Tag Archives: Attention

Singing with the King (88) – Context 1.1

Cease Striving and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)

Riot and FireLast time, we discovered that the context of this verse places you squarely  in the middle of a war. Maybe it’s for soldiers who are literally in the midst of a battle; or maybe it IS the end of the world as we know it; or it could be the spiritual battles that you’re in the midst of, which are seeking to overwhelm your soul and your heart. But Cease Striving does not merely call you to stop in the middle of a busy day; it calls you to stop whatever you’re doing, even in the midst of warfare.

So what is God doing around this verse, which should cause us to Cease Striving?

The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered; He raised His voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. Come, behold the works of the Lord, Who has wrought desolations in the earth. He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariots with fire. (vs. 6-9)

The first thing that our great God does in an apocalyptic, world-ending, cataclysmic kind of way is that he raised his voice and the earth melted. Earth is a very common word in the Hebrew, occurring well over 2000 times. Most of the time it is translated as land, and the next most translation is earth. It could mean countries, it could mean countryside, and even the ground we walk on. But it can also be translated as world. Now melted only occurs 17 times in the OT and it literally means to melt, and dissolve. It also means to faint, and be fainthearted. So rather than literally melting, it could mean that the hearts of those who are in this event melted. Now whether it was (or is) a local, or global, or personal event, God thundered, and everything came to a screeching halt.

valley of bonesThe next thing that God brought was desolations in the earth. Now this word can also be translated as destruction, horror, and waste. Pretty intense. And why does he do this? To end the wars.

Now I gotta admit, that seems a bit over the top; more like overkill. Why not just cause things to stop, to cease? Why bring about desolation and destruction? Well, you know the answer. Just putting the brakes on would be enough to get our attention, but it wouldn’t be enough to get us to change. Just getting us to stop would not bring about repentance in our lives. But losing everything? Yeah, that could.

Next time… So why does God go to such extremes?

Singing with the King (48) – Lifted Up

And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, and I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD. (Psalm 27:6)

Alone on mountain7We now see the result of being lifted up—in plain sight—on a rock. It’s not a matter of sight; rather it is a matter of power. He has been exalted, set on high, over his enemies. Yes they do indeed surround David, but it is of no consequence, because He is the one with power and authority, not they. And David knows full well where that power and authority come from.

So here’s David, being set upon a rock by the Most High, given power and authority over his enemies. And what does he do? Worship. This is huge.

There were at least two distractions here, but David fixes his eyes upon the LORD.

He could have been caught up in his position.

He could have been caught up in being surrounded.

But his enemies we not an issue, not a concern. Rather he worshiped the LORD.

So he turned his back upon the circumstances and turned his attention upon the LORD.

There were three things David did in worship:

Offer sacrifices.

This is the literal act of offering sacrifices. I suppose these sacrifices could have been either the Burnt Offering or the Peace Offering. The former for commemoration or celebration; the latter as a means of thanksgiving.

Shouts of joy.

These shouts could actually be a cry for help, or a battle cry, a trumpet blast. And it is quite likely the surrounding enemies could have confused these cries. But only at the outset, not at the outcome. David wasn’t signaling his troops, he was offering sacrifices. He wasn’t pointing his troops for attack, he was looking unto his God. There were no war cries, and if they listened carefully, even his enemies would have heard the joy.

Sing praises.

This could be translated as to make music. Did David pull out his harp? Did he compose a new song on the spot? Maybe this Psalm? Did some of his warriors join in a male chorus? Or was he alone, singing a solo song of worship to the LORD? I suspect it was simpler rather than more elaborate. Just the king worshiping the King of kings.

Imagine the impact this should have had on his observers.

They had lost their advantage, had lost their power.

They see they are of no concern for David.

They see worship of the One True God.

They see the relationship that David had with the LORD.

They see the power of God.

What do you think their response might be? How many would understand, and how many would walk away in frustration?

Now, here’s the application for you and me. When you’re in the midst of a crisis, what do you do? Are you distracted by the disaster? Are you preoccupied by the predicament? Are you overwhelmed by the by the onslaught? Do not be. Intentionally choose to worship. Follow David’s example: turn away from the tribulation, and turn to worship. The following verse reveals that we too have been given the ability to turn away and also shows to Whom we should turn:

But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior”. (Isaiah 43:1-3a)

Singing with the King (21) – Every Day

Every day I will bless You and l will praise your name for ever and ever. (Psalm 145:2)

Shout to the Lord5In our contemporary, over-booked, over-stressed culture, how often do you praise the Lord? Once a week? But then perhaps Sunday is more about the performance, or the preaching. So how much time do you really spend praising the Lord? David realized praising God once a week at tabernacle worship just wasn’t enough. It become a daily event. And as such, David became quite creative on how to praise the Lord.

The first thing He does is I will extol (rûm) …to raise up, to be high and lofty, to lift up

I will bless (barak)… to kneel, be blessed, be adored

I will praise (halal)… to boast, to glory, to shine, to flash

I will meditate (siyach)… to muse, study, ponder, to talk, sing, speak

I will tell (saphar)… to take account, to number, to declare, to reckon (verb); a scribe (noun)

My mouth will speak (dabar)… to promise, commune, command, declare

Of course praising God this much will probably get people’s attention. And you not only have their attention, you have their involvement in praise. It’s contagious.

Many Hands in Worship

One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.

Men shall speak of the power of Your awesome acts.

They shall eagerly utter the memory of Your abundant goodness and will shout joyfully of Your righteousness.

Your godly ones shall bless You.

They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom and talk of Your power; to make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts and the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom.

All flesh will bless His holy name forever and ever.

So why should we praise Him every day?

The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food in due time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. The LORD is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds. The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them. (v. 15-19)

What do you think would happen if you praised Him every day?