In Psalm 42, the Psalmist is crying out for revival. We read of a soul thirsting for God—the desire to drink deeply—and a memory of past gatherings for worship. When we look around the world, it always appears to be in need for a revival. Today, as we are experiencing life behind closed doors in isolation to heed warnings to social distance so as to help contain a pandemic, Christians are not gathering together for worship. Church buildings have closed their doors. Families are home on Sundays.
Though many churches have begun online worship, this pandemic surely can open our eyes to what spiritually is a struggle for many—even those who profess to be Christian and previously attended church weekly before this pandemic. The struggle is living before God. The Psalmist writes of singing God’s praises, and of “living before His face” which is described as his “saving grace.” Though God is ever present, we often times are not living in His presence. There is a difference. To be living before God is to acknowledge His presence, to live as He is present, to recognize Him throughout your day.
The Psalmist wants a great revival—he wants for people to draw back to God and praise Him for He alone is due praise. The Psalmist recollects a time when people gathered together to sing to God. He clings to the hope He has in God and understands that even when there is darkness all around, even when the world is so in need of a revival, that He could live in the presence of God. He could still sing praises. Why? Because God is his saving grace. Despite his flaws, despite his shortcomings, that God lifted him up through grace to save him, to allow him in His presence, to give him a taste of His goodness. The Psalmist never deserved it; you never deserve it. Yet He offers us this saving grace freely. Today may seem dark and gloomy. Today you may be sinking into despair. Keep hoping and waiting on God. Sing His praises. I pray you are living before His face. I pray He is your saving grace.
“So then, my soul, why would you be depressed? Why would you sink into despair? Just keep hoping and waiting on God, your Savior. For no matter what, I will still sing with praise, for living before his face is my saving grace!” – Psalm 42:5 [TPT]
When we are babies, we are focused only on ourselves. When we get older, we start saying things are “MINE.” There comes a time in life when we will start agreeing that everything is from God – that He created everything, that He gave us everything. We thank Him for His provision. We thank Him for providing all we need. For some of us, this we learn in Sunday School; for others, it is something we learn later in life.
As David delivers this prayer, praising God and saying, “But who am I?” we should consider this as well. We live in a culture that expects things; we say, “I am ENTITLED” or “I have RIGHTS.” David recognized, whether he was hiding out from Saul or whether he was gathering materials for Solomon to one day build the Temple, that God created everything and God gave us everything.
We need to remind ourselves of this daily. We need to remember that everything came from God. We need to also remember that everything we give, we were given by God. It was never ours. Remind yourself today—“It all belongs to (God).” Let us continue to praise Him for Who He is and give Him the honor that He alone deserves.
“But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us! O LORD our God, even this material we have gathered to build a Temple to honor your holy name comes from you! It all belongs to you!” – 1 Chronicles 29:14, 16 [NLT]
I remember the time David was brought before Abimelech and he pretended to be crazy so he would not face death. I still recall the first time I read that and chuckled at the thought of David their acting in this manner. But what I remember more so is the Psalm that David wrote from this event—especially the first verse. It says, “I will praise the LORD at all times. I will constantly speak his praises.”
There are two things that are very clear by this verse. David said he would praise the Lord at ALL TIMES. David said he would praise the Lord CONSTANTLY. All times means good times and bad times. All times means when things are going well and when things are not going so well. All times means when you cannot see light at the end of the tunnel and when you are knee deep in problems or when things are just rainbows and butterflies. Constantly means never ending. Constantly means continually. Constantly means always. How can you praise Him constantly? In everything give thanks. In everything point to Him. In every circumstance, as Paul said, be happy. Constantly means it’s a way of life.
Today, are you praising the Lord at all times? Are you continuously praising the Lord? Let your life be a life of praise to the Lord. With everything you do, praise Him.
“A psalm of David, regarding the time he pretended to be insane in front of Abimelech, who sent him away. I will praise the LORD at all times. I will constantly speak his praises.” – Psalm 34:1 [NLT]