Monday, September 8, 2014

Therefore...


The Lord is my strength and my shield; 
My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; 
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, 
And with my song I will praise Him. 
Psalm 28:7 

I love it when I run across a "therefore" in the Bible. Whenever I see one, I know that I need to look at what came just before it, and figure out how the two are related. Psalm 28:7 is an example. The Psalmist tells us that the Lord is his strength and his shield. He doesn't say the Lord is part of my strength or somewhat protective. He says the Lord IS his strength and his shield. He finds all his strength, all his protection in the Lord. Think of that. When was the last time you acknowledged that ALL of your strength IS God. Not that it is in God, or that you get your strength from Him, but that it IS GOD!? My strength is God. What or who on this earth is stronger than that? This is a reason for praise!

Next he tells us that his heart trusted in Him, and he was helped. Why does my heart so often not trust Him? If He is my strength, and there is none stronger, why would I not trust Him? There is no reason. Have I not been helped? Has He been unfaithful? Even when I have been unfaithful, He never has. This is a reason to trust Him and to believe.

Why is it so hard to praise Him through our pain, even when we know all these things are true? Because we are stubborn, prideful people. If we can't see and agree that our trial is better for us than anything else, we dig our heels in and refuse to submit. Though we have no choice but to outwardly endure the circumstance, we refuse to submit our will and our hearts, and praise Him in it. We offer conditional praise to God: When things are going well, we are quick to shout out, "Praise the Lord!" But when circumstances overwhelm, old pains increase, or new pain springs up, our praises cease, and we are consumed with ourselves and our problems. This will never make us joyful Christians who draw others to Christ.

THEREFORE, my friends, you and I must change. Pride must go, and humble submission must take its place. There is no place in a Psalmist (a role to which God has called all of us) for pride, anger, entitlement, self-pity or bitterness. Is God our strength? Then we are strong! There is no reason for our hearts to do anything other than greatly rejoice, unless we allow our flesh to have the victory. Our God is the lifter of our heads. Today, let Him also be the lifter of our hands, as we sing praises to Him.