Psalms of Honesty and Truth
“ME, do it!” shouted the little girl dressing herself for the first time. We have very independent children and grandchildren in our family. It is hereditary. I bet you can relate. We back off and watch as our little ones struggle and grunt as they put on their clothes the hard way, for the first time, but none the less accomplish the task. We don’t have the heart to tell them their shirt is wrong side out and their pants are on backwards.
What do you want for Christmas?, a common question this time of year. When children are much younger, the response, often times is, “EVERYTHING!” A friend of mine took her little boy to visit Santa. He took the Target circular with him as he sat on Santa’s lap, pointing out all he wanted and “needed.” On a budget, we chose to give what we thought would last longer and fit their needs and still give them joy.
When faced with an unexpected, troubling, frustrating situation, children become irrational in their thinking. Talking is not an option until they settle down. They desperately want control but things are not in their control. So the trouble is assumed (world coming to an end) worse in their minds. At this point listening is limited.
When faced with a challenging hard task, life rules might be laid aside, advice not heeded, just so work can be done as quickly as possible, cutting corners, and finishing with a “just get by” attitude. The project or work falls apart, and they wonder what went wrong. Blame is placed on everyone but themselves until they realize, we should have followed the rules and done our best, then maybe this would have turned out better for all concerned. We didn’t listen or obey what we knew was right.
God deals with his independently minded children every day in ways described previously. He created us to be independently able to make right choices, to love Him back, to have a heart to love others, to serve well, to learn, grow and mature in Him, reflecting His glory. He also created us to be dependent on His salvation, mercy, grace and unconditional love for us. We cannot save ourselves…from ourselves. Only God can do that. He gave us an independent mind to make a decision for or against Him while dependently trusting in God for help and assurance, hope and peace.
The Psalmist begins with grateful resounding praise but remembers that God’s people did not listen for a time…a long time…forty years.
Praise means looking up, but worship means bowing down. Some people who enjoy lifting their hands and shouting do not enjoy bowing their knees and submitting. True worship is much deeper than communal praise, for worship involves realizing the awesomeness of God and experiencing the fear of the Lord and a deeper love for Him.
Too often Christian “praise” is nothing but religious entertainment and it never moves into spiritual enrichment in the presence of the Lord. Our singing must give way to silence as we bow before the Lord and listen. He alone is Jehovah, the Lord, the covenant-making and covenant-keeping God. He is our Maker and our Shepherd. Jubilation has its place only if it becomes adoration and we are prostrate before the Lord in total submission, “lost in wonder, love, and praise.” What a remarkable miracle of grace that we sinners should be called “His people.” He made us, He saved us, and He cares for us! Why should we hesitate to fall before Him in total surrender?
We need to LOOK around and see what God has done, is doing and will do in our lives and be grateful!
We need to BOW DOWN in humble worship before Him, adoring Him for who He is…the great I AM. He is God and we are not.
We need to LISTEN to God’s voice of wisdom, guidance, comfort, conviction, along with our marching orders for His mission, purpose and plan for us.
We need to OBEY and trust fully in what God says and follow it to the letter, crossing all the t’s and dotting all the i’s. “Give of your best to the Master” is not just a hymn but a declaration of obedience to the One who has our best interest at heart!
Yes, there is more than praise in Psalm 95…take a look, see what God tells you, and then trust and obey, for there’s really no other way to be happy in Jesus…
Psalm 95, New Living Translation
1 Come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come to him with thanksgiving.
Let us sing psalms of praise to him.
3 For the Lord is a great God,
a great King above all gods.
4 He holds in his hands the depths of the earth
and the mightiest mountains.
5 The sea belongs to him, for he made it.
His hands formed the dry land, too.
6 Come, let us worship and bow down.
Let us kneel before the Lord our maker,
7 for he is our God.
We are the people he watches over,
the flock under his care.
If only you would listen to his voice today!
8 The Lord says, “Don’t harden your hearts as Israel did at Meribah,
as they did at Massah in the wilderness.
9 For there your ancestors tested and tried my patience,
even though they saw everything I did.
10 For forty years I was angry with them, and I said,
‘They are a people whose hearts turn away from me.
They refuse to do what I tell them.’
11 So in my anger I took an oath:
‘They will never enter my place of rest.’”
Dear Heavenly Father,
Hallowed be Your Name! I’m listening…
In Jesus Name, Amen