Wednesday, October 26, 2016, 7:14 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Total Praise.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 75 (NIV).
We Praise You (v. 1)
We praise you, God,
we praise you, for your Name is near;
people tell of your wonderful deeds.
God’s Name is his divine character, his will, and his reputation (renown). It represents who he is and what he is about. When we gather together in the Name of Jesus, and he is present among us, it is not because we merely use his name as the reason for our meeting, but it is because our assembly is in accord with his divine will and character. It is because our gathering is to fulfill his divine purposes for Spirit-led and Spirit-filled fellowship, prayer, communion, ministry, encouragement and the teaching of his Word.
When we pray in the Name of Jesus, we are to be praying according to his divine will, as revealed in His Word, and as witnessed to us in our spirits by the Holy Spirit living within us. We should not pray with selfish motives in mind, or against his revealed will in scripture. If we don’t know his specific will in a matter, we can make our requests known to God, and then pray, “Nevertheless, not my will but Thine be done.” For instance, we may pray to be delivered from a specific trial, which is Biblical, but we must also know that God brings trials into our lives for our good, which is also Biblical, and so we must commit ourselves into God’s hands, and yield to his will.
So, when it says here that God’s Name is near, it is saying that He is near us, as is his divine character, his will for us, his sovereignty, his grace, his forgiveness, his mercy, his love, his steadfastness, and his faithfulness, etc. They are all close by to us. In fact, if we truly believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, he is living within us in the person of his Holy Spirit. You can’t get much closer than that! And, he is always with us, and he will never leave us or forsake us. And, so we praise him, because of who he is, and for all that he has done and is going to do for us.
The Appointed Time (vv. 2-5)
You say, “I choose the appointed time;
it is I who judge with equity.
When the earth and all its people quake,
it is I who hold its pillars firm.
To the arrogant I say, ‘Boast no more,’
and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horns.
Do not lift your horns against heaven;
do not speak so defiantly.’”
God has a timing for everything he does, and it isn’t usually our timing. We, especially here in America, live in an “instant” and “fast food” society. We are used to getting things quickly, and so we can easily be tempted to lose patience when we are stuck in traffic, or when we have to stand in a line a few extra minutes because something went wrong with the person’s transaction in front of us, or when the internet is slow as molasses.
Years ago I was guilty of getting frustrated if I had to wait in line longer than I had anticipated. Then God spoke to me, and he showed me how silly I looked. And, then I just learned to smile, and to accept that, even if I chose the shortest line, it might end up being the longest line, and that often happens, but I just smile, and I’m at peace.
In America, too, we, as a society, feel we should not have to suffer pain, and so it is prevalent in America to have people automatically go for pills, alcohol, pornography, movies, and games, etc. – anything to try to numb or to drown out the pain and suffering. I did that in my past life. I should have turned to God, and I did, for a while, but I lost patience with him when things got really tough, and I didn’t trust in his sovereignty over my life. But, he didn’t give up on me, praise God! He brought me back around, and he taught me about his sovereignty over my life, and I yielded to him.
It is hard to suffer, no doubt. I don’t like being bit up by bed bugs. I am praying for deliverance, and I believe it will come, if it has not already, and yet I yield to God’s perfect timing and to his sovereign will over my life. I know he allowed this trial for a purpose, and at his appointed time, he will deliver me from it. Yet, I praise him in the good times and in the bad.
He Exalts (vv. 6-8)
No one from the east or the west
or from the desert can exalt themselves.
It is God who judges:
He brings one down, he exalts another.
In the hand of the Lord is a cup
full of foaming wine mixed with spices;
he pours it out, and all the wicked of the earth
drink it down to its very dregs.
God is absolutely sovereign and in control over all things. Amen! A woman told me today that God is not presently in control, because he is allowing Satan to rule the earth. So, I pointed out to her that the word “allowing” means that he can also “disallow,” so that means he is absolutely in control over all things. He sets the limits. He puts people on thrones and takes some of them down. He may allow evil to reign for a time, but he has an appointed time in which he will judge, and those who continue to do evil, and who do not repent of their sins, will face his wrath.
He may allow us to go through times of great suffering and distress, too, but he will deliver us who love him, and who have been called according to his purpose. It is just a matter of when, according to his appointed time, and according to his divine purposes and will. Sometimes he gives us relief from suffering in this life, but other times people find their relief through death. He never promised us that life would be easy for us, or that we should live a life of worldly or earthly comfort. He allows suffering in our lives to produce in us godly character, to teach us perseverance, and to get us to stop trusting in ourselves (in humans), but to put our trust fully in HIM to meet all of our needs. We also learn compassion through the things we suffer. I know I am way more compassionate now that I have suffered bed bugs.
He also opens some doors for us and he closes others, and it is not up to us to try to force doors open which he wants closed, or to close doors he may want to remain open. We are not to take matters into our own hands, but we are to commit our ways to the Lord, and let him direct our paths.
Sing Praise (vv. 9-10)
As for me, I will declare this forever;
I will sing praise to the God of Jacob,
who says, “I will cut off the horns of all the wicked,
but the horns of the righteous will be lifted up.”
Sadly, many will never put their hope in Jesus Christ, but will go from bad to worse, always defying the Lord who made them. One day they will stand before God and he will judge them, and they will be cast out into outer darkness and will burn in hell. So, we should pray for their salvation.
In good times, and in bad times, we should praise the Lord. He has been impressing that much on my heart lately… that, and learning to totally rest in him in and for all things. One day we will be rewarded for our faith and trust in him, and for our perseverance in trial. So, even if you are still in the midst of suffering for his name’s sake, praise the Lord, for he is good.
Total Praise / Richard Smallwood
Lord, I will lift mine eyes to the hills
Knowing my help is coming from You
Your peace You give me in time of the storm
You are the source of my strength…