Friday, September 12, 2014

“Living Reality, Loving Response”

   "I will extol Thee, my God, o King, and I will bless Thy name forever and ever.  Every day will I bless Thee, and I will praise Thy name forever and ever" (Psalm 145:1-2).

    Why did David determine to exalt his Lord day by day and throughout eternity?  Was it a simply a matter of obedience to the God who commands us to extol, bless, and praise Him?  Certainly this supplies a portion of the answer.  We bring our accolades to the throne of grace as a matter of submission to our Lord and His Word.  "Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name" (Psalm 29:2).  Obligation and responsibility call us to "enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise" (Psalm 100:4).  He is God, we are His creation, and duty demands that we heed the call to praise and thank Him now and forevermore.

    This is not all the answer, however, nor is it the main answer.  "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity (love), I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal" (I Corinthians 13:1).  The Psalmist determined to sing the praises of God in the here and hereafter because he wanted to do so.  The heart of King David was enraptured and overwhelmed by his living experience of the person and truth of God: "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever" (Psalm 23:6).  Our Heavenly Father purposes that "goodness and mercy" elicit praise and thanksgiving.  Indeed, He does not need our accolade, nor is He an egotist who requires the reminder of His goodness and greatness from the conscious beings He created.  He rather loves our affirmations because they flow from hearts aware of our great need for Him, and amazed by the greatness of His provision in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Again, goodness and mercy cultivate praise and thanksgiving as the love of God known, received, and assimilated births within us genuine love for God.

    Our Lord has no interest in praise for the mere sake of praise, or of thanksgiving merely because it is the proper function of those subservient to Him.  One of God's most strident chastenings of Israel resulted from their heartless commitment - "Thou servedst not the Lord with joyfulness and with gladness of heart for the abundance of all things" (Deuteronomy 28:47-48).  Reality must serve as the motivating power of our appreciation and gratitude.  We must know the Lord Jesus well enough that we praise Him with the joyfulness and gladness of heart missing from Israel's heartless commitment.  The Holy Spirit dwells within believers to instill such grace as we trust and submit ourselves to God through Christ.  We must expect His working in us to foster the living reality that elicits loving response.  Our Heavenly Father is not content with anything less, nor should we be.

"Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning."
(Psalm 110:3)

Weekly Memory Verse
    The Lord is gracious and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy."
(Psalm 145:8

No comments: