Bob and Weave

Musings of an impostor. Welcome to the masquerade.

103rd Psalm Part IIb: Re-Praise

Posted by flyingbk on 10/17/2016

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This is part IIb of a series on Psalm 103. Part I here and Part IIa here.

Let’s look at Psalm 103:1-2 once again:

1 Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—

Back in early 2014, I read a devotional by John Piper, and he asked a question that blew my mind for two reasons: 1) The question makes my head hurt, and 2) It’s quite thought-provoking. Here it is:

“Do you feel most loved by God because He makes much of you or because He frees you to enjoy making much of Him forever?”

Uh… what? Let’s break it down.

There is great power in reciting all that God has done for us. In verse 2, King David implores his own soul to forget not all of God’s benefits. Whenever I feel down, I make it a point (usually on a prayer walk) to call to mind all the ways that God has blessed me- past, present, and future. Before I know it, my soul has shifted from despondency to gratitude. I feel much lighter than when I first started. No wonder the great Albert Schweitzer once wrote:

quote-the-greatest-thing-is-to-give-thanks-for-everything-he-who-has-learned-this-knows-what-albert-schweitzer-57-87-80

That’s been one of my money quotes since I came across it in college. I like to joke that my spiritual gift is receiving. You know how many people react with hesitation and even uneasiness when someone does something nice for them (i.e. offering to pay for a meal, giving a gift, helping out with a task)? Yeah, that’s not me. I’d like to think that it’s not because I’m selfish; it’s because I believe we actually eclipse a sliver of the giver’s joy whenever we put up a fight or feel bad. I know that I when to offer to help someone, my joy is complete when the receiver is thankful and receives with gladness.

OK, back to the Piper question. The first part is very much true, and it is awesome. God loves to make much of his children. In my small group study last week and in the sermon yesterday, the focus was on how God blessed Abraham in Genesis 12. God’s blessings were unsolicited, undeserved, and unreserved. And how God appeared to Abraham and made a lopsided covenant with him (read: God does all the work, and Abraham just has to believe and receive) is a paradigm for His people today. He loves to shower blessings on us over and over, everyday and in every way. 

So again, whenever we receive any kind of blessing from God (spiritual, material, relational, a gorgeous fall day, a delicious meal, a fantasy football victory), the proper response is to give thanks. But often times, the buck stops right there.

fall-foliage-moving-boxes-new-york

The second part of Piper’s question is the all-important next step. When we give thanks and receive the blessing, we are then to take the time and turn our hearts to God. After gratitude comes worship, and with worship comes surrender.

But when we stop at just gratitude, we can fall into a trap. Piper continues as he breaks down the second part of his question:

Why is it important to be stunned by the God-centeredness of God? Because many people are willing to be God-centered as long as they feel that God is man-centered.

Gulp. Yeah, that’s me. Often. It goes like this: I know God is God, I know that God is my creator and redeemer, I know what God has done for me. BUT…in the end, I’m still more concerned with my happiness than I am with God’s glory. In fact, when my prayer walks only result in me feeling better about myself, I’ve shortchanged God and I’ve missed out on a prime praise opportunity. Those times actually become shrouded in self-idolatry, and they serve more as therapy than a true encounter with the living God.

So let us praise. With our soul, with our throat. Let us give thanks for every small and big thing that comes our way, and let us not forget one benefit. Let us be masters at looking back with gratitude, re-mixing the records in our minds with Hallelujahs.

But let us not stop there. Let us take the next step, and bow down in worship and adoration. Let us re-orient our hearts toward God, and seek to give Him glory in that all we think, say, and do.

Let us use our freedom to enjoy making much of God, forever.

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3 Responses to “103rd Psalm Part IIb: Re-Praise”

  1. […] « 103rd Psalm Part IIb: Re-Praise […]

  2. […] are at part 4 of my series on the 103rd Psalm (Past entries: Part 1, Part 2a, Part 2b, Part 3). As I covered last time, we all have a dark side. And sadly, we each know all too well […]

  3. […] continue our look at Psalm 103 (Past entries: Part 1, Part 2a, Part 2b, Part 3, Part 4). We’ve been looking at this psalm as a progression that gets better and […]

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