Advance Praise; August 11, 2019

Psalm 59:16-17 But I will sing of your strength,
in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress,
my refuge in times of trouble.
O my Strength, I sing praise to you;
you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God.

The first part of this Psalm reminds me of a novel I read about a mercenary assassin. David seemed to have several of them after him, and they weren’t just in it for the money. It’s interesting that from verse 11 he asks God not to kill them, but rather use them to teach others not to follow their example. In contrast to the fate he wishes on those who seek to kill him, David speaks here of the assurance he has because of his faith in God. There’s no question that he was a musician, singing praise to God. He not only looks forward to singing after God has rescued him, he sings in anticipation as well. I think just about everyone finds it easy to praise God once a crisis is over, but not so many praise Him in anticipation of what He is going to do. That’s where real faith comes in. I once read the testimony of someone who was smuggling Bibles into the Soviet Union. They entered a room at the border with a row of tables across the middle, with customs agents ready to inspect everyone’s bags. He was very nervous about what might happen to him because of his suitcase full of Bibles, but the customs agent opened the suitcase, acted like he didn’t even see the Bibles, closed it, and said the person was free to enter the country. Picking up his suitcase he was rejoicing, but then he heard the Lord say to him, “You are rejoicing on the wrong side of the table.” In other words, God wanted him to trust Him enough to rejoice before he saw what God was going to do. That’s what David is doing here, and we would do well to follow his example.

Well this certainly applies to me! I remember how struck I was when I read the testimony I just mentioned, and I have sought to be that way myself. I haven’t always succeeded! However, I have experienced God’s faithfulness and power so many times that it is definitely easier to praise Him in dark moments than it once was. I just read of an elderly couple in the US who died by murder-suicide because they didn’t have money for medical issues they both had. That’s not how I am to be! Frankly, my wife’s current medical issues are serious, and I’ve already outlived my father by almost seven years, but I know God’s plans for us are magnificent, whatever we go through on the way there. I am to rest, relax, and rejoice in Him, praising Him even when – and especially when – I don’t see His purpose in my immediate situation.

Father, thank You for Your overflowing grace toward me. Help me walk in full assurance of Your grace and love, leading others as well to lift their eyes off of themselves and their immediate circumstances and praise You in faith and trust, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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