Thursday, 25 June 2020
Title: Praise and Persistence
Hon Sir Neng
This is a psalm of praise and exhortation. It directs the people of God to praise God for who He is and what He has done. At the same time, there is an exhortation towards the end of the psalm. So, let us explore this psalm together and see what the implications are for our lives.
Why do we worship God and praise Him? Verses 1-7 shows us the attitudes and reasons in which we worship God. With our attitude, it is one of joyfulness and thanksgiving. Verse 1 tells us to make a joyful noise to God, who is the Rock of our salvation. Verse 2 similarly gives that remark, by telling us to sing songs of praises with a joyful noise!
Why do we sing with joy and thankfulness? Because He is our God! He is the Rock of our salvation. That means, apart from Him, we will have no salvation! We worship Him because of what He has done for us! For the people of God from old, they worship God because of His act of deliverance for His people; likewise, we worship God because of His act of deliverance for us, His people – the church, from our sins! We are to be joyful and thankful, because it is the right response. You wouldn’t be expressionless when a great king saved you. What more when it is Christ our Saviour?
The other reason is because of His great work as the Creator who sustains the world. Verses 4-5 described God’s power in sustaining this world that we live in. These seemingly large things are nothing to Him. The world is in His hands, as verse 4 describes. He is the one who made the vast ocean and all the land which this planet contains! To date, we have barely explored more than a quarter of our oceans! And this vast ocean is created by the God we worship! This calls us to be in awe, as we worship Him as our Creator who created and sustains us!
The last part of this psalm calls us to NOT harden our hearts as we hear His voice, just as the Israelites did when they were in the wilderness. This tells us how we should live our lives. What does it mean to harden our hearts? It is willful unresponsiveness towards all that God has revealed by purposefully being in unbelief. We are not to harden our hearts like the Israelites! By doing so, we are testing God, which will not yield pleasant results! In Hebrews 3:7-14, the author also calls us not to harden our hearts in the deceitfulness of sin and not to fall away from the living God by holding our original confidence firm to the end!
Where are you today in your life before God? Do you worship Him with joy and thanksgiving, consciously knowing in faith that He saved you from the depths of your sins? Or do you harden your heart in the deceitfulness of sin, by actively and willingly doing what you know you shouldn’t be doing? As this psalm reminds us, those who hardened their hearts against God did not enter their rest in the promised land. Likewise, if we are to actively harden our hearts, instead of holding fast to our confidence in Christ, we will never enter our rest in Christ. And as we hold fast to this confidence in faith, may we worship God with thankfulness and joy for all that He has done. May the Spirit of God work in us as we examine ourselves and pray in response to this passage.