The fourth, and final, lesson in this series:
We can and should praise God no matter what the circumstance.
This is the hardest of all lessons, to praise God amidst trials. Several years ago, my family did a study, Guarding Your Child’s Heart by Gary Smalley. In this study, Smalley gave four principles that we should write on our hearts and live out– Be humble, love God, love others, and rejoice in trials. The order of those actions is critical. None of the others can be done unless we are humble first. And, the final one, well, that one may take a lifetime to achieve. But nonetheless, we are called to rejoice in trials.
Psalm 57 is comprised of 11 verses. I think it is important to note that David is praising God by verse 7. Even though he was desperately crying out to God for mercy and lamenting the actions of his enemies, he ended his prayer with five verses simply praising God. His praise begins with a “steadfast heart.” Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible gives us a good explanation of the steadfast heart:
“So, in a spiritual sense, a heart fixed and established, or that is firm and sure, is one that is assured of its salvation by Christ, rooted and grounded in the love of God, firmly built on the foundation, Christ, and has its affections set on him; and is unmoved, from the hope of the Gospel, and the doctrines of it, by whatsoever it meets with in the world. It may be rendered, ‘my heart is prepared’ or ‘ready.'”
Because of his steadfast heart, David is able to praise God, and he mentions musical praise – with voice and instrument (verse 8). He can envision his praise rising among the nations, outside of his cave. Enduring Word Commentary says, “A cave narrows and darkens the vision of most people, but David’s heart and song soared unto the clouds. He exalted the mercy and truth of God even from difficult circumstances.”
In Psalm 57, David says, “Be exalted, O God” twice. Enduring Word comments on this:
“The refrain is repeated because of its goodness and for emphasis. It’s important to remember that David’s circumstances were not much better when he sang this song. He was delivered from the immediate danger at Gath, but a cave was a long way from the throne of Israel which God had promised him. David didn’t wait for his circumstances to change before he praised God above the heavens.”
We, too, in our current caves, can praise God. When we do this, we can change our hearts to grateful hearts.
|Use your “cave time” to remember the Lord. Tell him your fears, ask him for comfort, and praise him for all he has done and will do.|
Alexander Selkirk, the man isolated on an island for nearly four-and-a-half years, spent time daily singing to the Lord from his cave as he looked out on beautiful sunrises and sunsets on that remote island. Isolated and not knowing if he would be able to catch his next meal, he praised God anyway. Like David, he lifted his head to the skies and sang out, “Be exalted, O God!”
Have you ever praised God during a difficult time? Share your story in the comments section.
|Currently, as “cave dwellers,” let’s make the most of our time, learning to enjoy rest, solitude, and a new way of community until community activities are restored.|