Unexpected Praise

Well, this isn’t what I expected! David says his song in Psalm 9 is supposed to be sung to the tune of “Death Of The Son,” so I’m expecting a prayer that is loaded with minor notes. But instead, David gives us … this! 

The opening verses show us David exploding in praise to God. Check out his vocabulary—

  • I will praise You—this literally means David is pumping his hands in the air
  • I will tell of all Your wonders—David is not doing this just one time but is ticking off a long list of God’s praiseworthy deeds and attributes
  • I will be glad—his face lights up with joy 
  • I will rejoice—this word means a roar of praise (see 1 Chronicles 16:32)
  • I will sing praise—there is a new melody with every praise David lifts to God

Why this loud, exuberant, unexpected praise? Because David has noticed that whatever has “died” on earth is only a temporary loss, but God is forever! 

There is an unusual word pairing at the end of verse 16: Haggaion and Selah. This is the only time these two words appear like this in all of Scripture, and it’s also the only time Haggaion is used without being translated. 

Haggaion appears just four times in the Bible—(a) in Psalm 19:14 where it is translated meditation; (b) in Psalm 92:3 where it is translated solemn sound; (c) in Lamentations 3:62 where it is translated whisper and mutter; and (d) here in Psalm 9 where it is untranslated. 

By combining Haggaion and Selah, David is wanting us to solemnly meditate on an important contrast: God’s way vs. man’s way. In verses 3-16, David uses huge and eternal terms for God like righteous Judge, reigns forever, refuge, stronghold, merciful, and prayer-answerer. 

Side-by-side with these eternal terms for God, David lists the temporary terms for man like stumble, perish, ruined, forgotten, and trapped. In fact, David ends this Psalm by reminding us evil men who do evil things are “mere men.” Other translations fill in the details: 

  • make them realize their frail nature (AMP)
  • show them how silly they look (MSG)
  • merely human (NLT) 
  • puny men (TLB)

Then David ends with a final Selah—one more call for us to allow this message to resonate with us, especially during the times others may call dark, depressing times. The message that should resonate in our hearts and cause us to throw our hands up in joyful celebration of God is…

these earthly things are temporary and God is eternal. He has never forsaken those who seek Him, and He has never forgotten those who call on Him for help. 

When a dark time—a “death of a son”—tries to rock your world, don’t do what puny mortals expect, but throw your hands up in the air, and sing and roar a praise to the Almighty God Who cares for you! 

Join me this coming Sunday as we continue our looks at the Selahs in the Book of Psalms. You can join me in person or on Facebook Live.

9 More Prayers From A.W. Tozer In “The Wisdom Of God”

In each chapter of The Wisdom Of God, A.W. Tozer prayers for us that we would see Wisdom as a Person to be known. Here are a few more of those prayers. 

“Let me not stay my heart till I have discovered Thee in all Thy fullness.” 

“Manifest Thy grace and wisdom in my life today as a witness to those around me.” 

“O Lord God, Thy wisdom has been poured into my heart, creating such a longing for Thee that nothing in this world can satisfy.” 

“Heavenly Father, open my eyes to recognize Thy hand in my life. … May I be aware of my surroundings in light of what Thou art doing.” 

“Let me penetrate the cloud of unknowing and see Thy face and allow it to transform every aspect of my being.” 

“I praise Thee for Thy faithfulness in pursuing me and going to the ultimate end to rescue me from myself.” 

“My heart, O God, needs Thy most sacred protection. Keep me from the infiltration of sin into my life so that I may glorify Thee in everything I do.” 

“I praise Thee, O God, for the restlessness of my spirit has driven me forward to discover my rest completely in Thee.” 

“Dear heavenly Father, may I sent before me only that which will glorify Thee in all the beauty of Thy purity and holiness. I pray Thy wisdom will guide me throughout my life in making the choices that will bless me and honor Thee.” 

You can check out some of the other prayers from The Wisdom Of God that I shared here. You can also read my review of this collection of sermons by clicking here.

Thursdays With Oswald—Jeremiah 10

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Jeremiah 10

[These are notes from Oswald Chambers’ lecture on Jeremiah 10.] 

     The ungodly disposition in a man makes him worship beings or things or ideas in order to render them powerless, and the same idea is apt to creep into the worship of God amongst Christians if not watched—“God will never let this or that come to me; I am a favorite of His.” Jesus Christ’s life is an illustration as to how God will deal with us, He will not shield us from the world, the flesh or the devil, they are allowed to do their worst because God has staked His all on what He has done in us (see John 16:33; 1 John 4:4). Trials and tribulations are trumpet calls to the witnesses to God. …  

     One moment’s realization that Almighty God is your Father through Jesus Christ, and I defy anything to terrify you again for long. If we realize, what these prophets realized, that nothing can happen without God’s permission, we are kept in peace. Worrying is wicked in a Christian. “Let not your heart be troubled.” How dare we be troubled if Almighty God Who made the world and everything in it, is our Father? … 

     We have got to be holy someday, why not be holy now? … No matter how moral we may be, every domain of our life that is not regulated by the direct application of the wisdom of God is brutish in God’s sight. … 

     The greatest obstruction to the working of God comes from those who give themselves to interpreting the words of God rather than doing them. … Obedience is superbly easy because we have Almightiness on our side. Acknowledge God’s voice, take the step in the right direction and obey, and you will be backed by omnipotence in every detail. 

From Notes On Jeremiah

We go wrong when…

  • …we try to make God in our image, telling others what God will or won’t do 
  • …see trials and temptations only as bad things 
  • …allow our fears to paralyze us to God’s strength
  • …think we are unworthy to call God our Father 
  • …worry obsessively 
  • …block the Holy Spirit from continuing to make us holy
  • …keep God out of certain areas of our life 
  • …hear God’s Word but don’t obey it

I love this question—“We have got to be holy someday, why not be holy now?” Well, why not?! 

9 More Quotes From “The Wisdom Of God”

The Wisdom Of God is a collection of never-before-published sermons from A.W. Tozer, in which he makes the case that true Wisdom is a Person to be known not a quality to be gained. 

“Wisdom and power cannot be separated from the Cross. If we do not obey, we blind ourselves, and we become dependent upon our own intellect, which will be in no way sufficient to teach others.” 

“Today, Christians need to learn how to worship, and instead of having all this religious claptrap and modern entertainment to hold people together, have the fire of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit, which, by the way, will be enough.” 

“The one thing God has to offer us and the only thing we absolutely need is His wisdom. Flowing from that wisdom is the solution to all the problems that we could ever face. To know the wisdom of God in its fullness is to experience life as God intended it to be.” 

“Our relationship with God must be based upon God’s ways and not our ways.” 

“To fear God, out of which flows wisdom, is to submit myself to God unconditionally and without any personal agenda. When I come to God as He invites me to come, I will have what God intends for me to have.” 

“This effusion of superior wisdom is a gift imparted by God in addition to the gift of wisdom that He gives the birds so they know to fly south and that which He gives man to invent a spaceship or an electric light. This effusion of superior wisdom is something you either have or you don’t. It does not come gradually to anyone. So a man is either born or he is not. He is either born-again or he has not been born again; he cannot come into that gradually. The doctrine of gradualness is from the devil to keep the church of Christ from going forward.” 

“For wisdom dwells with God and He pours her out upon all His works in the degree they are able to absorb it, and the wisest man is the one who turns to the Lord in repentance and faith.” 

“Christ is that ancient, most excellent wisdom incarnated in our nature and making atonement for all our moral infamy. Any emphasis that makes sin less infamous than that is not biblical. Any interpretation of grace and mercy that allows sin to appear even reasonably excusable in the eyes of God is not a proper interpretation. Any doctrine, any view of sin that allows it to be excused in anyway is not biblical. It is not God’s way of looking at it, for God looks at sin as alienation. … God sent His only Son to make atonement for our infamy and saves those that turn to the wisdom of the just through repentance.” 

“We Christians are a strange crowd. We make a more of the invisible than the visible. We talk constantly to Someone we cannot see. We act as if thing were real that people do not believe are real and waive aside things that some people attach great value to. We sing about a Man who was rejected and crucified, and we say, ‘We find the yoke easy.’” 

You can read my review of The Wisdom Of God by clicking here. And be sure to check out some other quotes from this book here. 

Prayer Is A Weapon

…the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people (Revelation 5:8). 

Then another angel with a gold incense burner came and stood at the altar. And a great amount of incense was given to him to mix with the prayers of God’s people as an offering on the gold altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, mixed with the prayers of God’s holy people, ascended up to God from the altar where the angel had poured them out (Revelation 8:3-4). 

No prayer is ever lost.

Every prayer is a weapon. 

Every prayer is an incense of worship before God’s throne. 

I may not see the result of my prayers immediately, but they are all known in Heaven, and they are being stored up for a day when God will unleash His power. 

I must never think my prayers are trivial, temporary, or impotent. 

EVERY PRAYER is a mighty weapon!

Work Can Be Worship

“Have you seen the painting The Angelus by Jean-Francois Millet? It portrays two peasants praying in their field. A church steeple sits on the horizon, and a light falls from heaven. The rays do not fall on the church, however. They don’t fall on the bow heads of the man and woman. The rays of the sun fall on the wheelbarrow and the pitchfork at the couple’s feet. 

“God’s eyes fall on the work of our hands. Our Wednesdays matter to Him as much as our Sundays. He blurs the secular and sacred. One stay-at-home mom keeps this sign over her kitchen sink: Divine tasks performed here daily. An executive hung this plaque in her office: My desk is my altar. Both are correct. With God, our work matters as much as our worship. Indeed, work can be worship.” —Max Lucado, in You!

(To read some other quotes from You!click here, please .)

What Is Church?

All across the world on Sunday morning, people met for church? But what exactly is church? Is it a place we go to? Is it something that only happens on Sundays? 

The Greek word for church is ekklesia. It meant an assembly of citizens. Luke used the term when he recorded a government official saying, “If there is anything further you want to bring up, it must be settled in a legal assembly” (Acts 19:39). But in the New Testament, it came to mean “a community based on a special religious idea and established in a special way” (Dr. Marvin Vincent). It can also mean either a local group of Christians or “the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth” (Dr. James Strong). 

Church never means a building. Nowhere does the phrase “go to church” appear in the New Testament. Instead, church carried the idea of a living, growing organism because church was wherever a follower of Jesus was. Sometimes the church met collectively in one location, and sometimes individual believers were out in the community. But wherever the Spirit of God went, church was happening. 

If church is not something we go to, it’s also not something that takes place only one day per week. Look at what Jesus did on the Sabbath day: 

But we also see Jesus doing all of these things EVERY day of the week. 

For Jesus, neither the day of the week nor the location determined the way He lived. Peter summed it up this way, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38). 

In fact, before they were called Christians the church was simply called “the Way” letting us know that the church was a way of life, not a day of the week. 

Based on how Jesus lived and how the Apostle taught, I think we can see the Church Way like this: 

In other words, EVERY day and in EVERY place the followers of Jesus were being enriched in their own lives so that they could reach out to the hurting so that they could come to know Jesus personally so that their lives could be enriched so that they too could reach out to others, and on, and on, and on it goes! 

Limiting “church” to a specific location or to a specific day of the week is way too small-minded. Church as Jesus intended it was a powerful force that would set people free EVERY day and in EVERY place from the power of the devil and introduce them to God’s eternal life! 

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