lightning lights up the world;
the earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
before the Lord of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
and all peoples see his glory.
All who worship images are put to shame,
those who boast in idols—
worship him, all you gods! (NIV).
Who is in charge here? In any situation, that’s a legitimate question. There are always a variety of authorities in any given situation. A while back I watched Prince William and his family get off a plane in Victoria, BC. On the tarmac the royal family was first greeted by the Governor General, then by the Prime Minister of Canada, then the Lieutenant Governor of the British Columbia and finally, the Premier of the province. They were all lined up according to proper protocol. Yes, there are a variety of authorities all deserving respect. But this question remains. Who is in charge here?
The authorities of this world have jurisdiction over a certain geographic area or realm. Some authorities govern well and in others rule as despots who plunder the wealth of the nation. But Psalm 97 reminds us that there is one great authority who rules over all. The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice.
The earth can be glad and the distant shores can rejoice because this King, this heaven-dwelling authority rules well. He does not plunder His faithful people and bring them to ruin. He reigns supreme from on high. Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
We can rest assured that the LORD will do what is right. He is allied with goodness, mercy and truth. That’s why justice is the foundation of His throne. We should not fear His judgments because they are right and good. Yes, the authors of evil should be afraid, but if we have done right, we can count on the LORD as our defender. Now here is a proclamation that we all should heed. The heavens proclaim his righteousness and all peoples see his glory.
Response: LORD God, it is my prayer that all people will see your glory and bow before you, the magnificent King of Righteousness. Extend your reign I pray. Let the distant shores rejoice because you reign. Amen.
Your Turn: Is the Lord Jesus reigning over you and your home? Who has jurisdiction there?