Sunday, October 10, 2010

Praising the Lord Our God

Psalm 33:4

In corporate worship, God invites us to come before His presence and be awed by His glory and majesty. As we listen to Him speaking through His life-giving Word, we respond in humility, confessing our unworthiness. We also respond in joyful thanksgiving to Him through our songs and prayers for all the good gifts He gives us through our Lord Jesus Christ.

In worshiping God, our highest aim is to magnify Him, to exalt His glory and all His wonderful attributes. It is not to entertain ourselves or make ourselves feel good. Yet in worshiping God, we find Him satisfying our deepest, most basic longing, that is, to glorify the One who is worthy of praise, the One who gives us life and its meaning.

When God’s people find themselves worshiping in His presence, God Himself finds them doing what is right for "praise is becoming to the upright" (Ps. 33.1). Praise is fitting to the saints of the Lord for that’s the reason why you and I were created.

Psalm 33 tells us that God’s people are called to praise God’s excellent qualities. It is one of Israel’s greatest hymns of praise. It opens with the psalmist’s five-fold summons to the gathered assembly of the righteous to praise the Lord. You and I ought to bow down before the Lord our God in humble worship. And the psalmist enumerates for us many reasons in praising God.

We will focus our meditation on verse 4, highlighting the truthfulness and faithfulness of God as reasons for praising Him.

In this psalm, the writer begins by summoning the gathered assembly of worshipers to praise God. Right at the very beginning, he tells the worshipers to sing joyfully to the Lord. Take note how the lyrics vividly express an exuberant note exalting the glories of the Lord.

This psalm boasts of God’s glorious perfections in His own being, in His mighty work in creation, and in His sovereign plan over all the earth, particularly over His own chosen people. It is clear that the word ‘for’ at the beginning of verse 4 connects the invitation to praise (vv.1-3) with the reasons for praising God. Just as the word of God is right and true and His work is always faithful, so is He, in His being.

God is not separated from what He does and what He says. He is, at the very core of His being, faithful and true. So His Word and works match with His character. Thus God cannot lie and does not tell a lie. When He makes promises, He fulfills them. When He speaks, He speaks the truth. When He does something, He does what is right.

Our God is trustworthy. He is dependable and consistent. Do you know who He stands in stark contrast with? The evil one! Yes, the devil fills the world with his lies and deceptions. He is a liar from the beginning. He is the father of lies. He makes lies appear as truth. He makes promises but does not keep them. His works are doomed for destruction.

Our God, however, is always faithful. When He says in vv. 10-11 that ‘He foils the plans of the nations and let His plan alone stand firm’ He really does. History is filled with God’s providential acts of triumph over the wicked plans and schemes of men and nations. You know how God frustrated the arrogant plans of the people in the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11). Their rebellious plan resulted to confusion and the formation of many nations.

Later these nations try to hinder God's sovereign plan to set apart a people for Himself, a holy nation that will worship Him and live under His sovereign rule. At first, Israel has greatly suffered under Egypt's tyranny and oppression. But God frustrates Pharaoh's plan to keep Israel in bondage, delivering her from the house of bondage.

Even the plans of the Canaanite nations to prevent Israel's entrance to the Promise Land did not succeed. God crushed the plans of Sihon king of the Amorites and Og king of Bashan. He blasted Balak's plan to destroy Israel.

So Biblical history proves that no one can outwit God. All the nations' plans did not materialize. God's plan, however, came through. For when He says He will do something He will really do it.

God is trustworthy. He towers high above the greatest and brightest of our rulers and politicians who fail to perform all their promises and assurances to the people. When God promises He swears to no one else except to Himself to confirm His word (Gen 22:16; Heb 6:13). He is faithful and true. II Corinthians 1:18-20 tells us that God’s promises to His people are fulfilled in the life and work of Jesus Christ for “all His promises are ‘Yes’ and ‘Amen’ in Christ.” God never fails to fulfill His promises. Do you believe that?

This calls for a wholehearted trust to God on our part. God is praised when you and I believe in His promise of salvation and sanctification. Do you believe that by faith God saves you from eternal death and hell through Jesus Christ? Do you trust in God’s providential care even when you are financially broke or physically ill?

Those who are battling against illness and disease, do you really trust in God alone for the ultimate good of your body and soul? God is glorified when you say to Him, “Yes, Lord. I believe that You alone can save both my body and soul.”

Likewise, God is glorified when we remain faithful in our covenant relationship with Him. When God says, “Stop worrying for many things!” or “Seek first My kingdom and My righteousness and everything you need will be provided” do you argue with Him saying, “I try Lord but it’s hard not to worry. Besides, I want to be successful. I want to prove to my friends and family that I am not a disappointment.” When you say, “Lord, I’m not going to worry about anything anymore,” do you really keep your word?

Husbands, you praise God when you keep your marital commitment to love your wife in good times and in bad. The same thing for the wives. When you stick to your promise to remain faithful to your husbands, you honor the God who is faithful and true. Parents, you glorify God when you do what you have promised to do with your children. Likewise, children, you honor God when you do what you promised Mom and Dad to do.

Pastors and elders honor God when they keep their promise to nurture and protect the Lord's flock according to the Word of God.

When you disregard God’s commands and ignore His promises, you are really saying that He is not dependable. Yet you and I know that when we trust and obey the Lord in the home, in school, at work, in church and everywhere we glorify Him for we reflect His worth: His truthfulness and faithfulness.

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