He would be merciless anywhere in enforcing what he considered to be the right.”
–Elmer Kelton (Captain’s Rangers)
“For merely listening to the law doesn’t make us right with God. It is obeying the law that makes us right in his sight.”
I am thoroughly convinced, especially now since I’m a little older, that most Christians simply do not praise the Lord enough. Praise is not given in the good times, for He is taken for granted. Sure, sure, ask a hyper-Christian how they are doing and they will give an answer like this: “Blessed, oh I’m truly blessed. I woke up this morning and the fragrance of roses and tulips were in the air. The thrill of waking up to start my day was just a blessing.” Yuck! Truly we are blessed, but we don’t take the time to meditate on the Word and the blessings we do have.
Or then there are those other down-in-the-mouth Christians who might say: “Bah, another day, more debt. I ache all over. God why did you do this to me? The smell of skunks are in the air and it has all settled in my backyard.” Not only are these folk in need of prayer, but they might just need a kick in the pants.
I am not going into the story of Fanny Crosby, but there was a lady who understood what true praising was all about. Take time to read her story.
“To God be the glory, great things He hath done,
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
And opened the Life Gate that all may go in.”
If we are in the doldrums of life we should be praising the Lord, not because of our situation, but simply because of who He is. If life is grand, and we are going great, we should take time, not to praise for all the good times, but because of who He is. One reason we may find ourselves in the “sloughs of despair” is because we attempt to make our lives into something they were never meant to be. We are made into vessels for His glory and honor. You may think you’ll be a beautiful vessel as a centerpiece in high society, but the Lord may mean for you to be an old scrub pot that is used behind the scenes.
Real joy and life fulfillment will not come to the believer until he comes to the place where he realizes that he is exactly where God intended him to be, and start to praise Him.
“Oh, perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To ev’ry believer the promise of God;
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.”
Paul tells us to be thankful in every circumstance. One reason for that is because we are redeemed. Life may be tough and unbearable here on earth, but you are redeemed. Put the woes aside and recognize what Christ has done for you. If we repress our praise to Him for His glory and for who He is they we are repressing the very nature that God has placed within us. To do this will bring serious difficulties.
Obey Him when we are feeling down and recognize that He is God. He is the sovereign Lord and knows exactly where you are and what you are going through. He never says “oops”! “Praise is an act of obedience to a God who is in charge…. Obedience to God, especially when we don’t understand, is perhaps the highest of all possible virtues.” (Stephen Brown)
Why do we question Him is we really believe He is in charge of our lives? In fact, how dare we question the sovereignty of our Lord? Will we understand everything? No. Put that aside, trust and praise Him.
“Great things He hath taught us, great things He hath done,
And great our rejoicing thro’ Jesus the Son;
But purer, and higher, and greater will be
Our wonder, our transport when Jesus we see.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the earth hear His voice;
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the people rejoice;
Oh, come to the Father, thro’ Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory; great things He hath done.”
Perhaps one of the reasons that we don’t praise Him, except maybe once or twice a week or on special occasions when we think He has done something special for us, is that we don’t take the time to be taught by Him. Or maybe I should say, we do not recognize that He is constantly teaching us. We sit, as students often do in a classroom, in a daze or day-dreaming. Wake up! Get into His Word; let the Holy Spirit teach you daily and become aware of His presence. Offer Him praise!