Pastor’s Desk May 27th

Scripture Passage:  “I will praise thee with the psaltery, even thy truth, O, my God: unto thee will I sing with the harp, O thou Holy One of Israel.  My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my soul, which thou has redeemed.  My tongue also shall talk of thy righteousness all the day long: for they are confounded, for they are brought unto shame that seek my hurt.”  Psalms 71: 22-24
Dear Friends,
     It is good to praise the Lord.  It is good to be in a period of time that we want to praise the Lord instead of cry.  Life is filled with ups and downs and periods of fluctuation.  We do not always complain when we are going through valleys but most find it difficult to praise Him during those times.  When we are on the mountain and everything is going smooth, we often forget to praise Him because we are enjoying the ride.  There are times, however, when it seems like all we think about is praising the Lord. It is during a time of peace and tranquility when our soul is at rest.  This is the setting and background for the Psalmist when he composed this song. I believe it was a day like today.  He had gone through some difficult times of fleeing from Saul and hiding out in the mountains.  He had also experienced some spiritual highs having encountered deliverance by the mighty hand of God.   Maybe he was in a cave in Engedi or the fortress of Masada.  Wherever he was, he just pulled out the ole harp and began to sing at the top of his lungs.  He had a song on his heart and he penned it down for us to enjoy today.
     His composition starts out with a stunning rendition about the truth, majesty and holiness of God.  His focus had changed from himself and all his troubles to the power and majesty of God.  We often forget that God is large, and in charge.  He is seated high and on his throne.  He sees all and knows all and ultimately is involved in the affairs of men.  There is none likened unto our God and none with his authority and power.  Just a word from Him and everything changes in an instant.  The funeral dirge of the morning can juxtapose into the wedding celebration this evening.  The tears of suffering can turn into the tears of joy when He is in the house.  When your praise for the Holy One of Israel wells up inside you, let it and go and sing about Him.
      The next stanza speaks of how his lips will rejoice about what his soul has experienced.  The illustration he uses is of a slave who has been in bondage being set free by way of redemption.  Scripture is full of examples regarding this concept.  Boaz redeemed Ruth and Naomi by paying all their debts and reclaiming the land from the near kinsman.  Paul used this example when he wrote to Philemon concerning the slave Onesimus.  Onesimus had stolen from Philemon and ran away to escape capture and punishment by his master.  While on the run Onesimus encountered Paul and was saved by grace.  Paul wrote a letter encouraging Philemon to accept Osesimus back, forgive his debt, and count him as a brother in Christ.  Paul offered to redeem Onesimus by having all his debt placed upon his account.  The greatest example of all is that of Jesus Christ.  He took all our sins upon himself and nailed them to the cross to redeem us from our fallen state.  He paid my debt that I might be set free.  He redeemed me from the chains of sin and the punishment of Hell.  Hallelujah, what a Savior.
     The next stanza flows with a melody about how his tongue will talk about the righteousness of God.  God is righteous in all his dealing with us.  He gives us many blessings that are undeserved and grants us mercy instead of justice more times than not.  The fact is that all our sins are accounted for.  Every single one receives a just recompense of reward, because he is righteous.  The righteousness of God demanded justice for our sins and then the mercy of God placed all of that upon the death of his own Son as payment.  This is the love of God exemplified.
     The final stanza is one of triumph over his enemies because God had confused them.  They had sought to destroy him, but God had delivered.  The wanted to make him a laughing stock and a shame to the nation, but God had stepped in and made him a hero.  They wanted to discourage him and cause him to be depressed, but God had brought him joy.  His relationship with the Almighty far outweighed the limited suffering he had been through.  He had a lot to sing about and praise the Lord for – so do we!
In Christ,
Pastor Johnny