The holiday song answers the Christmas season. For others, Thanksgiving is that special time. For some people giving thanks is easy, for others, it takes some effort. Most people tend to be pessimistic and negative. I had a professor who spoke tongue in cheek of many people living in the negative mood and the kickative case.
David, the man after God's own heart believed praise was in present tense and in the positive mood: "I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth."
Is it possible to bless the Lord at all times? Can praise really be continually in our mouths? A 1,000 years after David, Paul commanded Christians, “Rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (I Thess. 5:16-18).
God is not asking us to be thankful for cancer, a loved one dying in a car accident, or when your house burns down. David vowed to praise God continually. Would you make a vow to daily recognize the Lord is the source of all blessings? Will you exalt God as deserving of your ongoing thanksgiving for who He is and what He does for us?
"My soul shall make its boast in the LORD; The humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together." David had grown such confidence in the Lord delivering him that he would boast in the Lord and invite other to magnify the Lord with Him.
As a child I was amazed at my grandfather Jim Dill's magnifying glass. I enjoyed focusing on an object and looking through the magnifying glass at how big it was. When we offer God the praise He is deserving of, we properly grant to Him the bigness in our lives that is rightfully His.
When you read all of Psalm 34, you see that thanksgiving and praise dovetail with wise, fear of the Lord kind of living. “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him Vv. 8-9.
Those who praise the Lord with their lips will be careful to praise God with their lips and life. The apostle Peter included verses 12-14 of Psalm 34 in 1 Peter 3. "Who is the man who desires life, And loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil, And your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.”
Let praise be on our tongue not evil, truth not lies. Let everyone who names, the name of the Christ, depart from iniquity (2 Tim. 2:19). Keep doing good. “Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.”(III John 1:11).
Seek peace. Seek the Prince of peace's salvation and walk daily with Him. “Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon" (Isaiah 55:6-7).
If we are waiting for a perfect set of circumstances, God's praises will seldom be in our mouths. When we praise, trust, fear, and seek God the Lord in affluence or affliction, God draws near. Hear His promise: "The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all" (Psalms 34:18-19).
Joe D. Rushing moved to Springfield in December 1991 to be preaching minister for Main St. Church of Christ. He now serves as their outreach minister and as a chaplain for Northcrest and Comfort Care.