Psalm 63:3-4 Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
When we sing this verse we forget that when David wrote it he had multiple real threats on his life. In the first place, Saul and his army were actively out to kill David! In hiding from them, David was in a place where death from dehydration was a very real possibility, and possibly even death from hunger. And that doesn’t mention the snakes and other potentially deadly animals in the area. This Psalm wasn’t just pretty words when David composed it! We tend to romanticize the Bible when we read it, forgetting that it’s about real people facing real situations, and they couldn’t see the outcome of their situation the way we can, since we have the whole book. David’s faith was practical, grown in the struggles he had as a young shepherd boy battling wild animals to protect his sheep. That faith was being tested and grown in this period when he was being chased around by Saul. He didn’t know how long he would live, but he made the conscious choice to praise God for however long that was. We may not have as many active threats to our life as David did, but we can make the same choice he did, and we are much better off if we do.
I don’t have any active threats to my life that I’m aware of, but I’ve already lived almost seven years longer than my father did, and I have no guarantee of tomorrow. However, like my father, I have a guarantee of eternity! David’s understanding of life after death was sketchy at best, but I have the whole Bible in my heart and mind, not to mention the fact that my wife has been to heaven and come back to report on it! Like David, I have discovered the joy of praising my God, who is more than worthy of all praise and worship. I have learned that praising God is actually very effective spiritual warfare, because it acknowledges Him as the only one with ultimate power. When we praise God, we remind the devil that he is a defeated foe, and he hates that! It is precisely when my flesh feels least like praising God that I have the most need to do so. Asaph nailed it: “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.” (Psalm 73:26)
Father, thank You for this reminder. All sorts of things are going on around me, but none of them are of any importance compared to You. Help me remember that in practical terms, giving You the sacrifice of praise and obedience, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!