Perhaps you learned that God healed a family member, or maybe a relationship that was on the rocks last Monday is now restored. It could be that you exchanged a vehicle that was hobbling along for a nice new ride... and then got to work to find that your boss gave you a raise that will help you pay for it. Who doesn't want to go to church and testify to His goodness?
But there will be many who enter the worship gathering today with some fear and maybe even bitterness. Things didn't go so well. Perhaps that is you. I want to encourage you today. You can praise God and not fake it. It will require focus and humility. But read this Psalm, and you may find the path to the throne...
Lord, I seek refuge in You; let me never be disgraced.
In Your justice, rescue and deliver me; listen closely to me and save me.
Be a rock of refuge for me, where I can always go.
Give the command to save me, for You are my rock and fortress.
Deliver me, my God, from the power of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and oppressive.
For You are my hope, Lord God, my confidence from my youth.
I have leaned on You from birth; You took me from my mother’s womb.
My praise is always about You.
I have become an ominous sign to many, but You are my strong refuge.
My mouth is full of praise and honor to You all day long.
Don’t discard me in my old age; as my strength fails, do not abandon me.
For my enemies talk about me, and those who spy on me plot together, saying, “God has abandoned him; chase him and catch him, for there is no one to rescue him.”
God, do not be far from me; my God, hurry to help me.
May my adversaries be disgraced and destroyed; may those who seek my harm be covered with disgrace and humiliation.
But I will hope continually and will praise You more and more.
My mouth will tell about Your righteousness and Your salvation all day long, though I cannot sum them up.
I come because of the mighty acts of the Lord God; I will proclaim Your righteousness, Yours alone.
God, You have taught me from my youth, and I still proclaim Your wonderful works.
Even when I am old and gray, God, do not abandon me.
Then I will proclaim Your power to another generation, Your strength to all who are to come.
Your righteousness reaches heaven, God, You who have done great things; God, who is like You?
You caused me to experience many troubles and misfortunes, but You will revive me again.
You will bring me up again, even from the depths of the earth.
You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.
Therefore, I will praise You with a harp for Your faithfulness, my God; I will sing to You with a lyre, Holy One of Israel.
My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to You because You have redeemed me.
Therefore, my tongue will proclaim Your righteousness all day long, for those who seek my harm will be disgraced and confounded.
Notice the writer does not deny or diminish his trouble. While he recognizes his problems, it does not define him... even if others do define him by them. And throughout the statement, his praise for God comes through clear and strong. While his circumstances tell one story about him, he does not complain. Rather, his confidence in his Creator determines his course and communication.
Like his life, his proclamation is a roller coaster. Just about the time you think he is done, he comes right back up into a level of worship that crushes the impact of the evil in his life. You and I can be the same way. It has become popular to be defined by our broken state. We tend to give more credit to the enemy and evil than they deserve in our lives. Today as you enter into worship, do not focus on the problems of this life, but on the promises of eternal life.
Begin with the name of God... just as you see in this Psalm. Just say "Jesus" several times. Take a deep breath and say His name. Say the blessed name that unlocks the treasures of Heaven until you feel the tears welling up. Then the praise will flow freely... chasing the problems that are real, but are no match for the God who will see you through.
[Bible quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, unless otherwise noted.]
Find more of David’s work at Heart Of Ministry.