It’s Time… To Praise
The media is saturated with news that is disconcerting: People in positions of authority or in high visibility careers are committing immoral, if not illegal acts. Previously unknown individuals are solidifying infamous reputations by committing random acts of violence that show no respecter of persons. Unusual weather patterns are wreaking havoc across the world. Identities are stolen, throwing victims into financial crisis. As of late, millions of people are finding that their medical insurance will not pass muster in this new age of government health care.
As we make an attempt to digest the information and deal with disturbing life events, we will choose a personal response. Here are some possibilities: We can panic. Much like Chicken Little we can proclaim, “The sky is falling!” maybe bury our heads in the sand or hole up in a bunker to shield ourselves and our families from the terrible tide. We can be apathetic. We can quote Solomon and say, “there’s nothing new under the sun” and plod on day to day, because, after all, nothing’s changed and nothing ever will. We can pour ourselves into the latest cause, believing that we can effect change. This is a viable option and may bring improvements to our own or other people’s situations, but we need to couple that with an even greater response: We can praise God who is sovereign in every circumstance and desires to give us “a future and a hope.”
We understand from Scripture that God inhabits the praises of His people. When we worship and praise Him, most especially in adverse times, we assure His presence in our midst. What better time could there be for His protection and power?
Intertwined amongst the passages of Isaiah are many verses that foretell adversity for God’s people, but promise His help and safety when they praise Him and Him alone. Here is a sample from Isaiah 43:
“Fear not for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
When you pass through the waters I will be with you;
And through the rivers,
They shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire,
You shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
This people I have formed for Myself.
They shall declare My praise.”
No doubt we are living in perilous times. On the traditional church calendar we are presently in the season of advent, celebrating the arrival of the Christ child. It is possible that on the eternal calendar we are close to the advent of Christ the King, coming for His church. So, while life can be difficult, and we may face more trials in the near future, we are eagerly awaiting our sure hope. Let’s praise the Lord, “speaking to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in [our] hearts to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19). Surely the Lord’s presence will sustain and revive us. And who knows that it won’t be our final rehearsal for an eternity of worship and praise:
“Bless the Lord, O my soul.
And all that is within me bless His holy name!” Psalm 103:1
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