Wednesday of Pentecost 7 – Psalm 138

I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
    before the gods I sing your praise;
I bow down toward your holy temple
    and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness,
    for you have exalted above all things
    your name and your word.
On the day I called, you answered me;
    my strength of soul you increased.

All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O Lord,
    for they have heard the words of your mouth,
and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
    for great is the glory of the Lord.
For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly,
    but the haughty he knows from afar.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
    you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
    and your right hand delivers me.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
    your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
    Do not forsake the work of your hands.

When I was a professor, one of my favorite events of the year was our awards ceremony. Prior to the big day, we would, as a faculty, take note of the student body from the past year and single out students who had been exemplary in some way. At the event, a faculty member would stand before the assembled parents and students and speak of what we had seen. We would sing their praises.

The psalmist in this psalm is singing the praises of God. I think we have a different definition of that word today. We often think we praise someone when we speak to that person some words of encouragement and praise. But in fact, praise is more accurately spoken to someone other than the person we are talking about. We praised the students when we told their parents and peers what good things they had done and we had seen. When we praise God, we are not speaking to Him, but we are speaking about Him and His glorious, gracious deeds to other people. When we tell Him what a great God He is, we are technically adoring Him. That is another good thing to do.

The psalmist points to a time when he walked through days of trouble and God delivered him. He spoke of God’s regard for the humble and lowly person, namely the psalmist himself. What has God done for you? Have you told anyone about it? Do not tell some Bible story or someone else’s story. Tell your own story. Reflect on your life as the psalmist did. See those moments when God has been there for you. Praise Him to the people in your life.

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