The Following thought for the day was written by Brother Richard Morgan and provides insight and encouragement for those seeking to serve the God of Israel.
Is God great in my life?
It’s easy to read something like Psalm 145, a majestic psalm where each line flows in a series of beautiful thoughts. The first three verses have been memorialized in one of our hymns:
I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever.
2 Every day I will bless you
and praise your name forever and ever.
3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable.
I’ve known those words off by heart since singing them often at meeting growing up in Wales.
However, it’s one thing to know a section of Scripture off by heart and to like the words; it’s another thing entirely for them to have any real meaning in my life.
Take the above verses as an example. I can sing that God is my King with gusto, but is he, my king? Really? Does he rule over my life? And do I even know what it means to “bless your name” and “praise your name,” expressions that come easily off the tongue but are meaningless without understanding what we’re saying and putting them into practice? Should I sing “I praise your name every day” if I’m not physically doing that: praising God’s name every day.
So, here’s a challenge for all of us. Look through the psalm and figure out ways in which we can live out the psalm, rather than just reading it and thinking how nice it is. For instance, how often, in conversing with others after meeting or Bible class, or in your homes with family or friends, do you declare God’s mighty acts (verse 4)? Do you speak of the glory of God’s kingdom (verse 11) to one another? Or is this psalm just something you read once a year in March and occasionally sing in one of our hymns, and promptly forget about it half an hour later after meeting while talking about your latest hobby or activity. .
The sentiments of Psalm 145 should be our bread and butter, what we’re thinking about, talking to one another about, excited about, motivated by. All the other stuff that comes up in conversation is for the here and now and can be quite interesting, but Psalm 145 talks about eternal things. And here we are right on the edge of the Kingdom. On the cusp of eternity.
Why don’t we talk more about this kind of thing to each other? Do we meditate on God’s name and all that it means and remind each other about it and how God has worked in our lives? Do we tell each other what we’re most looking forward to doing in the Kingdom and what we’re doing about it now to prepare? Or are we so consumed about the here and now that we reserve these things for a 5-minute reading or 2-minute hymn.
Think about what it says in verse 3 – “Great is the Lord.” It goes without saying that the Master of the Universe is great – but is he great for me? Am I so aware of his greatness that his awe drives me to talk about the things of God to my brothers and sisters and family?
It’s helpful to cross-reference this thought with the prophecy of Malachi. The people in his day were going through the motions. Yes, they were going to meetings, singing hymns, reading the Bible, doing everything decently and in order. But they actually despised God’s name (Mal. 1:6) rather than praise it. They were so half-hearted in their attitude, not really caring about how great God is and preferring to think about how annoying it was that meeting was going on so long because they had things to do that afternoon that required their attention. God challenges them in the book and says, “Great is the Lord beyond the border of Israel!” (Mal. 1:5), and “For my name will be great among the nations” (v11) and “For I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations.” (v14). In other words, God tells the Israelites, if you can’t be bothered to raise Psalm 145 above mere sentimentality, I will find other people who do respect my greatness.
Read Psalm 145. Slowly. Take in each phrase and ask yourself, “Is this me? Do I just say these things, or am I really the kind of person who extols God, is in awe of his greatness and has him as my true king?”