September 14, 2017
“[[A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.]] O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.” Psalm 63:1-2. David was a man who had many troubles. Some of them were brought on by his own sins, such as his adulterous affair with Bathsheba and the subsequent murder of her husband, but some were just things that happen in life, such as Saul’s hatred of him. King Saul was soothed when David played music, but when the music stopped Saul would try to kill David. At one point David was forced to flee and ended up in the wilderness. David could have been bitter and blamed God for not stopping Saul’s attacks, but he praised God instead of blaming Him. This wilderness was a hostile environment with no comforts. Though water was scarce David’s soul thirsted for God. We also have wilderness journeys that can test us and sometimes we may feel cut off from everything good and feel far from God. In those times we need to seek God as a thirsty person seeks water. It’s easy to praise God when our hearts aren’t troubled, but in the wilderness, we gain strength in our faith by praising Him in all situations.
“Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.” Psalm 63:3-4. When life takes a bad turn most people blame God. Keep in mind that God never promised to keep all troubles away from us and while we live on this side of Heaven we will face many, many troubles. The way a Christian handles those troubles depends upon how much we trust God. Even though David was running for his life he recognized the mercy, kindness, and goodness of God. To David, God’s loving kindness was better than life itself. Even while dusty, dirty, thirsty, and generally uncomfortable, David praised God. Can we say the same thing when we face problems that come our way? David lifted his hands to the Lord. Most Christians sit quietly in a pew on Sunday mornings and worship God with no real passion. What if we, like David, lifted our hands in praise? Would that change our way of thinking about Him? Maybe, maybe not, but if we’re afraid to openly praise Him in the midst of a congregation of fellow Christians we certainly won’t praise Him in the hostile world outside of those hallowed walls. We have so much to praise Him for and we should always have His praise on our lips and in our hearts. If our hands are lifted in praise then we won’t use them for mischief, if our hearts are tuned to Him with song then we won’t harbor hatred and anger, if our lips sing His praise then we won’t deny His lovingkindness. The Apostle Paul said, “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” 1 Timothy 2:8. If David saw fit to lift his hands to the Lord in the wilderness and Paul encouraged lifting up holy hands then we shouldn’t be embarrassed to openly praise the Lord. Do you lose all inhibitions at a sports event? The Lord God Almighty is more worthy of your adulation than a football team.
David felt God’s provision even in the harshest conditions. His mouth was filled with God’s praise and it was as satisfying as a good meal. “My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: when I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.” Psalm 63:5-7. This Psalm doesn’t promote meditation as the Eastern pagan religions promote and it’s not contemplative prayer. This meditation is turning your mind to God at all times and remembering all He has done for you. Even when things seem the darkest, God is still worthy of praise because of His love. No matter what your trouble happens to be, He still laid down His life for your salvation. Think about that. He has forgiven you of a multitude of sins and His lovingkindness is better than life. His love has given Christians eternal life.
“My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me. But those that seek my soul to destroy it shall go into the lower parts of the earth. They shall fall by the sword: they shall be a portion for foxes. But the king shall rejoice in God; every one that sweareth by him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.” Psalm 63:8-11. No matter what happens around us we can only be responsible for how we follow the Lord in our own life. David knew that it was God who was his strength and that God would come against his enemies. David followed after God’s ways but wanted God to deal with his enemies. He chose to rejoice in God through good times and bad times and we need to follow his example. When someone has it in for us or tries to hurt us, let God deal with that person and you just keep praising the Lord. “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4. Paul understood persecution and what it means to take up your cross and follow Jesus. When he says to rejoice he means while on the mountain top of joy as well as in the dark valley of trouble and despair. Other people will see your love for the Lord and be encouraged, but praising God in all things will also encourage your own trust in Him.
We face many troubles individually and as a nation. The news headlines can be very troublesome to read and it could be easy to get discouraged. Jesus said that as the end of time approached we would see an increase of problems and they would get worse. “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” Matthew 24:6. Troubles and tough times are here and getting worse. We are moving swiftly towards the Rapture, which will occur prior to Daniel’s final week, and Jesus was clear about the events leading up to the end of days. Jesus knew that troubles will increase in strength and frequency as the end of time drew near. “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Matthew 24:7-8. Throughout the years’ people have faced these problems but today these events are becoming more frequent. As I write this, Florida is being pounded by hurricane Irma while people in Texas haven’t come close to recovering from Hurricane Harvey. An 8.2 earthquake hit offshore Mexico and many people have died. People in Venezuela are suffering from starvation, North Korea is threatening to send nuclear weapons to destroy Guam or Hawaii or anywhere else that can be destroyed, the Middle East is seething with hatred towards Israel, and Muslim terrorists are killing anyone who isn’t a Muslim. Things really look bleak. Should we just give up and blame God? “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18. We certainly cannot be thankful for these things, but like David in the wilderness of Judah and Paul in prison we can still praise God when we’re in the midst of these trials and testing. It’s God’s will that we praise Him even when going through the wilderness.
Paul did experience his share of suffering in his missionary work, but he learned to put aside his own suffering and praise God in all things. Whether in a jail cell or being beaten by an angry mob he never turned away from Jesus. Today there are many people who are in prison and being tortured because they love Jesus. Discrimination against Christians is strong, but instead of rioting and causing damage and destruction, we praise the Lord and let God deal with our enemies. Paul wasn’t happy about the suffering he faced and he prayed for God to take it from him. “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians12:9. Because he always had praise on his lips he was able to bring many people to salvation through Jesus. We have that same ability if we keep praising our Lord no matter what our situation. As Christians, we have so much to be thankful for and rejoice over. No matter what troubles may befall us we have salvation. If we praise God no matter what our situation, then other people will see our attitude and glorify God. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is heaven.” Matthew 5:16. Glorifying God should be every Christian’s goal. David praised Him in every situation and so did Paul, Peter, James, John, and the others who followed the risen Christ with all their strength.
Whether your home is flooded from storms or your stomach is grumbling from lack of food, praise the Lord. You’ll find the strength to face each day and His grace will be sufficient for you.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.