Tuesday, June 7, 2016

"Praising God is easy when you know who He is!"

Day #160

Scripture Reading:  Psalms 102 - 104 …

"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 the same … and Your years will never end" (102:25-27).  The reason most people don't praise God is because they don't know Him as their Creator.  I have said that before and it is so true.  And here’s another truth from God’s Word:  The reason most people don't LOVE God is because they have not confessed their sin and their need for forgiveness and then found in God's grace and compassion a Savior named, Jesus!  And the reason most people don't serve God is because they are convinced that their lives are their own and that they are the masters of their own fate.  David and the other writers of the Psalms knew otherwise … because they knew God!

In good times or bad, God is God and His character provides hope to those who know Him.  The writer of Psalm 102 cries out to the Lord during a particularly difficult time in his life.  Who cannot identify with the description he gives:  "My days vanish like smoke … I forget to eat … I lie awake …" (102:3-7).  He even attributes his agony to God's wrath (102:10), realizing that all of life's burdens ultimately arise from the wrath of God upon mankind because of our sin and rebellion.  Yet, there is hope for those who know God!

"You, O LORD, sit enthroned forever … You will arise and have compassion on Zion" (102:12).  Those who know God have heard His promises and tasted of His grace and mercy.  While these words were written for those who lived centuries ago, they were also written for us as we live in this world today. "Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord" (102:18).  With insight from the Spirit of the Lord the Psalmist pointed all those who would come to believe in Israel's God to find their hope in Him.  God even revealed to him His final purpose for the remnant:  "So the name of the LORD will be declared in Zion and His praise in Jerusalem when the peoples and the kingdoms assemble to worship the LORD" (102:21-22).

It will happen just as God planned it.  As the prophet Habakkuk wrote, "The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea" (Habakkuk 2:14).  The God the Psalmist knew is the only true God and He is at work among the peoples of the world today gathering those whom He has chosen through the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the testimony of those who know Israel's God.

Psalms 103 and 104 continue the praise of the LORD, the great "I AM," the Almighty and Everlasting God!  David explains the outpouring of God's blessings upon those who are His, who believe in Him, who know Him, and then He speaks of God's character, the character He had revealed to Moses and the people of Israel: "The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love …" (103:8).  He is forgiving and loving and compassionate to His children, "as a father" … And having described the character of God, David explains why we need such a God:  "For He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust …" (103:14).

Those who boast of their power and strength are foolish.  We are like the grass, like flowers in the field.  We exist for a time and then we are gone.  James writes, "You do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes" (James 4:14).  The only way to find significance and meaning in your life is to humble yourself before God and draw near to Him in faith, believing that you have been redeemed through Jesus Christ and given new life that now enables you to know God, to love God and to serve God.  Apart from that your life is as worthless and meaningless as it seems.  But this God receives all those who call out to Him, because when you do so, it is His very Spirit that has moved you to call!!

"From everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear Him, and His righteousness with their children's children" (103:17).  We who know God's love in Jesus join with the angels in praising God from the depths of our souls!  As we watch the nations of the world descend into greater and greater chaos, we are moved to worship God, who is "clothed with splendor and majesty" (104:1). Reading through Psalm 104 I am reminded of the power and wisdom of my God and moved again to praise!  THINK of what God has done as you behold His creation.  Those who doubt things like the global flood during the days of Noah cannot doubt that the writer of Psalm 104 believed it happened, as he describes it in verses 6-9.

He then describes some of the works of God's marvelous creation and says of all creatures, "These all look to You to give them their food at the proper time" (104:27).  How humbling to know that every creature that exists on the face of the earth, including you and me, is totally and utterly dependent on God for food, water and everything else associated with life.  Were God to withdraw His hand we, and all of creation would simply cease to exist.  Not one breath is taken without God moving your lungs and mine to do so.  God created all things and sustains all things and all things exist for His purposes.

The Psalmist knew what that purpose was and is:  "I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.  May my meditation be pleasing to Him, as I rejoice in the LORD … Praise the LORD, O my soul. Praise the LORD!" (104:33-35).  Join with creation in praising our God today, whether in good times or in bad, for He is the same yesterday, today and forever and He is worthy of praise!  Cry out to Him and He will hear you and will show His compassion and mercy to you.  Jesus is the Way and the Truth and the Life.  Come to the Father through faith in Jesus and discover what it means to be blessed as you find joy in praising our God!!

"O LORD, my God, You are all I need in life and I praise You from the depths of my heart!  In Your mercy You have given me new life in Christ and by Your Spirit You have opened my eyes to see Your splendor and majesty throughout Your creation.  With the Psalmist and the angels and the saints I will sing Your praises all of my life, trusting in Your goodness and resting in Your love.  In Jesus' name, Amen"

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