I woke up this morning feeling really thankful to God for the many things He has done for me and my family. It is so easy to allow the challenges of life and the problems that we face each day to forget that God has been and continues to be there for us like no one else can.
The Bible is full of writings to remind us of God’s faithfulness, His love and His blessings towards us. The Psalmist wrote in Psalms 34:1, “I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glory the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together.”
This Psalm gives us a template for thanksgiving. He said, and we should, “extol the Lord” not once in a while, not once in a year but at all times. To extol means to “praise with enthusiasm”. It means to worship, magnify and celebrate someone. He continues by declaring, “His praise will always be on my lips”. Note the word, ‘always’. It means no matter the circumstances, His praise should always be on our lips. I remember many years ago, I was in a very dark place. I couldn’t see ahead of me and it seemed like God was very far away. With tears flowing down my face, I just kept saying, “Lord I praise you. Lord I praise you”.
I could have spent that time complaining bitterly and asking God why He allowed me to be in this place where I didn’t belong. I could rant and rave about how I didn’t deserve to be treated the way I was being treated, especially since I was serving Him faithfully. In that moment, I realised how good God is. In time, He took my out of that place but that experience deepened my faith and Christian walk.
It is interesting that in the next sentence, the Psalmist said, “ I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice” . The word ‘glory’ used here, means to ‘boast or praise’. I like the way it is written in The Message Bible, “I live and Breathe God; if things aren’t going well, hear this and be happy” (Psalms 34:2)
When football fans are boasting about their teams, they do it in such a way as to make the opposition team’s fans miserable. Just watch a football match and you can see the difference in the expressions on the faces of the winning team’s fans and that of the losing team. The opposite is the case when we boast about God. When we speak about the goodness of our God, those who are going through tough and difficult times hear about it and feel better. They know that God sees them where they are and is not about to leave them defenceless. They are encouraged that if He did it for us, He can do it for them too.
As you awaken into a new day, don’t dwell on things that are not going well but focus on the goodness of God and all He has done. Let your heart sing for joy and be glad in the Lord your God. Face the day knowing that God is by your side and no matter what you have to deal with, you won’t have to it alone. God is for you, He is not against you. Be glad and rejoice in Him because He is faithful always.
“Glorify the Lord with me: let us exalt his name together. (Psalms 34: 3)