Monday, May 23, 2016

"Knowing God leads to trusting God, leads to praising God!"

Day #145

Scripture Reading:  Psalms 57 - 59 …

You and I exist for God.  It is somewhat surprising that even those who claim to believe in God and who take the name, "Christian," upon them often fail to recognize this simple truth.  Perhaps it is because people have never really been taught that this is true, or perhaps it is because our natural, self-centered sinful nature recoils at the very idea that the world does not revolve around US!  Those who know the true God, however, know better.  David knew that he had been anointed King of Israel by God and that God had a purpose for his life.

At the beginning of Psalm 57, David pleads for mercy, for God's help against his enemies.  He says, "I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills His purpose for me" (Psalm 57:2).  God has a purpose for every person, and for those who are His children, the purpose is good!  Paul writes the same in his letter to the Romans:  "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).  God has not hidden His purpose from us, and David expresses it often in his Psalms:

"Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be over all the earth" (57:5,11).

"I will praise You, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing of You among the peoples" (57:9).

God desires that His Name be exalted and His glory be revealed.  We were created in His image to accomplish what nothing else in all of creation could do:  glorify our Creator ... recognize His worth and offer Him worship and praise and thanksgiving.  David rejoiced in doing so, and all those who know God and who are filled with His Spirit desire to do the same.  David often writes about God's character:  "God sends His love and His faithfulness" (57:3).  "My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music. ... I will praise You, O 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" (57:9-10).

How do you FEEL toward God?  When you read in the Bible, "Love the LORD, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength," what do you ... DO?  Do you try to produce a feeling towards God based on the knowledge you have received by others or that you have read in His Word, or do you just quite naturally sense the affection of your heart responding to the love you have been shown through God's sending His own Son to endure His wrath and judgment in your place?  "God demonstrates His own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8) ... and "We love because He first loved us" (I John 4:19).  

God does NOT exist for us ... we exist for HIM!  By His mercy and His grace He chooses some to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him, and finally, to share eternal life with Him ... WITH Him ... forever ... time without end ... to share His love in the glory of a new heaven and a new earth.  This is the goal of all of this thing we call "life" ... that GOD calls LIFE!!  You can know YOU are one of God's chosen ones when you rejoice in God, when HE is all you need, and when you understand that YOU exist FOR HIM!!!  You can know you are one of God's chosen ones when you have acknowledged that you are a sinner before a holy God and that the only way to come to Him is to confess your sin and to trust in His mercy and grace, believing that the Savior has paid your debt.  You can know you are one of God's chosen ones when your love for God comes naturally, because His Spirit is within you, drawing you ever closer to complete surrender to your Father in heaven.

In the next two Psalms, 58 and 59, David speaks of his enemies.  He calls down God's righteous judgment upon them.  "The righteous will be glad when they are avenged ...  Then men will say, 'Surely the righteous still are rewarded; surely there is a God who judges the earth'" (58:10-11).  Like the martyrs under the altar in heaven at the opening of the fifth seal in Revelation 6:9-11, we ask, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" (vs. 10).  David calls out for deliverance (59:1-2) ... and cries out to the only One who can save him:  "Arise to help me; look on my plight!  O LORD God Almighty, the God of Israel, rouse yourself to punish all the nations; show no mercy to wicked traitors" (59:4-5).

Speaking such things about God sounds strange to the ears of those who do not know God as just and holy and righteous.  David understood, better than many today, that God will judge the nations ... all people who do not acknowledge Him and praise Him.  "They say, 'Who can hear us?' But you, O LORD, laugh at them; You scoff at all those nations.  O my Strength, I watch for You; You, O God, are my fortress, my loving God" (59:7-9).  God is either your Judge or your Savior!  And when you understand that you deserve to have Him as your Judge, but He sent His own Son to be your Savior, you WILL LOVE HIM!!!  And you will want His justice to shine forth because "then it will be known to the ends of the earth that God rules over Jacob!" (59:13).

All who believe exist for God, to proclaim His Name, to declare His majesty, to uphold His justice and righteousness ... and to LOVE HIM!  David loved God.  He spoke often to God as though God could hear him, because God DID hear him:  "I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love; for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.  O my Strength, I sing praise to You; You, O God, are my fortress, my loving God" (59:16-17).  Do you love God?  It is in loving Him that you will find the purpose for your existence and you will understand that you exist for God.

"O Lord, my God, in You I place my trust.  You are my God, and I belong to You.  In justice You reign over all the earth and in Your Name I glory!  Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be over all the earth.  For You are my Deliverer, my Rock, my fortress, my Strength and to You I lift up my voice in praise.  I will praise You, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples ... forever, in Jesus' Name, Amen"

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