“I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee. I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul. All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O LORD, when they hear the words of thy mouth. Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the LORD: for great is the glory of the LORD. Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me. The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.”
Truth. Strength. Pride. Revival. Salvation.
Those are the key words in the Psalm above. At least they are for me. Oh what words they are. They pretty much identify our entire relationship with God. I guess that is why this psalm jumps off the page for me. I was reading through the book of Psalms yesterday, when I reached psalm 138, and there it was, like God coming down to sit next to me, teaching me. It is one of those parts of the Bible that does so much to help me grow closer to Him, to better understand Him.
God is truth.
In our society today, this word is so elusive. Everyone seems to have their own version of it. It is all relative, some may say. Depending on where you are from, what your experiences are, you may have a different version of truth. But is that really truth? I think not. There really is only one truth. Whether we realize it or not does not change what truth is. Of course, this world is all about opposites isn’t it? We cannot have good without evil. Truth cannot exist without falsehoods, or else how would we tell the difference? As the psalm says, I will praise God for the truth He has so lovingly revealed to us, through His son, Jesus Christ.
God is strength.
How common is it for man to ignore God. We spend so much of our time puffing ourselves up, acting as if we are in control. We are the heroes. We are the warriors. But no matter how mighty we are, there always comes a day when we are dejected, depressed, beaten down. And in those moments, who do we call? You got it – God. In times of desperation, all of a sudden even those who have strayed far from our Creator dare to cry out for His help. How many times do we find out that He did not let us down? No matter how unfaithful we are, as ungrateful as we can be, His grace is never ending. When in desperation, we call out His name, and He gives us just enough strength to make it through our trials and tribulations. How long will it take before man realizes that any strength we have, we have because of Him? When will we realize that we are to praise Him always, through good times and bad?
God hates pride.
This part of the psalm speaks of God having respect for those that are “low” but being far away from the proud. Pride is probably the root of most of our sin. Think about it. Greed, adultery, addiction, murder, lies – aren’t they all a product of putting ourselves first? So much about our Savior Jesus Christ is about submission, humbling ourselves, selflessness. It is obvious that God thinks of pride as one of our greatest obstacles. Only by knocking ourselves off of our pedestals, can we grow closer to Him. Yes it is hard. Our world is one of pride. It is selfish. Everything in our society today is about acquisition, instant gratification. The world does not value selflessness as it should. Yet It it is the denying of ourselves that is precisely at the heart of what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross.
Jesus never promised us riches, or good times. He promised us trials and tribulations. He told we would be cursed because of Him. His apostles saw it first hand, many of them dying for our Savior. He does not offer an easy path, but He does offer healing. He does offer to revive us. This goes back to strength. When we cry out, God hears our cries. He will not always gives us what we want, but He will always give us what we need. He gives us just enough to refresh us. He picks us up, dusts us off, then throws us back in the battle. We can know that we have the greatest warrior the world has ever known, dwelling within our hearts.
God is salvation.
Since the fall of man, the world has been consumed with sin. It is said the world is the dominion of Satan, and that he rules the earth. How difficult then is it for man to save himself? He cannot. Left to our own devices, we will fail. But God is not an unjust God. His love for us is greater than we can imagine. His love is one of those things we can’t fully comprehend with our earthly understanding, but one we will completely embrace the day we meet Him in Heaven. Because of this love, He gives us a way out, a way to salvation. He gave us a glimpse as to His unending love through His son, Jesus Christ. Dying on the cross to atone for the sins we deserved punishment for, He washes us clean, giving us the way to eternal life. But to receive salvation, we need to do our part. He asks us to believe, trust, repent, and surrender. Is it too much to ask?
This psalm is one of my favorites. It is amazing how we can go back to the Old Testament and find so many parts of the Bible with Messianic messages. I don’t know if this one was meant to be read in that manner, but it sure feels that way to me.
What does this Psalms say to you?