June 19, 2018

Psalm 115:16–18 (NLT) — 16 The heavens belong to the Lord, but he has given the earth to all humanity. 17 The dead cannot sing praises to the Lord, for they have gone into the silence of the grave. 18 But we can praise the Lord both now and forever! Praise the Lord!

According to these verses unless we are dead we should always be praising the Lord. God is giving us this life on earth to practice our praise because when this life is over and our new life in heaven begins our voices will still be used for praising the Lord! Life on earth is just a dress rehearsal for eternity.

Verse 16 gives us the reason to always praise the Lord. God owns it all and in his grace he has given us the earth to live in. All that we have and all that we are come from the gracious hand of God. We have done nothing and never will be able to do anything to merit God’s grace. Any abilities that we have come from God and are to be used for his honor and glory. If we have brilliant inventive minds they have been given to us by God and are to be used for his honor and glory.

We should also praise God for the things that we don’t have. God in his sovereignty knows what we can handle and what we can’t handle. We need to take this lesson from Agur:

Proverbs 30:7–9 (NLT) — 7 O God, I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die. 8 First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. 9 For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.

Agur’s concern in life was that he would always honor the Lord. When we are concerned only about God and are content with the life he has provided for us praise will naturally flow from our lips. Contentment with God is truly the key to maintaining a heart of praise. To maintain contentment we must not compare our lives with others. It is when we compare that we lose our praise. If I see that I have it better than others I can become puffed up with praise stifling pride. Or if I see that others have it better than I do jealousy and  complaining may take the place of praise.

One other thing to consider: Because God owns it all and every thing that we have comes from his hand He has the right to take anything from us that he wants. In order to keep the praise flowing we must all understand this. Job understood this when God took his livelihood and his family.

Job 1:20–22 (NLT) — 20 Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. 21 He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” 22 In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God.

We are given this glimpse into Job’s life before his story continues. We certainly see that Job had questions and he had a lot of pain but I believe that the Lord wanted us to see the Job maintained his heart of praise.

We today have what Job didn’t have, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. My prayer is this: Holy Spirit help us to maintain grateful hearts and voices of praise as we live the life that Father God has so graciously provided for us. Amen

Psalm 115:3 (NLT) — 3 Our God is in the heavens, and he does as he wishes.

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