Grace For The Journey
In Thursday’s blog, we began to look at Psalm 57. Psalm 57 shows us that David understood a deep and valuable truth:
Although, he may not have realized
Why God was allowing him to suffer,
He did understand what God wanted
From him in his suffering.
David understood that to ask the question “Why?” in the midst of suffering is to ask the wrong question. The proper question to ask is, “God, what do You want from my life in the midst of this trial and as a result of this trial?”
The answer is . . .
“God wants to be glorified.”
That is the theme of Psalm 57 (note the refrain, verses 5 & 11):
God’s glory should be our aim
At all times,
But especially in a time of trial.
Then we looked at what it means to glorify God? We saw that it means that God is worthy of all honor because of who He is, a God who is perfect in all of His attributes and ways.
To glorify God is to ascribe honor and praise to God
For who He is and for what He has done.
It means to show forth His excellencies, to exalt Him.
In simple language, to glorify God means
“To make Him look good as He really is through my life.”
On Friday, we began to deal with the question, “How do we do that?” We looked at two ways David presents us in today’s blog.
Yesterday we looked at Psalm 57:1-6 and saw that . . .
- God is glorified as we trust Him in our trials.
Those verses teach us that if you see God as bigger than your problems, then you can trust Him, and He will get the glory. God is glorified as we trust Him in our trials. Trust involves relying on God alone; going to Him in prayer; and, seeing Him as bigger than our problems.
In today’s blog we will look at Psalm 57:7-11, where David shows us a second way God can be glorified in our trials which we will look at tomorrow.
- God is glorified as we praise Him in our trials (57:7-11).
So far as we can tell, David is still in the cave. Saul is still the king, and he is still after David. David’s circumstances haven’t changed much, if at all. And yet, instead of self-pity and complaining, David breaks forth in praise to God. He teaches us two things about praise:
- Praise is a matter of deliberate focus (57:7-9).
Praise is not our natural response in a time of trial. Our natural response is to complain and get angry at God, or to get depressed. But even though David’s enemy had fixed a net to catch him (57:6), David had fixed his heart (57:7, same Hebrew root) to praise God. The repeated affirmations show that it was a matter of deliberate choice: “I will sing, yes, I will sing praises!”
Sometimes you need to praise God when you don’t feel like it. You may think, “Isn’t that hypocrisy?” No, it’s obedience (Psalm 45L17l 71:6). Hypocrisy doesn’t mean doing things you don’t feel like doing. If that’s what hypocrisy is, I’m a hypocrite every morning, because I get out of bed even though I don’t feel like it! Hypocrisy is trying to present a false impression to others so that you look better than you are. But praising God is a matter of obedience, and the test of obedience isn’t when you feel like obeying, but when you don’t.
The next time you’re going through a difficult trial and you’re depressed or overwhelmed, follow David’s lead and set your heart to praise God. Get out a hymn book or put on a praise tape and focus on the Lord by singing to Him.
- Praise is a matter of testifying to others of God’s goodness (57:9-10).
David wants the nations (those who don’t know God) to hear his praise. Even though he’s going through extreme difficulty, he wants to sing about how good God is, so that others will hear and glorify God.
David specifies two aspects of God’s goodness
(Which often occur together in other psalms):
His lovingkindness and His truth, or faithfulness (57:3, 10).
“Lovingkindness” comes from the Hebrew word related to the stork. The Hebrews saw the loyal love of the stork for its young and said, “God’s love is like that, only greater.” He cares for and nurtures us with never-ending love.
“Truth” points to God’s faithfulness. He is consistent and trustworthy. He never fails His children. He may bring us into severe situations and sometimes even from the human perspective to premature death. But . . .
There is not a person in history
Who has trusted in the living God
And been disappointed.
Even those who have suffered greatly have testified to God’s abundant love and faithfulness which has sustained them. Paul’s desire as he was in prison, facing possible execution, should be ours, that “Christ shall even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death” (Philippians 1:20).
It is important that you focus your praise
On God’s loyal love and faithfulness in a time of trial,
Because it is precisely those qualities
Which Satan tempts you to doubt at such a time.
You will be tempted to think, “If God loves me, why is this happening to me?” But, David’s voice comes singing from the cave, “God, Your lovingkindness is great to the heavens and Your truth to the clouds! Be exalted above the heavens, O God; let Your glory be above all the earth.”
It’s important not just that our individual worship, but also that our corporate worship be a vigorous testimony of God’s glory. If someone who doesn’t know God comes into our midst, he should be able to tell from our praise that we worship a great God who is loving and faithful.
Pastor John MacArthur, in his book entitled, The Ultimate Priority, tells about a Jewish woman who went to a synagogue near the church he pastors for counsel because her marriage was breaking up. She was given biblical counseling that ran contrary to what she thought was need and had been told by others. She was upset by this and went to her car to leave. It was on late afternoon on a Sunday, and as she walked to her car, she got caught in the crowd going to evening worship and ended up in the service. She was so overwhelmed with the atmosphere of worship that she trusted Christ as her Savior and was baptized a few weeks later. She later told Dr. MacArthur that she didn’t remember much about his sermon, but she was absolutely in awe of the joy, peace, and love that exuded from the people as they worshiped. She had never seen anything like it. Their praise led her to salvation.
What is your focus or aim in life, especially in a time of trial?
If your aim is your own happiness, to escape
As quickly as you can from your pain,
You are living for the wrong thing.
That’s what those in the world live for.
If your aim is to glorify and exalt God
By trusting and praising Him even in the midst of trials,
You’ve found God’s purpose for your life.
The Puritans had it right:
Our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
If you’ll focus on that purpose, He will give you a song even from the cave!
This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”