Wednesday, May 11, 2016

"No matter what ... PRAISE the LORD!"

Day #133

Scripture Reading:  Psalm 21 - 23 ...

More than three thousand years ago David wrote about the end of the world and God’s victory over His enemies!  Did you read what David wrote in Psalm 21?  “At the time of Your appearing You will make them like a fiery furnace.  In His wrath the LORD will swallow them up, and His fire will consume them.  You will destroy their descendants from the earth, their posterity from mankind” (21:9-10).  David found strength, as every believer will, in the knowledge that evil will not win and the enemies of God and His people will be defeated, once and for all.  It was the knowledge of God and His plan for His people and for all the world that comforted and encouraged David and gave him hope.  The same can be true for you!

David loved God.  He had his ups and downs throughout his life, but in his heart, he loved God and desired to worship and honor Him.  It is not surprising that he wrote so many of the Psalms.  They erupted from a heart in tune with his Creator, his God, the love and strength of his life.  And because of David's connection with God, he was used by God to write of things beyond David's understanding.  David could not have known all that we know about the suffering of Jesus on the cross, about His death and resurrection, yet the Holy Spirit moved him to write about these things for us and for all who draw near today to the same God David knew and loved.

Psalm 21 is a very personal testimony of how God had blessed David in a myriad of ways.  "O LORD, the king rejoices in Your strength.  How great is his joy in the victories You give.  You have granted him the desire of his heart" (vs. 2).  "You welcomed him with rich blessings and placed a crown of pure gold on his head" (vs. 3).  "Surely You have granted him eternal blessings and made him glad with the joy of Your presence" (vs. 6).  David’s heart was on God, even to the point of talking about eternity!  It is this “eternal perspective” that you and I need and which we find over and over again throughout Scripture.  Most people think only of this life, often only of the present moment, but God calls us to live life with an eternal perspective, as Jesus said, “What good will it do for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Matthew 16:26).

Because David had an eternal perspective, he could trust God’s plan even when it looked like his enemies might win.  He believed that ultimately God works in different ways with His people than with the rest of mankind.  As he points out the blessings of God in his own life, he points out the contrast of God's dealings with his enemies:  "In His wrath the LORD will swallow them up, and His fire will consume them" (vs. 9).  David wanted God to be exalted and to receive praise, and his Psalms have been used for 3,000 years to bring praise to the LORD, the Creator of the heavens and the earth ... David's God, and ours!  Praise must often be on the tongues of God’s people, of those who know His loving kindness and tender mercy.  “Be exalted, O LORD, in Your strength; we (believers) will sing and praise Your might!” (21:13).

Psalm 22 is also recognized as one of those Psalms that speaks of things beyond David's understanding.  David may have been expressing the cry of one who had many enemies around him and who may have felt that God had forsaken him ... but at the same time, he was writing of the ONE who WAS forsaken of His Father on the cross in order to purchase our salvation.
Jesus spoke these words of David from the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (vs. 1).  By the inspiration of the Spirit of God Jesus spoke through David, one thousand years before He came to earth.  He speaks of the insults that were hurled at Him (vs. 7) and of those who "have pierced my hands and my feet" (vs. 16).  He mentions the fact that none of His bones were broken (vs. 17) and that "they divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing" (vs. 18).

How could David have voiced these things except by the direction of God’s Spirit?  And again, the result is PRAISE!  "From You comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear You will I fulfill my vows" (vs. 25).   God is so worthy of praise and we who claim to know Him as our God OWE God our love, our commitment, our very lives.  There is no such thing as being a Christian and then setting your heart and mind on the things of this world.  If the Spirit of God is in you, your heart will desire to tell others about Him and to praise the Lord for His goodness to YOU!  "Dominion belongs to the LORD and He rules over the nations. ... Posterity will serve Him; future generations will be told about the LORD" (vss. 28, 30).  Oh, how God deserves our praise, and how blessed are we who have been moved of His Spirit to exalt His name!!

Only those who have been born again by the Spirit of God can say with David, "the LORD IS MY SHEPHERD, I shall not be in want!"  Psalm 23 ... of all the Psalms perhaps the best-known, reveals the truth of why we who draw near to God through faith in Jesus Christ have reason to praise the Lord ... no matter what!   It is here that David expresses the quiet calm of the soul whose faith and trust rests in the One who leads through all the twists and turns of life, safely arriving at its desired destination:  "He restores my soul.  He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil ... and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever" (vs. 6).  There, we will praise the LORD forever, in an eternal state of blessedness, in the very presence of our God!

Have you heard God's voice speaking through David to you?   Then praise the One who brings blessing, life and salvation to those who trust in Him.  Circumstances change, but God remains the same.  Read these words as one of His redeemed children.  Then rejoice in the LORD and give Him praise, for He has done great things!!

"O LORD, our God ... MY God, I trust in You and give You PRAISE ... from my lips, from my HEART!!  I give thanks to You for Your blessings and rest in Your strength.  Continue to guide me, O LORD, and bring me to my eternal home after I have lived to give you praise all my days.  In Jesus' name, Amen"

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