Praise Him When There is Nothing Else You Can Do

November 11, 2013 at 1:15 PM

I am continually amazed at how many in the Hebrew Bible (OT for us Gentiles) found a way to praise God even when they faced death! God was obviously with them and because of their faith in Him, He provided a deep sense of peace even though He did not always save them from the circumstances they faced.

We can think of the three young men – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – who not only faced the fiery furnace under Nebuchadnezzar’s rule, but were actually thrown into the furnace after they refused to bow to the king. We’ve discussed that here before. They were willing to go to painful deaths rather than compromise their beliefs which, in that instance, would have meant rejecting God.

They were tossed into the furnace and praised God in the midst of it! They had no idea whether they would be saved from it or die because of it, but they praised God anyway, handing themselves over to Him for His good pleasure.

We know of course, also of Daniel and him being thrown in the den of lions under Darius. We know that God shut the lions’ mouths and protected Daniel even as he sat in the midst of these carnivorous killers.

In other situations, people were not saved from death. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs is filled with one example after another of individuals who were burned at the stake, torn into four parts, crucified, and treated to many other terrible indecencies and death all because they believed that God’s truth is the only truth. Rather than side with others against God, they willingly chose death if that’s what God wanted.

Do we too often use God as a genie? Do we too often only go to Him when we want something? Do we demand our way, believing that because we believe we are authentic Christians, God somehow “owes” us? I think it happens too often and I certainly have been guilty of it as well.

But if the truth of the matter is that I have literally been bought and paid for with a price – that price being Christ’s blood – then I am no longer my own, am I? If He bought me, then He is literally my “owner” and because of that, I am literally His slave, living to do His bidding.

With this election campaign I just want through, I recall asking God for His direction, expecting one thing, while He ultimately provided another. As I mentioned previously, I failed to simply praise God for His outcome before I knew what it was to be. I began to believe my own thoughts.

I did this very same thing in the last presidential election, believing that Romney was going to win. Why? Well, because I and millions of other Christians had prayed for it, that’s why? Naive, isn’t it?

The Hebrew Bible is filled with Psalms and other sections of Scripture that clearly teach that His purposes will be accomplished in all things, not mine. My job is to align myself with Him and His purposes, not for Him to align Himself with my purposes. After all, I cannot see all things, can I? I can direct little to nothing in my life. I cannot make a decision based on infinite intelligence and wisdom. Only God can do that. So I am left with depending upon Him to guide me even when I cannot see where He is guiding me.

Was I supposed to win this last city council election? Absolutely not. Was Romney? Nope. God sets up rulers, removes them, or replaces them. It’s that simple. What should my response have been all the way through my campaign? Praise after praise after praise. I know it doesn’t seem to make sense at times. We are supposed to praise God even when things look terrible. Praising God is the finest act of trust we can display to Him. Even though things may look terrible to us, God still has things under control. He did not give up His throne. He is not now or ever was or will be subject to any human ruler. God is God, period. He uses us to bring His purposes to fruition.

How many might think winning the lottery is a good thing? Most of us would say that it would be great! Imagine what we can do with all that money, we would say. Right, but unfortunately, most examples of people who have gained millions through the lottery end in some type of tragedy and usually a full loss of all the money they won.

In Acts 16, we read of both Paul and Silas being imprisoned for their faith. “The crowd rose up together against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods. When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely; and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks,” (Acts 16:22-24).

I hope you read that carefully. Here is what happened:

  • Paul and Silas were stripped
  • They were beaten with rods
  • They were beaten with “many” blows
  • Paul and Silas were thrown into prison
  • The jailer put them in the inner chamber and put them in stocks
That does not look fun, yet Paul and Silas praised God!

That does not look fun, yet Paul and Silas praised God!

I’m sure you know what stocks are, but if not, I’ve included an illustration to help job your memory. Imagine being lock up in that contraption! Have to go to the bathroom? Too bad. Go where you sit. Need a drink of water? Too bad. You’ll get it if or when the jailer decides to get you one. Muscles aching and going into spasms? Too bad. That’s life in jail.

Most of us would give into our emotions and start complaining. I’m sure I would. Instead, Paul and Silas began singing hymns and praising God at the top of their lungs! Because of that, “suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison-house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened,” (Acts 16:26).

God spoke and delivered. But for what purpose? To bring another soul to Him! The jailer was saved! (cf. Acts 16:27-34) That was God’s purpose.

We can go through life miserable, expecting other people to help us when we are down and believing Old Slewfoot’s lies. We can also choose to begin praising God in spite of the way we feel about life and ourselves. I’m sure neither Paul or Silas felt great. They were probably in pain. Instead of throwing a pity party, they threw a praise party and directed their praise to God!

Personally, I don’t think we can praise Him enough. I believe praise does wonders for our asinine attitudes. I also believe Satan hates it when we praise God for what comes our way and I also don’t believe he’ll hang around too long when we begin praising God in earnest.

The reason we don’t praise Him enough is because we are too focused on ourselves. It’s really that simple. There is nothing that comes into my life that is not there because of God’s design. He knows what is best for me. He has it all worked out. He is in control. There is nothing in this life for which I cannot praise Him.

Praise Him when you don’t feel like it. Praise Him for everything you can think of that comes your way. If you can’t think of anything, at least praise Him for His salvation that you have because of Him. Praise Him and don’t stop.

Entry filed under: salvation.

Life for the Christian is Not Easy and Praise is Quite Possibly the Best Weapon We Have Can God Still Use A Weakened Vessel In These Last Days?

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