By Michael Koontz
Pastor, Pine Ridge Baptist Church, Harriman
As we study Psalm 138, King David is teaching us about praise. We are to praise the one true God. David said he did this with his whole heart. That place in us where our true self is seated. Our emotions, devotion, love, intellect, all that we are is to be focused towards Him and giving thanks and praise to Him alone.
The people in David’s time struggled with worshiping false gods. Many false gods are spoken of in the Bible such as Baal, Ashtoreth and Dagon to name a few and they were loved by the pagan nations surrounding Israel. Many times, Israel itself was failing with the first two of the Ten Commandments: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.”
Growing up I remember hearing about the false gods and idols in Sunday School, but I didn’t make the connection to my day. I knew that I didn’t have a little wooden image that I would bow down before or pray to, so I knew I wasn’t practicing idolatry. Yet how often are we thankful to something else besides God? How often do we let something become more important in our lives than God?
D.L. Moody has been gone for almost 120 years but look at what he said about false gods “You don’t have to go to heathen lands today to find false gods. America is full of them. Whatever you make most of is your god. Whatever you love more than God is your idol. Many a man’s heart is like some Kafirs’ huts, so full of idols that there is hardly room to turn around.
Rich and poor, learned and unlearned, all classes of men and women are guilty of this sin. A man may make a god of himself, of a child, of a mother, of some precious gift that God has bestowed upon him. He may forget the Giver and let his heart go out in adoration toward the gift.”
Our praise should land in no other place than with our Heavenly Father. Who has shown us perfect love and mercy? Our Father in Heaven. Psalm 9:1 says “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.” We praise God, not the other things that try to draw our devotion.
Psalm 138:7 instructs that we even praise Him during the difficult days. This might be a struggle as you grow in your relationship with our Heavenly Father. Some days seem so bad that praise and thanksgiving are far from our lips. But David continues on and says, “thou wilt revive me.” Deuteronomy 31:6 says “He will not leave you nor forsake you.” How many times has someone turned on you and left you hanging? We can praise God because He won’t turn away from us. Not only that, but God will handle the enemies that come against you.
God’s love is unfailing. He is faithful to us. Be faithful to Him and praise His name. God has shown His perfect love for us through the work of the cross. As recipients of God’s love, let us go out and love others to Jesus!