Sunday, January 17, 2010
Progressing Toward Praise
“You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound”
I noticed an interesting progression in this Psalm. David began with a cry of distress, asking God to answer him (verse 1). He acknowledged that God heard and answered his cries (verse 3), and then meditated in his heart, offering the sacrifices of praise to and trust in God (verses 4-5). He ended the Psalm being filled with joy. I also noted that in other Psalms of distress, whether joy was a byproduct or not, the authors reminded themselves of God’s faithfulness and ended with victorious words of assurance.
I began thinking of the way I handle my times of distress. Yes, I cry out to God, begging for relief, but do I continue as David did? Do I move on, meditating on God’s faithfulness to me in the past and committing myself to trusting Him for this particular moment? Do I give Him a sacrifice of praise in the midst of my turmoil? I must admit the answer is not always.
Not only did David receive great joy, but he also received peace which allowed him to sleep (verse 8). How many times have I lain awake at night worrying about the health or circumstances of myself or others? Of course there are nights of pain when praising God may not necessarily bring sleep, but there are many other times when fears and worries are my source of sleeplessness.
When I have followed David’s example, I have not always experienced joy afterwards. Yet the Holy Spirit has never failed to bring peace and sometimes the joy has come later. Whether I am facing a new crisis or whether I am dealing with the same recurring issues, I would do well to learn from David. It will require some self discipline, for it is easier to give in to the ways of my old nature than to grow into my new one. But I have the power of the resurrected Christ in me, and the end result will be well worth the effort.
Prayer: O Lord, as I end my pleas with praise, fill me with Your joy, victory, and peace. Amen.