Scripture Reading: Psalms 143 - 145 …
David knew his God! Perhaps as much as any man who has ever lived, David had an intimate relationship with God that sustained him throughout his life and enabled him to serve God with zeal until his death. David knew His God, and you and I can know Him, too. What David knew and what David experienced, WE can know and experience … and even MORE, because the King of whom David sometimes spoke has come and we know Him. His name is JESUS! And He came to reveal the Father that we might know our God, love Him and serve Him all our days, as David did.
Psalm 143 records another time in David's life when he felt tempted to give in or to give up. "My spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed" (143:4). Too often you and I seem to think that we are the first ones or the only ones to feel that way. We may even feel guilty about expressing such emotions. But here is David, the King of Israel, the "man after God's own heart," honestly expressing that he is about "at the end of his rope!" To whom does he turn? To the LORD, his God!
"… in Your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief …" (143:1). David knew God. He confesses, " … no one living is righteous before You" (143:2), but God IS righteous! This is the God David writes about in Psalm 144 when he says, "Praise be to the LORD my Rock … He is my loving God and my fortress, my shield, in whom I take refuge" (144:1-2). David knew his God! In his times of trial he knew where to set his mind: "I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all Your works and consider what Your hands have done" (143:5). What a beautiful and important example for you and me to follow! One of the best things to do when feeling overwhelmed or anxious is to set your mind on God and to remember what He has already done.
Then, draw near to God, as David did. He prays, "Do not hide Your face from me … Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You" (143:8). KNOWING God loves you transforms fear and anxiety to faith and hope. WE who believe in Jesus know that God has given His Son to demonstrate His love to us, and Jesus has conquered the power of sin to enslave us by giving us His Spirit and His Word, the "sword of the Spirit." Like David, you and I should pray, "Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground" (143:10).
Knowing God makes it clear that WE exist for HIM … not the other way around!! "For YOUR name's sake, O LORD, preserve my life … for I am Your servant" (143:11-12). God has given you and me breath so we could praise Him, acknowledge Him as God and serve Him with all the wisdom and strength He gives. "O LORD, what is man that You care for him, the son of man that You think of him? Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow" (144:3-4). To know the one true God is the only reason to be alive! With David we testify, "Blessed are the people whose God is the LORD!" (144:15).
In praising God there is joy that cannot be found anywhere else in this world. "Praise" is an eternal action produced by the Holy Spirit in response to the knowledge of God, our Creator and our Redeemer, our Savior and our Lord. David understood the main reason believers have to praise God: simply for Who He IS!!! "Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom" (145:3). It is so important to pass on the knowledge of God to the next generations. David declares, "One generation will commend Your works to another … They will tell … They will speak … They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness" (145:4-7). You have to KNOW God before you will praise God!
Too many people today have religion but they don't KNOW God! The God who reveals Himself in the Bible is holy and just, and it would be perfectly right for God to judge everyone with eternal death ... BUT, "The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The LORD is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made" (145:8-9). The entire Bible reveals God's plan of salvation. God doesn't "owe" forgiveness or eternal life to anyone … not to you and not to me. Yet, He calls some to be His children, to be His sheep, to KNOW Him, to enter into relationship with Him, and to live with Him - forever!! This is the God the Bible reveals; this is the God David knew and this is the God we can know today.
We who have come to know Him by His grace to us are responsible to do what David did: to tell others. "All You have made will praise You, O LORD; Your saints (holy ones) will extol You. They will tell of the glory of Your kingdom and speak of Your might, so that all men may know of Your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of Your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Your dominion endures through all generations" (145:10-13). David knew God. Do YOU know Him? Have you called out to Him as David did? Have you heard His call to you? Have you responded in faith?
"The LORD is righteous in all His ways and loving toward all He has made. The LORD is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth" (145:17-18). Therein lies the problem, however … apart from being born again by His Spirit and receiving Jesus as Savior and Lord, millions never call on Him in truth. JESUS is the TRUTH and only by confessing Him as Lord can anyone know God as "Abba, Father." We who by His grace KNOW Him have a task to perform that no one else can do: "My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD. Let every creature praise His holy Name forever and ever!" (145:21).
"O Lord, my God, I praise You … for You are worthy of praise! From everlasting to everlasting, You alone are God! I sing to You and rejoice that You have made Yourself known to me, of all the people on the face of the earth. You chose me to be YOURS, and I thank You daily for sending Jesus to bear the penalty for my sin and giving me His Spirit to open my mind and my heart to receive Your TRUTH!! I call upon You, O Lord, my Rock, my Fortress and my Deliver! In Jesus' name, Amen"