Admittedly, there are days when praising God is harder than others. It’s harder to praise God when my wife and four kids are sick. It’s harder to praise God when an unexpected bill arises but the income doesn’t change. It’s harder to praise God when I feel like I have failed. It’s harder to praise God when we lose loved ones. The truth is, there are a lot of times when it is hard to praise God.
I used to think that all of the Psalms were Pollyanna type messages of how perfect life was for the believer and how easy it must be to praise the Lord. Then I read them. I realized that many, if not most of the Psalms are written in desperation, or written as complaints to God about the problems of life. In one Psalm, David writes:
Why, O LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? (Psalm 10:1).
I can’t tell you how many times I have sung a similar song to God. “Where are You?!” I’m certain that I’m not the only one. However, there is something to be found in the entirety of the book of Psalms.
The first Psalm is a Psalm about how we are expected to live. It basically states that those who obey God will be blessed and those who don’t will face suffering:
For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. (Psalm 1:6 NIV).
Here we find the basic message in the Bible, that is, to live righteous lives in obedience to God. Every Christian knows that this is what we are commanded to do, to obey God and live lives free from sin. That is not easier said than done. We are not perfect, so we often find ourselves failing. On top of that, becoming a Christian is not a “get out of trouble” card. Troubles still come into our lives. Every Christian will still face the struggles that are common to mankind.
Then there are 149 more Psalms to follow. Most of them are in response to these struggles that we face in life. They include all kinds of betrayal, enemy attacks, self-doubt, failure, and fear. They include the real things that all people, including Christians, face. But there is something else to be considered. The last section of the book of Psalms contains Psalms of praise.
The message is simple: At the end of the day, we can praise God because we know the truth: that He works for our good. We can praise God because, in spite of our failures, He is victorious and shares that with us. We can praise God because, even though we sin, He forgives and transforms us into more loving people. We can praise God because, even though it seems overwhelming, He empowers us to make a Christ-like impact in this world. We can praise God because, no matter how far we stray, He continues to pursue us in love.
There will be a day when God will wipe away every tear from those who have not rejected His grace. On that day we will certainly praise the Lord. But today, even today, the believer should praise God in every moment of their life because He is God!
The final verse in the book of Psalms makes the perfect confession:
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD. (Psalm 150:6 NIV).
Praise Him because you can!
Please come join us as we fix our eyes on Jesus. We meet Sundays at 9 a.m. for Sunday school and 10 a.m. for worship. Everyone is welcome!