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Think about the amount of trust that is required to drive a car on the highway. We are enclosed inside a few tons of steel and traveling at a high rate of speed, counting on the faithfulness of other drivers to stay in their lane of traffic.
The words “defensive driving” were coined to remind us that not every driver is trustworthy.
All relationships are dependent on faithfulness and faith. It is nearly impossible to trust an unfaithful person. Whether people say what they mean or mean what they say is a serious problem in our current culture.
The people of God did not have to wonder if their God was trustworthy or faithful. In fact, they were able to praise him for his enduring faithfulness.
There were three areas of God’s activity that brought about trust and praise from his people.
(1) They had a sense of security when they considered God’s mighty acts of creation.
(2) The way God acted throughout their history enabled them to trust their future to his care.
(3) The manner in which God was dramatically different from the idols of the surrounding nations demonstrated that he was worthy of their trust.
Praise God’s Attributes
God is not an ego-maniac that needs constant reassurance by fawning crowds. However, God does desire praise. He does so, because he knows how the people whom he loves are benefited when they give him praise.
The regular, consistent practice of giving God praise takes our attention off of ourselves and puts it on God. When we focus on ourselves, we know how truly feeble are our abilities.
When we turn attention to God, we know that he has a completely trustworthy character and an all-powerful essential nature. Thus, we give him praise.
Praise the Lord!
Praise the name of the Lord;
give praise, O servants of the Lord,
you that stand in the house of the Lord,
in the courts of the house of our God.
Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good;
sing to his name, for he is gracious. (Psalm 135.1-3)
With the writer of this Psalm, we praise God’s name and make his reputation great.
The expression, “Oh my God!” can be a way of taking God’s name in vain. If we exclaim, “Oh my God!” over a new pair of shoes, we bring God’s great character down to nothing higher than the value of a nice pair of shoes.
The truth is that God’s character is abundantly more magnificent than shoes or any of the other mundane issue that may cause us to say, “Oh my God.”
What if we are in awe of some aspect of God’s character of love, joy, grace, goodness or mercy and we humbly pray, “Oh my God!”? In that moment we have captured what is meant by the praise of God’s name.
Reverence for God deepens our personal relationship with him and leads us to deeper faith. The Psalm writer knew the awesome grace of being God’s very own people.
For the Lord has chosen Jacob for himself,
Israel as his own possession. (Psalm 135.4)
Our personal relationship with God is the very foundation of our ability to trust him to expertly guide our lives.
God’s Order of Creation
On Monday night, many people posted pictures on social media of the Christmas Star which shone for the first time in 800 years. Jupiter and Saturn aligned in such a manner that they appeared to be just one bright light in the sky.
The writer of the Psalm, who didn’t have street light to obscure a view of the planets and stars, knew the immense creative power of God as he looked into the night sky.
For I know that the Lord is great;
our Lord is above all gods.
Whatever the Lord pleases he does,
in heaven and on earth,
in the seas and all deeps. (Psalm 125.5-6)
All of creation displays God’s power in such a way that it is overwhelming. From planets to plants, all that God has done is reflective of his trustworthy nature.
In 1971 I traveled down Highway 90 along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Hurricane Camille had devastated the area in 1969. Ocean going vessels were beached on the sand along the roadway. Even the concrete of the highway was buckled from the force of the waves.
Yet, all along the road there were old, gnarled trees that were still standing. Waves that literally wiped away motels like someone sweeping a table clean, were not able to harm the trees.
Whether we look at aligned planets that form a Christmas star or an ancient tree, we can recall that God is in control. This leads to greater trust in our loving Father in heaven.
God’s Activity in History
The people of God knew their history. They knew that God had done the impossible. He freed them from 400 years of slavery in Egypt without a single Israelite being harmed (Psalm 135.8-9).
God allowed them to possess the land of promise by giving them power to conquer nations that were more mighty than they (Psalm 135.10-12).
Their prophets reminded them that it was not by might nor by strength that they accomplished powerful deeds. The prophet declared, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4.6)
Whether we look to the history of how God has dealt with us personally or of God’s activity in our nation, we know that our best choice is to trust our faithful God.
The first two of the Ten Commandments prohibited the worship of any God but the One True God and the building of an idol (Exodus 20.3-6).
When the people of God sang this Psalm, they make known their conviction about idols. No idol has the power to create the starlit sky. No idol could have set God’s people free from slavery.
The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but they do not speak;
they have eyes, but they do not see;
they have ears, but they do not hear,
and there is no breath in their mouths.
Those who make them
and all who trust them
shall become like them. (Psalm 135.15-18)
Power, sex, money, addiction, and success are some of the many idols that are served daily throughout the earth.
One characteristic of idol worship is the belief that we cannot live without what the idol provides for us.
Another aspect of idol worship is the fact that the idol is a very poor substitute for the True God.
People who trust in idols, become like them. They become blind to what is really real and deaf to God’s direction.
As we read and pray this Psalm, we are reminded that nothing can be a good substitute for an active trust in God. Only God is the Creator and the One who sets us free to live a life of well-being.
Praise the Lord
The Psalm ends by calling on the people and priests of God to give him praise (Psalm 135.19-21).
As we approach the Christmas season, let’s all take time to recall God’s goodness to us and give him praise.
May We Pray for You
If you have a prayer request, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The prayer team at Maywood Baptist Church and I will pray for you.